Continuous Professional Development, pt 3: conflict management

The most recent CPD video from the ACO was on conflict management, something that has only really come up a couple of times in my games, one of which came about because of an error on my part, not dealing with poor behaviour before it got too much. This area of umpiring would have, I think, been covered in the training course that I was due to go on at the end of March which was cancelled.

My approach to the whole game is that most of the time I am a spectator, and as much as possible should be left up to the players. That includes dismissals – if someone is out then I will only signal and give them out if the batsman doesn’t walk. That is, my default style is in the terminology of that video “avoiding”. In the error above, I avoided for too long. However, on the one second occasion for conflict in one of my games (I gave someone out caught when he was adamant that he wasn’t, and he argued) I went to “collaborating” by asking my colleague at square leg for his opinion. In the end my colleague (and it should be noted that he was a batsman temporarily standing at square leg) hadn’t had a clear enough view to say either way. If he had been sure I was wrong I would have changed the decision, but the dispute was settled with everyone being reasonably content by me telling the players to hold on while I consulted him, and then confirming my decision.

As a cricket umpire as opposed to an official in a more fast-moving sport I’m lucky that I will almost always have the time for collaboration with my umpiring colleague, but also I have the time to explain decisions to players. This means that I can be both assertive and co-operative, which I think is the ideal.

Continuous Professional Development, pt 2: run-outs

The practical exercise in the most recent CPD video from the ACO on run-outs was a very good one. I didn’t know about the flash-lag effect, but I got 16 out of 18 correct anyway, with one wrong in either direction. There was one more where I thought the batsman was probably out but I wasn’t certain, so gave not out – correctly. My positional judgement varied around the actual frame the batsman was in by a frame or two either way, with about a third of my correct decisions being spot on.

I think that’s a pretty good result, but I shall revisit the exercise in a couple of weeks to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

I hope they do one on LBWs soon, that’s the area of umpiring that I struggle the most with.

Continuous Professional Development: communication

In the absence of cricket and hence no opportunity for my usual post-match Maoist self-criticism on this blog, I’m looking forward to improving my umpiring through the training materials that the ECB ACO are beginning to put out. The first one on umpire communication was a good start, although I was amused at their picking Nigel Owens out as a bad example of match official to player communication. The point being made was that lecturing like a school master – which Nigel does – is generally a bad thing. But it works well for Nigel, for reasons that are also pointed out in the video. Different example needed I think!

When I was reviewing my overall performance at the end of last season communications was one of the things I picked out as needing work. I was thinking mostly of my pre-match communication with team captains and club officials, but there were also a couple of things in that that I need to improve a bit in my on-field communication.