Hawke’s Bay Hockey has come up with a fun and appealing way to encourage youth into umpiring – and they’ve even slapped a cool brand on it calling the initiative YUP!
The YUP! (Youth Umpiring Programme) was designed by the team at Hawke’s Bay Hockey to help grow and nurture youngsters keen to progress their umpiring. Participants are partnered up with a mentor, they’re given YUP! branded clothing and there’s a prizegiving for those who progress to the next level.
As hockey works alongside Sport NZ and the other main team sports to combat the fact we’re losing kids to sport, the YUP! initiative provides an aspirational pathway for upcoming umpires.
Hawke’s Bay Hockey Community Manager Andrea Leydesdorff, who established the programme in 2019, says the goal was to help grow confidence in youth umpires while providing a safe and fun environment to learn.
“It’s all about giving youth the confidence to umpire hockey at a pace they are comfortable with. The programme is appealing to our youth participants as it is youth surrounded by youth, with their own little community of kids who share the same interest in umpiring.
“The programme is rewarding and reflects the age and stage of our participants.”
The tiered level programme helps the youngsters gain confidence in umpiring through different age group hockey from quarter-field to full-field games. It also prepares participants for the Hockey NZ Junior and Community Badge accreditation.
Leydesdorff says YUP! allows the young umpires to work through three levels of competency, so they can umpire games for years three and four through to 11-a-side games.
The three levels are:
- Level 1 – competent in quarter-field hockey (Mini Sticks and Kiwi Sticks Development)
- Level 2 – competent in half-field hockey (Kiwi Sticks and Kwik Sticks half-field competitions)
- Level 3 – competent in full-field hockey (Kwik Sticks and Secondary School competitions)
To achieve the above levels (and corresponding badges) the teenagers are required to umpire consistently through a seasonal competition, with help from mentors who review, assess and give feedback on key indicators through their games.
Every umpire is issued with a logbook to track their progress through the programme and to set goals for each game they umpire.
Leydesdorff says 24 youngsters took part last year with each one progressing up a level over the course of the season.
She added the programme would not be possible without the support of their sponsor Indigo Napier, and without their fantastic mentors and hard-working programme co-ordinator Georgia Mayo.
Hockey NZ Technical Manager Colin French says Hawke’s Bay Hockey is leading the way in the junior umpiring space.
“The YUP! programme is a fantastic initiative that I would encourage other Associations to take a look at and see what they can do to encourage youngsters into umpiring.”
French adds that Hockey NZ has certificates and resources available for junior umpires, as well as the national gradings system to support any locally run programmes.