Umpire development a great investment

ANZ Championship 2013Round 6Melbourne Vixens v Central PulseUmpires

Netball Australia is investing in the development of umpires like never before as their professionalism continues to evolve.

The introduction of the High Performance Umpire Pathway has allowed Netball Australia to increase its investment in umpire development, with a key focus being on a `holistic’ approach to each individual.

Netball Australia’s Umpire Development Manager Lainie Houston said the High Performance Umpire Pathway is a significant financial investment by the sport’s governing body.

“Netball Australia is now providing direct umpire support funding to aid the implementation of their individual plans which focus on key performance pillars such as health and well-being, strength and conditioning, nutrition, recovery and performance psychology,” Houston said.

“At the top tier of the pathway, the program focuses on retaining and further developing Australia’s high performance umpires by preparing individual development plans.

“Those plans are supported by high-quality resources combined with extensive education on high performance disciplines.

“Umpires are athletes as well and the High Performance Umpire Pathway is recognition that our umpires need support off the court as well as on it.”

This year there will be 25 umpires, 10 umpire coaches and a number of identified umpire coaches from member organisations involved in the High Performance Umpire Pathway.

Australia’s umpires are already acknowledged as among the best in the sport and providing access to services normally only available to athletes will give this group the “extra edge” to remain the world-class performers they are expected to be.

Six Australian contracted umpires – Sharron Kelly, Michelle Phippard, Rachael Ayre, Josh Bowring, Jemma Carlton and Helen George – will be officiating during this weekend’s ANZ Championship Official Pre-Season Tournament in Melbourne.

An umpire coach will be on hand to watch and review their performances as this group build up to the start of the regular season next month and the Commonwealth Games later in the year.