Development Strategy

Gloucestershire Association of Cricket Umpires & Scorers (GACUS)

Enhancing Personal Development through Training, Mentoring and Boundary Edge Observation

Introduction

Since the 1980’s, GACUS has recognised the importance of providing comprehensive training to new and existing officials, together with ongoing support and guidance as they gained experience in their roles of umpiring and scoring. As a result, GACUS has earned an excellent reputation for delivering high quality training and development, which has attracted considerable interest from those who would like to qualify as cricket umpires and scorers in Gloucestershire.

Brief History – Why We Needed to Develop a New Approach

Whilst the initial approach to providing mentoring support and boundary edge assessment had achieved some success, it was necessary to address the situation whereby in 2012/13, only 16% of those trained on the Level 1 Umpiring Courses, went on to officiate in league cricket. We believe that there were a number of contributing factors as to why the retention figures were disappointingly low. However, without the evidence achieved through systematic “exit interviews”, we tried to understand and address what we believed to be the main contributors.

Unless the trend of diminishing numbers of active umpires and scorers was addressed, the consequences were clear. We were facing the prospect of a steady reduction in the numbers of officials we could appoint to league cricket and cup competitions.

Our Situation in the 2018 Season

A significant amount of work has gone into developing the arrangements that GACUS now has in place. Initially, we identify those members who are standing in their first season and also those who are on the ECBACO pathway.

We currently have 15 Mentors who have attended our internal workshops before they agreed to undertake the role. During the 2018 season, our Mentors have provided support and guidance to 28 Mentees. The frequency of contact is agreed between the individuals ranging from regular telephone conversations and face to face meetings. Through our Appointments Team, we are trying to ensure that the Mentor and Mentee stand together in a game on at least one occasion during the season. Our objective with this approach is to ensure that the Mentor can provide observational feedback both verbally and also through the colleague observation report.

In addition, GACUS now has a dedicated team of 5 Boundary Edge Observers. Our objective here is to provide each Mentee with 2 boundary edge observations during the season. These reports are sent to the Mentee as an aid to ongoing support and personal development with also a copy to their Mentor.

Where to from Here?

GACUS is committed to providing support to all its members who are actively involved in umpiring and scoring. Whether our members aspire to reach the top, progress through the pathway or be the best they can be, GACUS will offer support and guidance through our development strategy, facilitated by our Mentors, Boundary Edge Observers and supported by our Development Team. These various activities are vital in the ongoing development of our umpires and scorers and we fully acknowledge the valuable contributions made by those who fulfil the necessary roles.

Although to date we have tended to concentrate on new officials and those who are progressing on the pathway, we recognise that we need to broaden the approach. We are actively considering how we offer additional support to our more experienced officials, who may well experience challenges from time to time. Having someone available to talk to and confide in, if necessary, should be in place for all our members.

Whilst Captains’ Reports play an important role in the assessment of an Umpire’s performance, we now have additional means of measurement at our disposal. Our mentoring resource, boundary edge observations and the self-assessment/management process provide additional tools and opportunities to develop a more balanced formula as to how performance is objectively assessed and professional development managed. Discussions are already underway to determine how GACUS can make further strides in developing our strategic approach in these extremely important areas.

Clive Poulton
Chairman – GACUS
8th November 2018