For a number of years there have been discussions about the need to formalise the umpiring program that takes place during the Emerging Players Tournament (EPT). Entry into the program will be by invitation to umpires who are presently officiating on State panels. Selection criteria are based on evaluations of current performance, at State and Grade level, determined by the UHPP and the CA Umpire Manager in consultation with State Directors of Umpiring (SDUs). The number of umpires on the program will be approximately 4 to 6 individuals: (2011 – 4, 2010 – 4, 2009 – 6). As there is a strong field-based component to the EPT, i.e. appointments to EPT matches, 6 is considered to be the maximum number for a viable program.
After accepting the invitation to join the Academy umpires will receive a number of related tasks to complete before attending the program e.g. in 2011 umpires were required to:
• Complete an on-line personality profile by Dr Michael Lloyd. This profile formed the basis of subsequent workshop discussions at the beginning of the tournament.
• Monitor their hydration levels and nutrition regimes and bring this information to a workshop directed by CA Sports Performance Dietician, Michelle Cort
• Read specific texts that related to professional development workshops e.g. umpires were asked to read the poem ‘Invictus’ before a round-table discussion on mental toughness with Justin Langer
• Read and assimilate specific tournament Playing Conditions
• Record their goals; personal, professional, umpiring specific, in order to contribute to holistic discussions
After arriving on the evening before the tournament the umpires take part in a pre-tournament briefing. They then spend the next 8-10 days umpiring and attending Professional Development sessions. The Professional Development sessions offer intense, deep learning opportunities facilitated by expert practitioners. These sessions are followed up with one-to-one discussions to ensure that key concepts have been understood and assimilated. Group exercises are also used to ensure a team ethic is nurtured through discussion and sharing of ideas and goals.
Post Academy Program
Umpire performances and behaviours, in the following season, will be monitored by the UHPP using the Athlete Management System tool to report directly to the CA Umpire. Umpires may be offered the opportunity of officiating in a One-Day Cup match or First Class match depending on the quality of their overall performance in State and Grade matches.
The AMS system will also be used as a monitoring and diagnostic tool to record data and discern behavioural trends in umpires. Following a match individuals will be required to input data on a range of behaviours e.g. reactions to critiquing, fatigue, sleep pattern, resolution of conflict, closure etc. This program has been amended from the one used successfully with the Australian National Cricket Squad. Data will be critically analysed and individuals will be supported and guided through appropriate remedial action – if required.
The Academy program does not offer any guarantee of selection for First Class umpire appointments. The National Umpire Panel (NUP) services First Class cricket and is a relatively small group, by international standards. Individuals from the Academy program must therefore perform at a sustained level of excellence in order to be considered for inclusion in such a small, elite body.
Umpires will receive a certificate of attendance after completing the Academy program. Accreditation at Level 3 will be awarded upon the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 10 First Class matches as a field umpire. Satisfactory is defined as demonstrating all the competencies expected of a First Class umpire in Australia.
Accredited Prior Learning (APL)
Umpires may obtain accreditation at Level 3, via APL, if they have satisfied the assessment criteria of the program i.e. they have successfully officiated in a minimum of 10 First Class games. A number of the present (2012) members of the National Umpire Panel (NUP) have successfully experienced the National Officiating Scholarship Program (NOSP) of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). A number of the expert personnel associated with this program also contribute to the Umpire Level 3 Academy Program and the continuing professional development of the NUP. NUP members are, therefore, familiar with many aspects of the existing Academy Program and the expert personnel who deliver it.
The five umpires who have been invited to attend the Academy Program this year are:
Greg Davidson, New South Wales
Simon Lightbody, Australian Capital Territory
Mike Graham-Smith, Tasmania
Richard Patterson, Victoria
Shawn Craig, Victoria
The program will take place at the Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence during the week beginning Monday 3rd September. The umpires will be officiating in a number of State Pre-season matches in the Brisbane area throughout the week.
Cricket Australia Umpire Educator