By Michelle Esperenza-Lee
Umpiring is an avenue to be a part of an inclusive and supportive environment to keep fit and have fun.
“Regardless of gender, nationality, physical capabilities, anyone can be involved in umpiring,” said AFL Queensland CEO Michael Conlan.
Community umpires officiate; enforce rules and arbitrate on matters of the game whilst making sure the players have fun.
“Each weekend more than 12,000 umpires officiate at community football throughout the nation, but, with more than 20,000 umpires required to cover these matches, there is an urgent need to grow the number of people involved in umpiring,” said AFL National Head of Umpiring, Wayne Campbell.
To encourage people to be involved in umpiring, and to raise awareness about community umpiring, Round 7 of the 2014 Toyota AFL Premiership Season was designated as Community Umpiring Round.
Throughout last week, AFL Umpires participated in activities to aid in the recruitment of potential new umpires, as well as to assist current community umpires in improving their skills.
Before the matches on the weekend, Melbourne-based umpires visited metropolitan and regional community umpire training sessions to impart their expertise and experiences to the community umpires.
Additionally, a group of select community umpires took part in the AFL umpire training session to evaluate their skills and fitness amongst the best in their field.
Finally, the community umpires were also given the opportunity to lead the umpires on to the ground during each match, allowing them to taste a slice of what umpiring on an elite match day is like.
Further supporting the cause for community umpiring and the Government’s commitment to local sports and clubs, is Federal Member for Dickson and Minister for Sport, Peter Dutton.
Dutton visited the Brendale Sporting Complex to watch the U11s Aspley vs. Elimbah game as part of AFL’s initiative to encourage community umpiring.
“The AFL umpiring program is a great way for children to make friends, learn new skills, get fit, and encourage healthy growth and development,” he said.
After speaking with the new junior umpires during his visit, Dutton expressed his gratitude for the volunteers who make sports for children possible.
“There’s a sport for everyone, so why not encourage your children to get up, have a go and help put them on the path to a healthier, more active life,” he said.
Children should be encouraged to umpire within the community. It would be especially beneficial for those interested to undergo training sessions so that their skills will be finely honed, and they would be able to receive as much coaching and mentoring umpiring requires each stage.
“The pathway to the AFL competition offers a structured way for high quality candidates to progress their way to the top,” said Campbell.
For more information about umpiring, visit www.umpireafl.com.au, for learning materials, guides, and information on where you can find the nearest umpiring group.