Concentration

Discussion in 'Development, Skills & Advice' started by roguefailure, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. roguefailure

    roguefailure FHF Regular Player

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    Hi,

    I have recently umpired a few games and a 7-a-side tournament even though I am not a level 1 umpire yet. The reason I umpired was to help out the mixed team during the Summer League and also the club at the tournament. Umpiring isn't really my thing and not something I saw myself doing but I found I actually enjoyed it (pre-abuse). During these matches I found I was thinking too much like a player and then losing my concentration, letting my mind wander as it were. This is obviously dangerous but I couldn't help it.

    If I decided to do my level 1 course, what things could you suggest to help my concentration?
     
  2. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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  3. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    Well, if you can think like a player, but keep in mind you are an umpire & focus, then you are well on he way. Understanding the flow of the play and what the players are trying to do is part of being a good umpire. BTW you weren't "ball watching" by any chance when you noticed that your concentration was drifting?
     
  4. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    For umpires to concentrate for the full 70 minutes, we need mental fitness and stamina, the same as players need physical fitness and stamina. Of course, it's not entirely either/or: as a player or an umpire, physical tiredness produces poor decisions. For me, a lack of fitness shows up as a dozy 5-10 minutes in the middle of the second half.

    The obvious way to get fit for umpiring is to do lots of umpiring. The first season after I stopped playing, I umpired 5-6 hours a week, and made huge progress.

    Besides the thread that Keely suggested, you could also look at:
    Do umpires do any training?
    Umpire's workload

    Neo's post gives me another idea. It is common for new umpires, with their player's heads, to position themselves much too far from play. Almost every Level 1 Umpire coaching brings up the action point that the umpire must be positioned closer to see. I wonder if it would work the other way around? So if, when you are umpiring, you keep moving into the right position to umpire, then that might keep your brain in umpiring mode.
     
  5. roguefailure

    roguefailure FHF Regular Player

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    Keely, thank you for that link. I did a search for 'concentration' and rather stupidly not 'focus'.

    Neo, I was watching the game and then suddenly realised my mind had wandered and I had missed a couple of minutes! I didn't even recall what I had been distracted by either which was worrying. I later realised that whilst the ball wasn't in my half I was more prone to a lapse in concentration.

    Diligent, thank you for that advice. During the matches I umpired I learned very quickly that I had to move around and get in an 'umpire's position' as I was adopting a player's position and looking to be in a place to receive a pass! This usually meant my vision was obscured and I missed decisions. I also found myself thinking "C'mon umpire!!" then realising I was he.
     
  6. braxer001

    braxer001 FHF Legend

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    I had the same problem as a gk during games, losing focus near the end of the game when it really matters, so I had a little chat with a couple of coaches and people whose opinion I trust on hockey-related matters and they gave me the advice not to concentrate a 100% for 70 minutes, but 'prioritise' your attention. Now I don't know if the people here think that advice may be applicable to umpiring as well, but I have used it fairly successfully as an umpire myself. Here's how I do it:

    You are basically spot on with your comment:
    IMHO you can relax a little bit when the ball is on the other half as long as you are aware of it (do it intentionally), especially if the other umpire is a capable man/woman and the speed of play isn't all that high. Of course you still need to keep an eye out for stuff you would assist your colleague with (i.e. PC offences, ball over your sideline, ... etc.). Then, when the ball comes closer and closer towards you, focus some more. By the time play enters the 25y (and especially the D), that's when you have to be a 100%. It is really hard to stay focused for a whole 70 minutes! So be focused when it matters!

    If this sounds like a really bad idea to other members, feel free to say so :)
     
  7. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    That's good stuff, Braxer.

    Notice also that when play gets too intense, the defence will shell the ball off to the other end of the pitch. Then they can take a breather while someone goes to fetch it (no pesky ball boys in our matches). As an umpire, that's your opportunity to unwind as well. Just make sure the focus is back before it's needed.
     
  8. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    I completely agree with the idea braxer, but I think I'd fine-tune the application a bit.

    The concept has been coached to me as "active rest". So when the ball is not in your area of control, you shift your attention to different issues on the pitch rather than just staring at the ball and deciding what the foul is or isn't (pretty useless since you're not making the decisions at that point, right?). Instead, you focus on things like the position of particular key players on the pitch, planning the likely route of the counterattack, or keeping an eye on the two players on the other side of the circle giving each other a little business.

    You're still engaged in the game but in a different way, which helps you stay fresh because it's analogous to using different muscles when exercising. You keep your heart rate up but the other muscle group gets a chance to rest and you can perform more consistently over the longer term.

    Make sense?
     
  9. g9

    g9 FHF Legend

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    I agree with Keely that there are a lot of off-ball things to focus on which might be of value and would provide a "relief valve" as it were for maintaining sharpness. However, watching the other umpire and deciding what the foul is or isn't can be enormously helpful when you are starting out in that it causes the off-ball umpire to think about whether or not they would have called the situation the same way or not. Assuming that your partner is more experienced, you can learn good things that way! But as to the tendency to think like a player when starting out, it is (I find) helpful to NOT umpire your own team, as you will get caught up in "oh so-and-so just made a good play" thinking knowing the personalities and strengths as well as you do.
     

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