Adjust, Smile and accept the Call

| Posted inWeekly Blog

Adjust, smile and accept the call
Umpires control our game so how do we, as coaches, learn to play theirs.
You are the coach and the leader.  You lead by example and players look up to you.  Your reaction with umpires can have a domino effect so be careful of your words and actions.  As frustrated as you may be, watching your team struggle with calls that may not be fair, it is how the players deal with these calls that influences the team’s outcome.
What can we do to counteract the effect umpiring can have on your game?  I tell the story to my players of when I was playing in New Zealand in the Bendon National League Comp.  There was an umpire, Dawn Jones (also the President of Netball NZ), who was umpiring this particular game played in Auckland.  At times I would release my frustration at the umpire until a certain coach said to me, ‘Jones.  How many times has the umpire said – You’re right Jones.  Here have the ball.’  Ummm, actually never.  So no matter what my facial expression was or what gob full I gave the umpire I was never given possession of that ball.
So my relationship with umpires had to change.  I started to smile at umpires and adjust.  That season I started to win player of the match for most of our matches so courtesy towards umpires can go a long way.
I have found over the years that coaching does include umpires.  I have umpires to my training sessions.  In NZ when I was coaching National League, I would have Fay Freeman (another NZ President and fantastic umpire) along to all my trainings and she would pull up everything she saw.  We didn’t stop training but it was a great way for the players to not only understand their mistakes but also learn to adjust and be positive with the calls.
Distance is a huge call from umpires so I try to make the players understand the angle they are on when defending.  The umpire needs to see the distance.
Maureen Boyle, my most favourite umpire of all time, had grace and knowledge.  Her calls were assertive yet kind and her manner deserved respect.  Not every umpire can be a Maureen Boyle, but every player can treat every umpire as if they were Maureen Boyle and then maybe players, coaches and umpires can start working together.
Coach your players to smile, adjust and accept the call.
Written by
Melissa O’Brien