The Australian Football League (AFL) has recently completed a national survey of umpires not returning to umpiring in 2011.
The survey saw 75 responses from former umpires across the country from all States/territorities.
The purpose of the survey was to ascertain the reasons umpires do not return to umpiring the following season. The full survey results have been provided to State Umpiring Managers to circulate to their umpiring groups.
Umpiring groups are encouraged to reflect on the information/key themes identified by the survey and to consider what actions they may be able to take to improve their umpiring group environment.
The survey was highlighted by the following:
The responses indicated the following as the principal reason people started umpiring:
There were a wide spread of reasons given for stopping umpiring. The following are the primary reasons given:
In excess of 50% rated the coaching they received as ‘very good’ (19.1%) or ‘good’ (35.3%). Yet only 16.7% felt umpires were respected in the community.
Responses to how coaching could be improved highlighted four key areas:
While the sample size was not large, the information can be treated at least as indicative of the feelings of those umpires not returning.
The 2011 survey follows a 2007 survey on non-returning umpires. Whilst the 2007 survey only had 31 responses from 4 states it is worth considering the findings:
Umpiring groups are encouraged to ensure they ‘connect well’ with their umpires and seek feedback as part of a continual improvement process in areas such as:
Seeking input from umpires and others associated with the game about the umpiring environment can alert umpiring groups to a range of issues associated with the retention of umpires.
This can assist in addressing the aspects which are in the control of umpiring groups and others to action in an attempt to contribute to a positive impact on umpire retention.
Of course, this is the responsibility of all people in football. Let us not forget, Umpiring is Everyone’s Business!