High marks for regional trainee netball umpiresWednesday, April 28, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
After the region's first batch of participants achieved a high pass rate at recent webinars for prospective international netball umpires, lead tutor Sylvester “Chris” Campbell is optimistic the second group can be as successful.
Organised by Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA), the training sessions offer Level C (beginners) certification with focus on the theoretical facets of officiating to a target base of people predominantly 25 years old and younger.
“It was very good for the first cohort. Of the about 71 people who did it maybe about 90 per cent of those applicants were successful,” he told the Jamaica Observer during an interview yesterday.
“I think this second group will do just as well because when I speak to the tutors they say these people are going to pass. I keep my fingers crossed that they'll concentrate on the day and do well,” Campbell, a former international netball umpire, said.
AFNA's ultimate goal is to increase the number of qualified match officials from the Americas, and also boost the quality of the officiating, which, in turn, is expected to contribute toward the development of netball in the region.
Though retired at the International Umpire Award (IUA) level, Campbell, a Jamaican, is on the International Testing Panel (ITP). His job is both to directly develop umpires and to guide tutors who teach umpires.
“Developing the umpires means we'll have better matches, better leagues, and everything will grow. It is very important that we leave something so that when we are gone a next generation can take it and continue,” Campbell said, noting the importance of succession planning.
“Some of our umpires are older so we need some young blood in it, so we are really trying to search deep and go into the region and get younger people, you know, to identify and develop these talents. We are creating a platform, giving them avenues and trying to bring new blood into the system.
“Some of the islands [in the Caribbean] don't have trained umpires, so we are trying to empower everybody,” he explained.
Campbell, who said the second training group comprises participants from Jamaica, the wider Caribbean as well as North America, praised AFNA for laying the foundation for development in the region.
“I want to 'big up' AFNA for the initiative and for believing that we could pass on the knowledge to these upcoming umpires. And I want to 'big up' the tutors — there are six of us — for the work done so far,” he said.
Jamaican Marva Bernard, the president of AFNA, has championed the importance of high-quality umpiring and coaching, which he believes will improve the standard of netball in the region.
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