Using Communications technology for umpire training

Discussion in 'Resources, Equipment, Signals' started by aussieump, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. aussieump

    aussieump FHF Regular Player

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    780
    Seems that we are going off topic so thought I would start a new thread regarding the usage of communications equipment for the training of umpires.

    Pro's and Con's

    Ideas please
     
  2. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    from other thread (to help kick things along)
    Cris - my thoughts exactly. Not that I'm not appreciative of the experienced umpire coaches who have developed a god skill with being present on the ground with a trainee, but I think it's horses for courses... In this modern day of technology young umpires are probably more at home with talking earbuds. And yet some may still prefer the authority figure next to them.

    was also thinking of the casual tips about off the ball activities of players or the players/coaches bench that the lead umpire may not be so well able to see - much better to know during the progress of the game than to wait for half time conference.
     
  3. aussieump

    aussieump FHF Regular Player

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    Will be using a two-way radio contact system in an upcoming event, that will allow UC's to communicate with other UC's viewing games. Idealy 1 UC will be in the stands and the other at Pitch level. The UC in the stands will be viewing the entire field and the pitch level UC will be working with the umpires. I am expecting the elevated UC will be passing on positioning in lead and trail transition. Will also be videoing games from this position. The pitch level UC can request certain pitch shots of what the umpire is working on and how it looks from the stands.

    Will be an self educational package for each umpire to take away from the event
     
  4. Magpie

    Magpie Administrator

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    4,755
    Aussieump I think that what you are doing is a top idea as it will be used for feedback for the umpire, any chance of a copy of some of it?

    I still think that at the elite level where all parties using the technology understand its purpose then there is benifits, however at the lower end I think that it has the potential to cause problems.

    As I have stated I have had no exposoure to this so I'm not in a position to judge.
     
  5. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    So what you are saying, in a way, is at the lower end, where improved communication would be a benefit to the development of umpires, that the application of a technology that would go some way to improving that communication may be problematic?

    Although I think I know what you are getting at, its a sort of non-sequitur for me. If you look at it from the other angle, you have two individual umpires who conference before a game, and then half way through, and then just rely on a sort of sign language during the course of a game and a supposed innate understanding of what each other is doing. It might be radical, but for me the way to encourage umpires to act as a team is to have the most able communication between the two of them that is possible.

    I'm confident that if the technology was more widely available, that protocols and professional guidelines for the use of such technology would develop, and it would be of benefit. Not to mention using the technology for umpire training - but that's for another post
     
  6. johnreiss

    johnreiss FHF Regular Player

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    So long as it is used constuctively for umpiring training/development, I do believe that thais is a great idea. I am use most prospective uympires would welcome it just to get ecouragement, ask questions and receive help where necessary. It should not however, be used as a "third umpire" eg you hasve missed...... you have not ..... . Encouragement and deevelopment of confifence are the key words here.

    My only problem withi it, is the cost of the equipment (every club having at least 2 sets??). I would be interested in knowing how much such a system costs? if its not too expensive I would suggest that such a fgacility would be of great benefit to the game at all levels
     
  7. Diligent

    Diligent FHF Staff Staff Member

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    3,261
    I'm with Keely on this - that umpires' communication must be open to players and spectators, not covert.

    It's the same with umpire training. It works just fine without electronic communication. The umpire umpires the hockey. The coach offers a few ideas at half time, then a deeper review afterwards of what went right and wrong, and a few things to work on for the next match. That's a pattern the umpire can use even without a coach - a good habit for continuous self-development.

    Be wary when a technology solution goes looking for problems. When you take into account the side-effects, I doubt that more communication equals improved communication.
     
  8. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    654
    H'mm a poll of umpires undergoing training would be interesting - I suspect not all would agree with that statement that "It works just fine". For one, not everyone possesses a photographic memory that can just rewind back to the instant of a particular passage of play. So umpire coaches coming up at half time are having to discuss events that rely on recall, and as any member of the constabulary will tell you, people's recollections can be quite variable, so in many ways the type of coaching that can occur is limited to generalities. But the paradigm for umpire coaching & development is not likely to shift much: recent advances such as using video may assist with review, but behaviour modification has to wait largely until the next on-pitch experience.

    Live communication changes the paradigm, and of course as others have mentioned, the potential for mis(understood)use is there too; like any tool it can be inappropriately used. But for my way of thinking, the opportunity for feedback during the course of the on-pitch experience offers so much more.

    I can understand that a conservative view might be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but sooner or later these developments will be picked up by new coaches and trainers and advances will be made
     
  9. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    10,360
    I don't believe this is a situation where we're saying "it ain't broke so don't fix it." I believe, as a few others have, that immediate in-game feedback is very likely to lead to incredible amount of distraction and does not provide positive gains in performance.

    Umpires particularly need to be in the moment and the skill of making a decision and moving on is one that takes an great deal of practise to master. Having experimented with the method of umpire coaching by following an umpire during a match and making live comments, I've found it's detrimental to the umpire's immediate performance and their long-term skill development because instead of doing something and then moving on, their focus is immediately brought back to something they need to change. They are mentally processing the information from the coach when they should be thinking ahead. What position should the umpire be moving into? Where is the ball likely to go? Is this attempted tackle legitimate or just to stop the play because the defenders are out of position? Not only does immediate sometimes result in the umpire getting completely mired in reviewing the past event, I believe they are learning the wrong thought patterns.

    The fact is that the umpires are already working hard enough at screening out immediate feedback from the players - do novice or even intermediate umpires need that amount of data compounded by their coach? In speaking with international umpires who have used radio communication, all of them agree that it's beneficial but only in very small doses - anything more is distracting. Now, these are very experienced umpires who have had years and years of practise at mental focus - what kind of insurmountable challenge are we setting up for everyone else?

    Neo, I think you pointed out the perfect technological tool to address the problem of needing precise feedback from the game - video. Being able to review aspects of performance and particular incidents after the game is over. The psychology of mental visualization training posits that simply by observing performance visually, whether it's in the imagination or on video, is in some cases as effective as physical training. This is where we as an umpiring community should be investing our resources.
     
  10. Diligent

    Diligent FHF Staff Staff Member

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    Yeah. That's what I meant... :rolleyes:
     
  11. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    10,360
    Sorry, I didn't mean to repeat what you said, Diligent.
     
  12. Diligent

    Diligent FHF Staff Staff Member

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    3,261
    Sorry Keely, I didn't mean that. I meant to applaud you for explaining with great precision the vague thought behind my earlier post.

    And with that thought in mind, I might add to..
    When I coach I avoid mentioning any specific incident at half time, and simply encourage their general umpiring skills (positioning, anticipation, presentation, etc).
    We can chew over rules and decisons in the debrief.
     
  13. UmpireHockey.com

    UmpireHockey.com FHF Regular Player

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    782
    I've used wireless communication systems many times -- with a partner and while training as an off-field coach -- at relatively (given the breadth of experience on FHF) low levels of play.

    Covert conversations did take place, and especially when training, SHOULD take place. Having said that, it did NOT mean that the umpires shouldn't also put on a visual display of partner-to-partner communication skills for the benefit of the players and fans. That continues to be VERY important. In fact, I remember in one game saying to my partner who called time out and started to go on (over the mic) about something that had happened and I said something to the effect of, "You've called time out, now, use your hands and call me down to your circle so we can show everyone that we're discussing what happened."

    Some of the posts seem to suggest that there would be someone chattering constantly in the ear of the wearer, like a play-by-play announcer. I've done games with them where I've said (and heard) two or three things.

    One time, not knowing what level of training the umpire had in the yet to be defined international sign language symbol for "please note that the game is getting out of control and we need to call it tight for a few minutes", I pushed the talk button and said as much (that I would be calling things tighter as some things seem to be escalating). Another time, same game, last minute or two, "Could you come down really close to my circle on this corner? There is a very bad glare and I can't see the circle line on the far side."

    We had the school's athletic director listening in because the "issue" of using the system was being debated. After the game he said he didn't think his unit was working very well because he hardly heard us saying anything.

    Here is what one of the umpires I was training said in an article, "The walkie talkies are a great tool for a learning umpire to use with an experienced umpire," said Cholish. "They provide better communication and almost forces the umpires to act more as a single unit rather than as separate entities."

    COST: We used these...

    http://direct.motorola.com/ENS/web_producthome_FV500R.asp?Country=USA&language=ENS

    ...and they cost $40USD at a local retailer. 22 channels and 121 privacy codes, still, in metropolitan areas where one might more easily run into people with scanners, they aren't perfect. I think FM systems would be better but more expensive.
     
  14. Magpie

    Magpie Administrator

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    4,755
    Diligent I agree with all your points and agree that half time is not the place to discuss very much and as I have said before saying too much at half time can remove consitencey out of the game and frustrate the players.

    I've a foot in both camps in that radio communication should not take place of the pre-game talk or the method of communication via eye contact/visual cues but could be used to augment them.

    Does anybody know if soccer refs use radio communication?
     
  15. David_Underdown

    David_Underdown

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    I htink they do now to some extent. Also in professional games I believe that the assistants' flags have a transmitter system that links up to a vibrating pad that wraps around the ref's arm so that when the assistants are indicating offside or foul play they can press a button on the flag pole to alert the ref,r ather than relying on him seeing the flag.
     

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