Wednesday 21 November 2018

Staying at the Top

Those who have the capacity to stay at the top are driven not by reaching one particular goal but by satisfaction and pleasure that comes from doing things well.
The secret of success in sport is not to be distracted by the expectations and ambitions of others and be able to stay on track.
Two of the keys to staying at the top are an ability to keep an eye on what it is that made us good in the first place, and the need for coaches and managers to keep coaching and take nothing for granted.
The challenge of staying at the top is to continue with the core principles and values and to continue to keep being coached once you reach the top.
It’s no body else’s turn to be the best unless you let your standards slip, lose focus on the values that made you great and stop learning and growing as an athlete.
Complacency is: - “acceptance” that it’s someone else’s turn to succeed.- an “expectation” that it will be okay on the day.
You must prepare diligently for the contests ahead and have strategies for handling every possibility.
Doubts can be positive, by making us acutely aware of the need to work hard and follow our first 5 principles, but they can act negatively by eroding our confidence and dragging us into lethargy and inactivity.
The optimal state of doubt is one in which the task or opposition is respected, but not feared. An appropriate respect can stimulate us to be vigilant, sharp and prepare fully.
Those who practice excellence prepare thoroughly, learn from every source, work cooperatively and are resilient and flexible, will be able to manage doubt and fear.
Most, if not all, of these ideals contained in the summary are self explanatory. There is no doubt that what we do as cricket umpires is incredibly challenging when there is an automatic expectation that every time we walk out on the field, that there will be a faultless performance with no errors. The reality is that we do make mistakes, however, the concept of “staying at the top” demands that we treat preparation and making mistakes differently from the rest.
For quality outcomes in terms of performance, there needs to be quality inputs and processes. If you practice quality in everything that you do, then the quality outcomes will take care of themselves.
You will not get to the top and stay at the top on your own. Only by being a cooperative member of your team with your fellow umpires, coaches and managers will help you achieve. This means that support for each other in the team and upholding the values of the group and profession of cricket umpiring is paramount.
There is no way that you can stay at the top without ongoing training and learning. You need to develop good habits and routines that centre around the skills that got you to where you are and create new ones that will improve them. Avoiding complacency and practicing humility is another key that will prevent you from stagnating and having the expectations of the game or others passing you by. 

Courtesy of Simon Taufel 

Thursday 8 November 2018

Match Management


• The way umpires present themselves to the players and scorers sets the tone for the days play. First impressions are very important as there are no second chances.  

• Key components for appearance include: – Pressed clean shirt and trousers. – Clean, pressed, non faded tie and tie bar. – Clean boots/shoes and white socks. – Clean hat & hat band (white).  

• It is important that both umpires “present themselves together” as often as possible and be attired similarly in accordance with the previous items. 
• Situations where the umpires should always “present themselves together”:
– meeting the captains or scorers.
– ground inspections.
– at the toss.
– when consultation between umpires is required
– at instances of unfair play or conflict. 

• The observance of the above items will ensure the umpires present in a professional manner.

• Effective match management requires constant attention to working as a team with your colleague, and very importantly, the scorers throughout the match (together the third team) • When together always make out as the third team • Teamwork requires umpires to “present themselves together • Regardless of personal feelings, to earn respect the umpire must maintain teamwork and professionalism. 

Do not undermine a colleague at any time.

• During conflict situations watch how your partner is handling the problem and give support as needed. 

• Not supporting your colleague will lose you respect from both the players and your colleague. 

• Remember that you will be judged as a team, so perform as a team.


• Effective communication with your colleague, scorers and the players is essential for a well managed cricket match.

• Discuss signals and other communication methods that you wish to use with your colleague before the match.  

• Verify signals you each use so you know what to look for from each other - signals for penalty runs, byes, leg-byes, etc.

• Meet scorers before the match and establish basis for working together throughout the game including where the scorers should sit.

• Interact with Players only on request and respond to queries only when asked.

• Develop a set of standard responses to use which will cover as many situations as possible.

• Captains and players love to hear the sound of their name. Endeavour to seek out the captains and scorers names. Ask the bowler his name in case you need to speak to him during the game. Listen for players talking among themselves - before and during play - to pick up names.

• Talk to the players, not at them.

• Be careful of what you say - a well intentioned comment may backfire on yourself and/or your colleague.

• Strive for a presence - a way of dealing with people that demonstrates confidence without arrogance, amiability without being too friendly.
• It is important that your body language suggests a cool head amongst turmoil.
• Consult with your colleague as often as necessary on points of fact.

Handling Pressure

• Pressure manifests itself in many ways and affects logical thinking and performance. • Pressure breaks attention span and leads to a lapse in concentration. • Stay cool.

• PRESSURE causes:
– Lack of control over a situation.
– Tightness of muscles and breathing.
– Loss of feeling for the game and its values.

• THIS RESULTS IN: – Loss of basic technique and discipline. – Complete breakdown in skills

• What Creates Pressure: – Appeals. – First few overs - high pressure and intensity then pressure drops off. – Last over before a break - pressure increases. – Increased pressure after resumption from break and at fall of a wicket. – Type of match - self creating pressure.

• RESULTS of Handling Pressure Well. – Actions are positive, confident and flowing with the game. – Feelings are calm and in control with a sense of enjoyment and anticipation without effort. – Positive player perceptions.

• RESULTS of Badly Handled Pressure: – Negative thoughts; easily distracted; information overload. – Tense; heavy; tired; lack of motivation. – Focus on looking ahead at the score in anticipation of conclusion; look back on possible mistakes; think of captains report on performance.

• Symptoms of Anxiety: – Increased Heart rate. – Lump in the throat. – Upset stomach. – Withdrawal or reluctance to talk to players.

• Suggestions: – Stand with feet apart, knees slightly bent. – Relax neck & shoulder muscles. – Direct thoughts inward and realise how tense the rest of your body may be. – Try to breathe normally - feel the heaviness. – Take deep, slow breaths - feel tension leave. – Continue with a few deep breaths - clear mind. – Continuous movement to stop feeling stiff.

• Use individual actions to maintain concentration.

Conflict Resolution

• Conflict stems from pressure.
• The handling of conflict situations requires special personnel management skills.
• Poor handling of these conflict situations creates the basis for a difficult game and may place undue pressure on the umpires.
• Animosity arises from 2 main sources:

• Player versus Player:
– Don’t intervene too quickly.
– Allow players to have their say.
– After a short time defuse the situation with a suitable comment.
• Some umpires have a dislike for getting involved whilst others step in too quickly.
• Either of these paths can cause the loss of respect of the players.
• Approach captains and ask them to take suitable action to control players.

• Player versus Umpire: – Frustrated players often show excessive disappointment to umpires which reduces their credibility. – Stand by decision & reject guilt feelings. Understand and recognise that you will not please everyone - at all times be consistent. – Show control and dispassionately explain your decision if asked. – Never even up an error subsequently.
• Due to the nature of their decision making role, umpires must expect that dissent will occur from time to time. Each event should be assessed on its merits and dealt with appropriately (be consistent).
• Being an umpire does not give immunity from criticism. Successful umpires know how much to take before invoking the code of conduct. Experience is the key.

• Player Conduct reports: – First of all work with Captains to control players in accordance with the spirit of cricket. Drop a few hints to help maintain control. – Never speak to a player in an aggressive manner. Never lose your cool or you will lose respect from everyone. – Never walk towards a player in an aggressive manner or point a finger (body language). – Any necessary reports must involve your colleague, and the captains informed.

Tact & Attitude towards Players

• Tact in an umpire is very important and the best way to be tactful is to remain silent and generally only speak when spoken to - keep mouth shut and they will only think you are stupid.
• An umpire should be pleasant towards players, but always firm and exercise control in an unassuming manner.
• An umpire must not talk too much - nothing irritates the players more.
• Chattering affects concentration significantly. (Mainly the umpire’s.)
• An umpire should never ask a batsman if he hit the ball or not. Attracts disrespect and a perception of lack of confidence.
• Never call a player to you for discussion. Stand your ground, allow player to approach.
• If you need to speak to a player, wait until he comes near you.
• Knowing players and captains can influence attitude to be taken.
• Use the LEAD principle.
• Remember it is a players game and the umpires are only there to interpret the rules.

– And apply the laws with commonsense.
• Don’t constantly look for minor technical violations to show off law knowledge.
• Use laws as a deterrent - not a solution.
• Know how to integrate laws.
• Try to anticipate problems and solve them before they occur (read the game).
• Be Complimentary. For example: – If keeper replaces bails say thank you. – If you speak to a captain about player behaviour finish request with a “please”. – After he speaks to a player say “thank you”. – Apply these basic courtesies with the scorers throughout the match.