Thursday, December 1, 2022

NZC: Umpire Feature – Managing Fatigue & Dealing with Conflict

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Combining for over 100 International Umpiring appearances, Chris Brown & Wayne Knights stand in a strong position describe the challenges that umpires face on any given match day.

Both men are appointed to the ICC International Umpire Panel, as well as the NZC National Umpire Panel. This results in a busy summer of cricket, and a need to stay on top of their game.

The pair delivered a presentation to a wider umpiring network over the past month – focused on delivering their best tips on how to maintain concentration as an umpire, and how to deal with conflict.

Managing Fatigue as an Umpire:

Wayne Knights explained that being able to focus throughout a full day of cricket – sometimes lasting up to 96 overs – can be a demanding aspect of the role.

“Managing fatigue starts well before the match with a good level of general fitness,” explained Knights.

“On match days, we complete around seven kilometres of walking as well as standing out in the heat for up to five days in a row.

Solid pre-ball routines and switching concentration levels up and down is vital to manage mental fatigue.”

Knights also described his “fit for purpose approach”, meaning each umpire should know what level of fitness (walking, running, golf) they need to complete to be physically fit for a match.

Dealing with Conflict:

Conflict may arise in several settings during a cricket match – whether that be; Player vs Player, Player vs Umpire, or even from outside the boundary.

Umpire Chris Brown explained the need to be professional, and act quickly in these situations.

“Dealing with conflict can be difficult for an umpire, so it’s important to be professional and clear in your communication when dealing with it,” explained Brown.

“In my experience, the best way to deal with conflict is to front foot it. Acting quickly lets everyone know that you and your partner are in control.

Maintain your composure, be firm and clear with what you expect from those involved.”

In Brown’s experience, a strong knowledge of playing conditions, maintaining composure and using active listening is the most effective way to resolved “heated” situations.

To view a recording from these PD sessions, please click here.

While acknowledging the challenges of Umpiring, both men expressed the love they have for their job and the experiences that come with it.

  • “There is absolutely no doubt that umpiring is the best “seat” in the house. If you love cricket, enjoy great camaraderie with fellow umpires and love being challenged, it’s an incredibly rewarding way to be involved in the game.” – Wayne Knights, ICC & NZC Umpire
  • “Umpiring is a great way to see and be involved in the great game of cricket up close. What better place to see some of the world’s best players in action! Umpiring has allowed me to travel the world and have experiences I could never have dreamt of. It is challenging but can also be very rewarding. Give it a go!” – Chris Brown, ICC & NZC Umpire

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