Rhodes to the Future

Posted by Heath Roberts on 2 November 2016

Ollie Rhodes a member of the National Young Umpires Promising List - NYUPL gives us his insight into umpiring at the Futures Cup, and his aspirations for the future.

Ollie in action

"Well where to start? The Futures Cup is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the calendar of NYUPL for two reasons. Firstly, the level of hockey on show is absolutely fantastic, and secondly because as an umpire if you do well at that tournament it sets you up for the season.

It was a long and intense tournament. The games started at 9am and finished about 6pm, and because our accommodation was 40 minutes away from the pitch you can imagine there were some very early starts and some late nights.

This tournament is largely, from an umpiring perspective, about good preparation, if your preperation is poor then you won't perform. It's also about making sure you conduct yourself well, our UM (umpire manager) was an FIH appointed UM so you can imagine the expectations were high!

We also had umpire coaches that were fantastic level 3 national league and FIH panel umpires so the feedback we could get was absolutely fantastic! 

Umpiring at Futures Cup is a massive experience, but it is important not to try and over umpire the games. You have to remember the players are on show and want to perform, so as an umpire it's very important only to step in when you have to, and the best way to do that is to keep calm and be laid back.

Also due the nature of the tournament (there are future England and GB players taking part) you have to expect to give big decisions. You will have to award game winning penalty strokes and cards, but it's knowing the appropriate time to do this, as part of the process is to educate the players if they do get selected for the England National Age Groups

Another amazing part of Futures Cup is because it is a big event. You have Michael Kurn there as the announcer, and you have proper technical officials.You do proper walk outs which really gets you pumped for the game and you're on a huge stage with maybe 300-400 people watching!

And all of this makes the whole the atmosphere of the tournament, which is amazing,

On the whole it was a good tournament for me, I umpired pretty well, sold all of my decisions and I came away with a lot of useful and constructive feedback.

My goals now: well short term I'm working towards my level 2 umpiring qualification (should get that by Christmas) then I'm hoping to start being appointed to Midlands prem games.

In the long term I'm pushing for the NPDP which is the national programme development panel, which is where you get to umpire some national league games in preparation for becoming level 3 and then being moved onto NPUA which is national league!

Even further long term goals: I want to push for an FIH panel and try and be short listed for the olympics in 2024 maybe 2028!



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