Contents:

County Umpiring | Rule Books | Beginner Umpire_Award | C Award | B Award |Courses | Your umpiring questions | Alternative Rules |

COUNTY UMPIRING

The County is always on the lookout for umpires who are willing to officiate at training sessions as well as at inter-county matches during the season. For this latter group the County is expected to provide umpires qualified to B level although C award umpires progressing towards their B Award are particularly welcome. Games are held on the first and third Saturdays from January to March. Home games usually take place at Horsham (Tandridge Park School) with a mid-day start, depending on the distance the away team has had to travel. Training sessions are usually held on Wednesday evenings at either Horsham (Christ's Hospital), Hassocks (Hurstpierpoint College), Haywards Heath (Oakmeads School) or Burgess Hill (The Triangle). Although it is important for the training that the umpiring is to a high standard, every opportunity is given to encourage newly qualified umpires to improve their skills. The County aim to ensure a senior umpire is on hand to offer support and encouragement.

RULE BOOKS

Rules Books can be purchased from All England at a cost of 5.00 plus p&p (1.50 discount to AENA Members). The County Association can supply copies of rulebooks to local associations for them to sell to their members.

UMPIRE AWARDS - The Beginner Award

The County Netball Association is responsible for the conduct of the All England Beginner Umpire Award. Assessment is in two parts; a written test based on the rulebook and a practical assessment by two senior umpires of your ability to control a league match. Mail me if you want further details of how to apply to take the test(s). Please bear in-mind that some leagues prefer to have their own assessment system to provide a more structured system of introducing new umpires and getting them towards their C Award.

THE BEGINNER AWARD TEST - (5 Test Fee)

(A) Candidates will be required to umpire for up to 15 minutes if there is 1 candidate or 25 minutes if there are 2 candidates controlling the game. They will be expected to show their ability in the application of the basic rules for controlling the game by:

(i) penalising correctly obvious infringements of the rules

(ii) correct use of voice, whistle and terminology

(iii) positioning correctly

(iv) their ability to keep a correct scorecard and to call the score and Centre Pass.

(B) Answer correctly a minimum of 40 questions requiring "Yes" or "No" answers from 50 written questions.

If you would like to check your rules knowledge try your hand at one of the model exam papers.

UMPIRE AWARDS - The FENA "C" Award - Your Questions Answered

This award was previously the All England Preliminary Award. FENA (The Federation of European Netball Associations) have agreed a test format for use that is standard throughout Europe. Along with the All England Beginner Award, assessment for the C Award is conducted by County Associations and administered by the County Umpiring Secretary [CUS in netball jargon!]. (For Sussex this is done by Caroline Bennett, 54 North Bersted Street, BOGNOR REGIS, West Sussex, PO22 9AE) For details of who to contact in other Counties, contact either the Umpiring Secretary for the league in which your team is registered or contact Netball House (01462 442344). For members of other associations, contact the relevant head office.

So what's the difference between the Beginner Award and the C Award? The Beginner Award is aimed at those who are new to both umpiring and netball, typically young players, parents and partners or those who have not played netball competitively for some time. Its purpose is to say that an award holder is able to manage their half of the court in basic league games by controlling the most obvious rule infringements. On the other hand the C Award is about controlling your half of the court and working with the other umpire to control all "on the ball" situations in the majority of games at local League level.

How do I set about applying to take the C Award? Firstly you need to fill in a Test Application Form (your League Umpiring Secretary should have some) and send it off to the County Umpiring Secretary [CUS] (See above) together with the current test fee (10). You should allow 4 to 5 weeks before you hear anything. During this time the CUS will have identified two testers and a suitable league match at which you will be tested. Generally, but not a hard and fast rule, they will try to test you outside your own league, so be prepared to travel. Again, not a hard and fast rule, the CUS will try to find another candidate to test at the same time. So if you know someone else who wants to take the test and you can share transport etc with them, include a note to this effect to the CUS when you send in your application. You should get 2 or 3 weeks notice of your test; if you can be flexible you might be able to get a cancellation place much sooner, again tell the CUS this when you send in your application.

When are tests carried out? The availability of tests is governed by the availability of approved testers, two are required to conduct each test. Most CUSs will want leagues to settle down into the new season so that they can identify good balanced matches. For this reason, some Counties will not test during the much shorter Summer League season. Given that most testers are also busy playing and umpiring themselves, getting dates at short notice is not always possible. However for most areas a one year wait is the exception rather than the rule.

What format does the test take? There are two elements, a written test (follow link for a copy of Sample Paper 1) and a practical assessment. This is how it is set out in the current handbook:

C AWARD TEST

(A) Candidates will be required to umpire for a minimum period of 30 minutes.

They will be expected to show their ability in application of the rules and control of the game by:

(i) penalising correctly obvious infringements of the rules

(ii) correct use of whistle, voice and terminology

(iii) positioning and movement

(iv) appearance and manner

(v) their ability to keep a correct scorecard and to call the score and Centre Pass.

(B) Answer correctly a minimum of 17 questions requiring "Yes" or "No" answers from 20 written questions.

You must pass both part A and B, but the system will cope with someone who passes one element and fails on the other. The written test is based on correctly answering at least 17 Yes or No questions from 20. This test is usually conducted before the practical element (some counties will organise block tests 3 or 4 times a season, others may do it just before the practical test). The practical test should be based on a balanced league game upon which a result is not vital to relegation or promotion. The two Testers will introduce themselves to you and explain what they are looking for and where they intend to position themselves. They probably will not want to watch you umpire the whole match (they only have to observe you for 30 mins) and will probably indicate where you should meet them after the test.

Will I know the result straight away? Yes, the Testers will talk you though the test pointing out the good and bad points they observed and giving you feedback on things to concentrate on in the future. You'll get a copy of their assessment sheet and a few weeks later a metal badge (To be worn with pride) and a small certificate. If you weren't successful they'll talk you through what let you down and may suggest some suitable experienced umpire in your local area who could help you build up your experience. As a general rule failures are not reported. In this instance you'll need to re-apply to take the test again which you can do after a 3-month gap.

So what do I do once I've applied for a test? Try to draw up a plan that gets you umpiring at least one "good" game a week and reduce the number of games that you umpire where players are there more for the fun rather than the quality of netball. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may find that a local secondary school or college needs umpires for inter-school/college matches. See also the comment at the beginning of this page about County Umpiring. Try to maintain a good level of fitness that will get you through a 1hour game of competitive netball. If you do pick up an injury which will affect your performance, please contact your CUS as soon as possible. Study your rule book! As well as the 20 yes/no questions, you may well have to cope with any number of situations such as injuries and substitutions during your practical test.

Is it really as easy as this? The following has been extracted (with permission) from a discussion on the "Netball Stuff" discussion list: " It is interesting to hear how other people have experienced the testing procedure. I passed my C award about a year ago, I wish I could say it was as easy. We (my sister and I) had to wait approx. a year for the test, as in our area they try and test in the second half of the season and testers are difficult to get together. Our first test was scheduled at a time of an important game for our team and so we were forced to reschedule it. This was then cancelled for another reason.

But even though we had to wait, I did enjoy the experience. The testers were very understanding (we each got the score wrong at least once), but because we obviously had experience and good basic umpiring skills it was put down to nerves. It didn't help that the two teams involved had brought their own umpires (lack of communication) which resulted in a bit of huffing and puffing before the start. I'm sure the testing procedure generally runs more smoothly!? I certainly wouldn't put anyone off from apply to take their test. I enjoy umpiring (well most of the time!)."

UMPIRE AWARDS - The FENA "B" Award

Award Assessment for the FENA "B" Award is conducted at Regional Level. Applicants must, of course, hold the "C" Award. Whereas the C Award was about controlling the majority of "On the Ball" situations, the B Award is about controlling those together with "off the ball" situations; such as contact between the GD and GA at one end of the court whilst play is in progress at the other end. This is the first level at which umpires are expected to signal and play "Advantage"

How do I set about applying to take the B Award? Well it's not that dissimilar from the C Award; you apply on the appropriate form to the Regional Umpiring Secretary and enclose the 20 test fee. Two tutors are appointed and a suitable match is identified. Turn up and take the test.

What format does the test take? For the B Award the test questions are conducted verbally as the detail required goes way beyond simple yes/no answers. As a consequence there is no sample test paper. The practical test operates in exactly the same way as the C Award. The test is described in the current handbook as follows:

B AWARD TEST

(a) Candidates will be required to umpire a good standard game for a minimum of 48 minutes i.e. 4 x 12 minutes.

(b) They will be expected to control a high proportion of faults which occur in their obvious line of vision and to demonstrate some ability to see and control faults in off the ball situations i.e. incidents such as offside coinciding with a shooter catching the ball in the circle which needs to be evaluated in order to make a decision to play, or not to play, the advantage.

(c) Accurate terminology, effective communication, fitness combined with wise movement are all expected to be evident.

(d) They must answer satisfactorily a minimum of 7 oral questions from 10 questions selected by the Testers from a prepared list set by the FENA Umpiring Sub-Committee.

Would I be able to gain my B Award just by umpiring within my local area? For the majority of candidates the answer is No. The standard required is that of the upper divisions in any of the major Urban Leagues, Second Open, U18 and U16 in the English Counties League, First open in the lower divisions of the ECL and the lower divisions in the National Clubs League.

 

UMPIRING COURSES

Sunday 8th September 2002, 10am to 4pm at Collyers 6th Form College, Horsham. "14 -18 Start Umpiring." This course is for those young people who would like to understand more about netball umpiring. You will be expected to have some knowledge of netball either as a player, coach or informed spectator. Tutors: Margaret Bysh and Caroline Bennett. Cost 20 (includes Rule Book). Discount for those involved in Junior League Netball - Contact Ian Ford (01403 274652 - answerphone) for more details. Closing date for entries is 4th September

Sunday 22nd September 2002, 10am to 4pm at Handcross Park School. "Start Umpiring." This course is for those who would like to understand more about netball umpiring. You will be expected to have some knowledge of netball either as a player, coach or informed spectator. Tutors: Gill Parsons and Andy Polley. Cost 20 (includes Rule Book). Discount for Junior League members. E-mail me to reserve a place.

Sunday 10th November 2002, 10am to 4pm at Handcross Park School. "Towards the C Award." This course if for those who currently umpire and would like to prepare for their "C" Award test. Tutors: Gill Parsons and Andy Polley. Cost 35 (tbc). E-mail me to reserve a place.

Date to be confirmed, 10am to 4pm at Handcross Park School. "Towards the B Award." This course if for those who are currently active "C" Award Umpires and would like to prepare for their "B" Award test. Tutor: (tbc). Cost 35 (tbc)  To apply, send a cheque for the correct amount, made payable to "Sussex County Netball Association" to: Caroline Bennett, 54 North Bersted Street, BOGNOR REGIS, West Sussex, PO22 9AE

 Mail me for more details

 YOUR UMPIRING QUESTIONS

 This feature has now moved to its own page, follow this link

ALTERNATIVE RULES 

As well as the conventional game of netball, there are various alternative versions. For more details follow the links below:

  1. 5 A-Side - Used increasingly in English Primary Schools
  2. 6 A-Side - Useful if you only have a court marked out for 5 a-side football rather than for netball. I am grateful to Chris Till of Dr Peppers for posting this particular version
  3. Indoor netball - Handy if you only have access to a small sports hall
  4. Mixed Indoor - As drawn up by the "Wild Poppies" of Gratton

 

Last Updated 29th June 2002

Return to: Netball in Sussex Home Page | go on to Coaching | Go on to The C Award Sample Test Paper | Go on to the Beginner Award Sample Test Paper | Go to the Umpiring Q&A Page |