The BUA of E had a busy weekend in Nottingham on the 5th and 6th February. An England Junior Pathway Camp provided a great opportunity for us to get some of our new umpires on court following their initial training course in November. Several experienced umpires – led by Malcolm Banham - attended as well to support and mentor our newest members. For many of them, it was their first experience of umpiring at an event. The Camp took place at Nottingham University with the players split into teams competing against each other over the two days.
We were provided with a rather delicious lunch on arrival at the venue and then we gathered together for the briefing. Each new umpire was paired up with an experienced one for the rest of the day and we were soon on court. The experienced umpires led the way by umpiring the first game on each court with the new ones service judging. After they had seen how it was done – no pressure there!!! – it was time for them to climb into the chair for their first attempt. After each game, there was chance for a discussion about how the games had gone with suggestions given to help each umpire improve. There were some very enjoyable matches which were played to a high standard and several of them were very close. There was added tension with the final end being the first to five points if a match went to a third game.
After play had finished, there was time for us to get together to discuss the day and for Malcolm to make a few suggestions for things to work on the following day. The whole Camp – players, organisers and umpires - gathered together for an evening meal in the hotel at the university. Allan took it upon himself to try each of the menu options – there were several available!!!
The second day started early (too early for Nick!!) and, following the briefing, we were put into new pairings before going back onto court. Again, there was the opportunity after each match for a discussion to point out elements that had gone well, areas for improvement and next steps to try. Another delicious lunch followed before we were put into our final pairings for the last session. This meant that our new umpires gained valuable advice and encouragement from different experienced umpires.
The weekend was a huge success, and it was great to see all of our new umpires improving significantly over the two days. The experienced umpires also valued having the time to both watch umpires in action and discuss matches immediately. Hopefully our newest members will soon be on court in their regions using what they have learnt over the weekend!
A big thank you to Badminton England for arranging the event and making us so welcome. It was great to see so many young players in action and enjoying their badminton.