Umpires using technology to stay up and fit

While much of the world is in trouble while governments and communities are trying to curb the spread of Covid-19, athletes have posted videos and pictures of how they stay physically and mentally fit and healthy and ready to return top-level immediately -Action when the world emerges from the other side of the virus.

The referees also want to stay up to date. Just as the teams are looking for a quick return to action, the referees must be at their physical and mental climax. Here is the discussion interview with New Zealander Kelly Hudson to find out how she copes with the challenges of living in Lockdown.

As a high-level umpire how the virus affects your training?

So far my training has been unimpeded, we have not yet started our hockey season in New Zealand and I have had easy access to my trainer, gym and gym, but as I write this, the New Zealand government has taken strict measures, protocols, closing all non-essential one’s Companies and encouraging people to stay at home in self-isolation. These new government-implemented Covid-19 restrictions bring us here in New Zealand in line with what many of my colleagues have already experienced overseas.

The changes for me will be to keep communicating with my coach in an online forum. We will re-create my sessions so that I can continue my progress in a home gym. nothing special, a bench, a pair of kettlebells/dumbbells, resistance bands, wind trainer racing bike, adjustable horizontal bar. I am lucky enough to have space near me and to have access to hills and areas where I can easily walk and stay isolated, but can also stay safe – this is not easy for everyone. I can also move some of these sessions to a park or the beach (assuming I’m alone) which will be amazing to still go out into the beautiful nature.

My physiotherapist will also be online, and although there are no practical exercises, my treatment is about strengthening other muscles and doing exercises related to identified weaknesses to improve stability, strength, and change of direction to make the transition possible online chat is pretty easy.

Although my training and wellness sessions will be different, I am pleased that my support team remains connected in some way – this is extremely important as we are pretty isolated anyway.

What are you doing and what can others do to stay fit and focused?

I see that there is a man in France who has run a marathon on his 7-meter balcony. This is also motivation, if not really for me, thanks. However, what it proves is that anything is possible with a little imagination. You make a plan and stick to it.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing that has been a core value of mine in the final stages of my career as a referee is that I can only control what I can control. I don’t know if the Olympics will be postponed, what will happen to ProLeague games, or if our local hockey season will ever start this year, but I do know that I can plan the dates I have right now about reaching my own level of fitness, maintaining relationships with my colleagues locally and around the world, and we can do it together.

Short-term pain such as restricted movement and inability to travel is necessary to win in the long term and hopefully contain this virus and save people from pain and suffering.

How are you stay connected with your colleagues?

Yes, we have groups for the Pro League and the Tokyo Olympics, and everyone has close friends in the official community around the world. It was amazing to have such close relationships with people who experience things in a completely different way than you, and yet we are all connected to it. The team of officials is incredibly unique because it is really international. We all know people – our friends – in the most affected areas. It is very sobering when there is a real human connection.

What can you and your fellow umpires do to stay up with the speed of the game?

At the international level, we are very fortunate to have access to CoachLogic, which offers the most international games, certainly, all FIH Hockey Pro League games that we can log in to or make our own copy of and then tag and check. We also have access to referee managers with whom we can discuss things.

There were also some excellent releases of clips by people in our groups that we can view and comment on. Sometimes this happens in smaller informal WhatsApp groups. It’s great to stay up to date and strive to be consistent in our interpretations. It is an area that continues to grow as we become familiar with the technology.

Not everyone needs a flash forum or online portal to watch hockey. FIH.live is a great place to start and there are other online hockey games. You can watch the game and not choose decision making, or watch from a broader perspective of the game and see what you might have done differently if you had re-pirated this match.

You can add a few tricks to your toolkit and prepare them to try when the season starts. Also, contact a senior referee or someone you think is a good mentor. Also, contact younger or new referees and be that person for them. There are many things we can talk about without having to be on a hockey field. We have to stay connected.

Would you like to give message to other umpires in the world?

Stay in touch with your hockey colleagues – I was just talking to a few friends tonight about what the situation is for them right now with restricted movement and when schools close and so on. It will be a challenge to work from home, train in isolation and move online in terms of communication – but we can also have fun with that – I think creativity will emerge in the next few weeks.

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