TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective
TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective

Coach relationships

How many relationships do you maintain as a coach?
For the average footy club coach has a bevy of players, supporters, sponsors, committee members, life members, assistant coaches, opposition coaches and players and volunteers. She’s a big old list of people who you, mainly, need to keep on the good side of to ensure your team can play at their absolute best.
Underage coaches also throw in parents but that is a blog for another day.
With all these people to deal with it is easy to forget a very crucial stakeholder who needs his relationship managed, the official.
Umpires, referees, judges, stewards or commissaires live the cliché that without them there would not be a game, but it is more than that. They facilitate sport for all participants.
How important is it to massage the relationship with the umps?
In short, very.
In my experience as an umpire the best managed games I have been involved in have been the ones where there is a good relationship with the coach. I have had prickly relationships with coaches, one in particular nearly had me giving umpiring away, but even that one is on track now as a mutual respect we found.
From a cricket standpoint, I love dealing with coaches. Umpires love the sport the same was coaches do. They live and breathe it. They know the terminology and learn what they can from talking to coaches. I encourage umpires to speak to coaches and here I am now to encourage coaches to use umpires as a resource.
It could be as much as finding out what the umpire was thinking in relation to an LBW appeal, holding the ball call or tech foul and, if done the right way, could be a learning experience for the coach. I have been asked about the length bowlers have bowled, how much swing a certain bowler had and even if a shot was on when a player was caught. Here is the rider though. I would never encourage an umpire to give unsolicited opinion on the game to a coach. All conversations, in reality, start and continue with questions. I would encourage umpires to speak to coaches around the way the game is being played on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” method. If the coach were to ask a question of the umpire, certainly answer it.
Basically, what I am trying to say is that there is a hidden relationship where officials and coaches can learn from each other for the betterment of the game. It is a form of cross pollination, which you hear a lot from me on in coming blogs.
It is not, and never should be, about getting decisions, but a collegiate approach to interactions with officials can make the game. The better the spirit of the game, the better the game.

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