Wednesday 6 March 2019

Umpiring Hints and Tips

Remember there is no such thing as a senior umpire in a match. You are both equal and must make all important decisions in consultation. Obviously, some umpires are more experienced than others and if you are an experienced umpire standing with a brand new umpire we would expect you to advise and discuss with him/her, not take charge. Especially we would encourage you to advise them of the little things that can’t be taught at the training sessions. The things that you may take for granted however, remember these are new members and will not know a lot of the conventions. A good rule of thumb would be what did you find difficult when you first started umpiring? Conversely, if you are a brand new umpire we would expect and encourage you to listen and take in what your more experienced partner is saying, do not think you know everything, ask questions and do be not be intimidated. Insist that you be included in all decisions. Remember there are many people in your Association that you call talk to if you are having problems, take advantage of their experience. If you have a problem ring someone, anybody on the Management Committee for example would be more than happy to talk to you.
It would be impossible to list everything that an umpire should be aware of here, but we have listed a few of the things that members have told us that need to be highlighted.

  • Arrive at the ground at least 45 minutes before the scheduled start of the game.
  • It is just plain good manners to ring your partner or the State Umpiring Manager if you are going to be late or indeed need to pull out of the game for an emergency. There is nothing worse then waiting at the ground not knowing if your partner is going to turn up, so if you are late tell somebody. This is the number one complaint from our members.
  • Be neatly attired, your clothes must be clean don’t forget your hat and shoes.
  • First appearances are everything, arrive in plenty of time looking professional and the players will have more respect for you. Don’t ever think they don’t pass judgement on you when you arrive, they do.
  • If the players and captain’s respect you they are more likely to listen to you and accept you, making the game more enjoyable for all.
Team work
This is a big subject. We consider it a very important aspect of umpiring. Too big to cover fully here but a few points to consider are:
  • Wait for you partner at arrive, then from then on do everything as a team. Especially if you have to inspect a damp pitch and have to make a decision on whether it is playable.
  • Always put the stumps in together, like we keep saying appearance is everything if the players notice that both umpires are putting the stumps in together and that they are dressed and ready it makes them think that you know what you are doing and are professional. If your partner is going to be late, it is acceptable to put the stumps in by yourself. When you are supervising the toss would be a good time.
  • At the start of the game walk out together do not amble out, walk with purpose like you really enjoy being there, again appearance. From the time that you are allocated you are part of a team. You, your partner and when you get to the ground, the scorers and the captains. You are all responsible for getting the game started and for running it smoothly.
Communication is the big word
  • When you get your allocation check who your partner is, what competition is it? Where is the ground? What time does the game start? How long will it take me to get there? What time do I need to leave home?
  • Read the regulations so that you know them, when are the lunch and drinks breaks? are there any unique regulations? (max 8 ball overs or stationary catchers etc.) In other words know what you are doing and be prepared.
  • If you have to withdraw from a match, the more notice that you can give the Selection Panel the better. We have all had last minute emergencies that have made us pull out of matches at the last minute and that is understandable, but if you know that you can’t fulfill your allocation the more notice that you can give the better. Remember if you withdraw it could affect a lot of people. 
  • When you arrive at the ground do not be overly familiar with the players and do not join in with their warm ups etc even if you know them very well. Remember that you must appear impartial and it is not a good look for the other team to see the umpires being too friendly with one side.
  • Communicate with the captains during an enforced break in play. Depending on how long the interruption has been, be aware that the teams may need a warm up period before the start of play. Discuss this with the captains.
  • Drinks breaks, how long will it take them to get the drinks ready? etc. so that you know how much warning to give them. If a wicket falls within 5 minutes of a scheduled drinks break, have drinks while the new batsman is coming in.
  • Changing rooms. Most of the district clubs at their home grounds, have a room for the umpires to use to put their gear and get changed. Outer grounds, Sub Districts and Churches grounds will probably not have somewhere for you to put your gear or get changed, so be aware of that and especially be aware of security. Probably the safest place to put your belongings is in your car. Thieves target sports fields and cricket fields as they are easy pickings for them.
  • Food and Drink. Main grounds at the district clubs will have plenty of food and water available. Outer grounds, Sub Districts and Churches grounds will not have food or drinks available, with a few exceptions. So take some food and water with you.
  • Car parking. This applies to all grounds. It is not a good idea to park too close to the field. Several umpires have had their cars damaged by the ball hitting windscreens etc.
  • When calling for drinks a simple hand gesture is sufficient, do not yell out and make a spectacle of yourself.
  • When the covers need to be put on or taken off, supervise only do not physically help.
  • The regulation covering the fixture that you are standing in takes precedence over the Laws of Cricket.
  • It is quite acceptable to remove your hats on a windy day. Providing that you both do so and wear an association cap instead.
  • In extreme occasions it is acceptable to remove the bails (from both ends) on windy days. 

Article courtesy of Queensland Cricket Association 

Saturday 15 December 2018

Dealing with Conflict (Part Four)

Improving communication
 Like anything, interpersonal communication can be improved through practice. Use the following tips to improve your interpersonal communication skills.
1. Use feedback
Two-way communication allows both sender and receiver to search for verbal
and non-verbal cues (eyes, body movement etc) in order to establish
2. Use face to face communication
Accurate feedback is nearly always achieved more efficiently through face to face communication rather than over the telephone or through written means.
3. Be sensitive to the receiver’s situation
Individuals differ in their values, needs, attitudes and expectations.
Empathising with those differences will improve our understanding of others and make it easier to communicate with them. 

4. Use direct simple language
The more accurately that words and phrases are tailored to the receiver’s situation, the more effective the communication will be.
Communication openers How often would you use these phrases?
1. May I ask a question?
2. Before we make a decision, let’s review the options
3. I suggest we do not eliminate any options at this point
4. Can we stop for a second and look at the way we’re approaching the problem?
5. I’d like to go back a step and clear up something I don’t quite understand
6. I hope we don’t have a case of group think here
7. I’ve been hearing about (x) recently. Do we have any information on it?
8. I don’t know much about that. How about you?
9. Were you aware that …..?
10. Maybe we should reconsider your approach
11. This idea might sound a little strange, so let me explain the whole thing first
12. I have an idea I’d like to share sometime
13. Would you tell me more about what you just said
14. Let me ask for some ideas on how I can go ahead with this
15. Here’s a half-baked idea. I don’t know how it will strike you but I’ll share it with you
16. What other ways can we think of?
17. If we followed your idea through, what difference would it make?
18. I hadn’t thought of tackling it that way. I’d like to know more about it
19. What strengths in what we are doing does your idea tap into? 20. What sorts of options might our competitors be thinking about?
Possessing good interpersonal communication skills is one of the great strengths of an effective official
Active listening is more than just hearing.
Builds closeness and trust
Sends signals without words
Consists of the following behaviours:
S face the other person squarely
O adopt an open posture
L lean slightly toward the other person
D at a distance apart of about 1 metre
E keep good eye contact
R try to be relaxed
Understanding No word(s) mean exactly the same thing to any two individuals.
eg This is what I understand you are saying
or I think you mean
Note: responses should take account of their feelings i.e. don’t just repeat their words like a parrot. Beware not to send your own message
Five good listening tips
1. Listen attentively
All gestures and facial expressions should show acceptance and attention.
2. Listen reflectively
Repeat what was said. The official, by restating in ordinary speech what the competitor said, is able to check that the content of the communication was understood. It also enables the official to check the feeling of the competitor’s message was correctly interpreted.
3. Avoid emotional responses
Have you ever noticed how listening stops when an exchange gets heated?
4. Try bridging
A nod of the head, a throaty noise without words or an occasional “yes” helps the listener to know you’re tuned in.
5. Don’t interrupt
Don’t interrupt means don’t interrupt! 

Monday 10 December 2018

Dealing with Conflict (Part Three)

Barriers to effective communication
1. Criticising
2. Name-calling Judging
3. Diagnosing
Sender Message Receiver
4. Praising objectively
5. Ordering
6. Threatening
7. Moralising Sending solutions
8. Excessive/inappropriate questioning
9. Advising
10. Diverting
11. Logical argument Avoiding other concerns
12. Reassuring
More barriers to effective communication
Our personal ‘cages - People have different perceptions of words and actions
Filtering information - Hearing only what you want to hear
Emotions blurring the message - Responding to body language
No common language being spoken
- Use of jargon
Conflicting verbal and non-verbal messages
- Ingnoring information that conflicts with what we know
Comparing this person to others - Evaluating the source of the information
Reading the other person’s mind - Looking for personal agenda
Rehearsing what you are going to say
- Not responding to questions
Judging - Determining your response before reviewing evidence
Identifying with the other person’s problems
- Demonstrating some bias
Rescuing - Asking leading questions
Sparring - Asking antagonising questions
Being right - Not being open to other views
Blocking phrases – road blocks to communication
1. Ordering, directing, commanding
- You take this
- You get me the ball
2. Warning, threatening
- If you do that one more time I’ll send you off
- Okay, now you’ve had it
3. Preaching, moralising
- Some people never seem to know when to stop
- I wish somebody would teach you a bit more respect
4. Advising
- Why don’t you try and play the game?
- How about getting your players on side?
5. Judging, criticising, blaming 
- I would have though you would have known better
6. Name calling, ridiculing, shaming 
- You clumsy idiot
- You ought to be ashamed of yourself
7. Interpreting, psychoanalysing, assuming
- How come you’re so penalty prone?
- You were just trying to get back at me for what I did last game 
8. Teaching, instructing 
- How would you like it if someone did that to you?
- I wonder if you know how much that annoys me
9. Rescuing, intervening 
- I guess I’ll have to stop you doing that
- You’ll look ridiculous to everyone if you make that error again
10. Expecting too much 
- It’s so obvious that you should read your rule book
- Other players remember to plan things before they do them
More blocking phrases Which of these phrases would you commonly use and how often would you use them?
1. No
2. Can’t (with a shake of the head and an air of finality)
3. That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard
4. Yeah, but if you did that – (poses extreme or unlikely result)
5. Our business is different. You can’t do that here
6. Our system isn’t set up to do it that way
7. We tried that years ago
8. Look, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks
9. That’s not in our area
10. We’ve done all right so far, why do we need to do this now?
11. I don’t see anything wrong with the way we are doing it now
12. That doesn’t sound too practical. Or That sounds too theoretical
13. We’ve never done anything like that before
14. You’re talking about changing the whole way we do things! 15. Let’s not get off on a tangent
16. Let’s get back to reality
17. We’ve got a deadline to meet, we don’t have time to fool around
18. It’s too expensive to do it that way
19. It’s not in the budget
20. They will never buy it
21. Let’s take that up some other time
22. Are you kidding?
23. Let’s set up a committee to look at it. Or We’ll deal with it next meeting
24. We’ll be a joke if we follow this path
25. I’ve got the whistle
26. I’m the boss