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Young Umpire Q + A

Ulster Hockey has been chatting with Ards LHC Young Umpire, Laura Cairns. Laura has been a very active young umpire, umpiring at numerous youth blitzes and the U15 Indoor tournament held before Christmas. 

UH - How did you get involved in the young umpire programme?

    I saw the programme advertised on my club Facebook page and I believed it would be a good opportunity to gain new skills and experiences and so I got in contact with my club young umpire coordinator to get involved.

UH - Why did you want to get involved in umpiring?

    I was already helping to coach the u11s at my club and so I thought it would be a good way to get more involved with them so I could help at their blitzes. Also, I knew it would give me loads of new skills and opportunities which would help my CV and show that I do more than just play hockey!

UH - Has there been any challenges so far and if so how have you overcome them?

    The main challenge has been finding the balance, in the younger age group, between letting them play and letting the game flow and still enforcing the rules. To overcome this I just continued to umpire to gain more experience. With the experience of umpiring more matches it was much easier to find this balance and so letting the children play in a fun and safe way.

UH - What would you like to do in the future with umpiring?

     I would like to continue to umpire more and more matches to work possibly start work towards umpiring qualifications and umpiring senior hockey.

UH - What would you say to any aspiring young umpires?

Get involved and umpire as much as you can! It really helps to increase your confidence and opens up a lot of new opportunities to get involved in hockey.

UH - You recently umpired at the U15 Indoor tournament. How did this differ from the outdoor blitzes?

   The indoor game is much faster than the outdoor game and also, there are a lot more smaller details to look out for when umpiring. I found it more challenging, purely because it was my first time umpiring indoor and also my first time umpiring boys hockey which is a lot faster than the female game. Although it was also very rewarding and the Irish Hockey Umpires also passed on a lot of knowledge to us which will help with our umpiring of both the indoor and outdoor game.

UH - What are you looking forward to most entering the second half of the youth season?

   I’m looking forward to seeing the youth improve from blitz to blitz. Also, I hope to continue to gain experience with my umpiring and hopefully help to umpire at the finals day in April.

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