Should every game have a clean slate?

Discussion in 'Game Management & Communication' started by CardHappy, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. foozbear

    foozbear FHF Regular Player

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    your right...every game should not carry a past incident that detracts from the current game.

    before the game I had decided what to do in case the same player decided to have words with me. I was going to have a witness to what he said.

    so far he has been rather sneaky about it and telling me when no-one else is around.

    the tone of the game was set very early...like the first 3 minutes by a green card for backchat. That stopped the back chat for the game.

    while as umpires there seems to be a concieved notion that dont bring out cards early...but this time it worked before things got out of hand.

    I was speaking to a senior umpire before the game about the incident in the previous game. He said that my report and my decisions were correct so why didnt I actually card the people. so that gave me reason to think.

    I guess I have the benefit of being able to ask many senior umpires questions and we are always seeing each other out at games. Still you always have doubts about things AFTER the game...but oddly never during.

    so thanks AUs ump...ill stress less and enjoy more.
     
  2. controller

    controller FHF Legend

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    Clean slate would be nice in every game, by the umpires are human also, though they do their best to go and start the game with a clear mind, it does not always happen.

    To assist the umpires it would help if players, coaches and supporters do not try and talk to the umpires about the last game they did at your venue.
     
  3. Twister

    Twister FHF Regular Player

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    I go into games with a clean slate. But that doesn't mean I won't use information at my disposal (whether that's prior knowledge and experience, advice from others, match reports etc) to make sure that my game plan is appropriate for the level of hockey, and type of behaviour that I can expect on the pitch.

    My tolerances for dissent or physical play might change a little depending on whether I know I can trust the players on the pitch or not. If I don't have prior information at my disposal, I tend to start out strict, and then allow more leeway if the game allows.

    I reckon that once I've umpired a team 3 times, I'll know them (and they'll know me) and I'll be comfortable that I can handle whatever they throw at me.

    In terms of individuals, I also think carefully about reputations, and the approach that I might take to make sure that everyone has a successful day! It may be as simple as reversing a decision the first time they speak, just to send the message.

    Whilst I don't hold grudges, or carry over incidents from previous matches, it makes no sense to ignore the good and useful intelligence that's out there when it can help both you and the teams have a better game of hockey!
     
  4. Diligent

    Diligent FHF All Time Great
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    Twister that seems to be about exactly the right balance. :yes:
     
  5. keely

    keely FHF Legend

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    (I've been working on this for a couple of days, and not surprisingly, Twister's basically made my point in a much more concise fashion. I'll post this anyway, just because I would hate to waste all the keystrokes and brainwaves that went into it. ;))

    I agree with most of the comments here so far, but I think what CardHappy is getting at is a more precise assessment of what exactly turns preparation into prejudgment? Where is the fine line, and how can we stay on the right side of it? The question is critical, as it goes to the crux of our role as impartial arbiters of the game. justin's last statement, that when you're aware of the dangers of prejudgment you're likely on the right side of the line, is probably the best that any of us can do.

    I've been in plenty of situations where I've walked into a game without any previous experience or knowledge whatsoever about the teams. In fact, that sort of ignorance pretty much defined my first season in the English national league in 2006, and in a lot of ways it was a delight. In comparison to umpiring domestic hockey at home, I looked forward to not having any kind of preconceptions or notions as to what I was about to see. What a luxury - to only have the opportunity to call exactly what I saw in front of me! Similarly, my first couple of dozen international games were like that - all fresh and new.

    The problem was that it didn't make me a better umpire, and it didn't turn into a better performance.

    Generally speaking, I just wasn't prepared to cope with what I was going to see from different teams in terms of attitudes, tactical propensities, skill levels and the like. It took me longer than it should have to figure out what degree of advantage was best for the players and what was their best result from a particular foul committed by the other team. I didn't have a handle on what was going to be dangerous or not dangerous according to their skill level. I was more often not in the right position because I hadn't anticipated where the ball was going, because I didn't have a good handle on the pace of the players and where they were trying to move the ball within their system. At times, not knowing the cultural backgrounds of teams or their past history with each other meant that I couldn't pro-actively prevent conflicts from occurring, and I didn't properly deal with them after the fact either.

    The more I know about a team, the better I am in all of these aspects.

    The flipside is that yes, you do end up knowing individual players much better. From there it seems like a slippery slope towards having a preconceived notion as to what is going to happen in a particular situation, which promotes a prejudgment on your part such that you're not calling what's in front of you. However, I find there are a variety of factors that act as a good safeguard against that occurring.

    First and foremost, there are an awful lot of players on the pitch at one time and an awful lot of variables that come into every decision you make. Combining all of that together, if you're capable of adding up all of those things prior to an incident (i.e. an attempted tackle) and know which way you're going to call it before it happens, including overriding the visual evidence that does come before you presently, that's pretty damn impressive.

    Decision-making is so complex that it has to be reduced to instinct. You can only assist your instinct by removing thought from the immediate process, and that means doing some thinking beforehand. Knowing the rules inside and out. Seeing the situation as many times as possible before so you've seen it done rightly and wrongly and seen your decisions be correct and incorrect on that incident with the benefit of post-match analysis. Knowing the pace and the skill of the player and the technique they're likely going to use so you're not watching and thinking, "which way are they going to go? What are they going to do, and when? How fast can they run?"

    Anticipation isn't magic - it's a load of previously-stored information that helps remove conscious thought out of the way so you can react quickly enough and accurately most often. For players, that's training and reps doing a particular skill or reacting in a particular tactical situation in a particular way. Umpires need reps and preparation just as much as players do. It's not that you have already made up your mind as to what's going to happen - it's just that you've cleared away as much as possible so that what does happen makes instinctive sense to you and you react correctly without thinking.

    What prevents you as an umpire from taking anticipation and instinct into the realm of unfairness, incorrectness or (at the far extreme) bias is nothing more and nothing less than a 100% commitment to excellence in your performance. I can't explain it any other way except that in my experience, I'm too damn stubborn about being "right" to be prejudiced, because in order to do so I would very likely have to make wrong decisions. In some ways the more you know about a team and about the players, the harder it is to sort out the information that you need to inform your instinct and that which you don't, but over time you get better and better at sorting through that process.

    In sum, what I'm saying is that we actually umpire better when we don't have a clean slate as with the right attitude towards performance, that turns into better umpiring and not prejudgemental umpiring.
     
  6. redumpire

    redumpire FHF All Time Great
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    Hard to argue with any of that Keely (like I'd dare!), but - and I know we're agreeing here, I'm just emphasising the point - there's all the difference in the world between:

    • knowing a team's foibles and preparing accordingly; and
    • going into a game thinking "Player X is a b*stard. I'll nail him/her the first time s/he steps out of line."
     
  7. Snoody

    Snoody FHF All Time Great

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    KD - absolutely.
    Red - absolutely.

    If I agreed any more I'd turn into Philthy... ;)
     
  8. philthy

    philthy FHF All Time Great

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    There are worse people in the world to become!

    Just watch you don't fall foul of Keely's mind control. Vicious thing it is... ;)
     
  9. Snoody

    Snoody FHF All Time Great

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    KD, Red, Snoody and Philthy all in a row, in the same place at the same time. Now what are the odds of that ever happening? ;)
     
  10. controller

    controller FHF Legend

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    probably out of this world if you were allowed to bet on it, but the advice was good and the different aspect of the problem discussed at a full length as you would expect.
     
  11. Neo

    Neo Technical Moderator

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    Keely, that's one of the best descriptions of an aspect of umpiring that you won't find in the rule book - it covers a number of points that absolutely describe some of my own experiences when having a go at stepping up to higher levels, and I'm sure mirror many of the experiences that others have had at their own levels of umpiring, whether social, grade, district, national or international.

    I'd like to see it made into a standalone piece of advice and made into a sticky on the umpiring board - {David U's domain} ...

    Here's the bit where I have stuck my neck out :eek: :eek: :eek:

    I've made a "suggested" edit to your post so it doesn't have to be linked with the whole thread, and so you can see how it could standalone, but of course the balance between keeping it a very personal post versus a more general piece of advice is something for you to consider... I'll PM it to you :yes:
     

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