It’s great to have AFL back, as I really enjoy being back out on the park. It’s good for everyone
I umpired in the country as a young fella where I grew up. My headmaster recommended it at primary school, as I was small and one year of playing was enough for me. Also the $7.50 payment was all the encouragement I needed! I also did little athletics, so umpiring helped to keep me fit. I started my career in umpiring, in the country league near Warrnambool. Then went onto VFL and was lucky enough to be rookied in 2012. I never looked back from there. The West Coast V Collingwood final in 2018 was a really memorable game for me. The big crowd and it was such a close game.
It was a weird time, as initially I found it really hard to get motivated to train. With no start date in sight, I preferred to spend time with my family which was great. But it felt good to get back into my training once we had a set date. Footy is pretty much the same to the umpire, but now with no spectators, if there are longer breaks between goals, that’s when I really noticed no crowd noise.
Good enjoyable first week – we even had a golf course in the resort before we had to move. We mixed up our umpire training with; beach training, field training and some bike riding. It gave us some really good comradiarrie with the other umpires.
I try to block out all the peripheral noise. I have mentors and coaches, who I take advice from. Everyone is keen to give us advice, so I really only listen to a handful of people whose judgement I trust. In the heat of the battle you can get it very wrong and when you are tired, this may contribute to that. I don’t get caught up in noise and just try to brush it aside. It’s also good to have outside interests to balance out the intensity of AFL umpiring. Like in my full-time job, I am a painter and I find it relaxing, almost like meditation.
I am always very busy from a training perspective. A general week for me will look something like;
Typically I can run an average 16kms a game and perhaps 3km in sprints. I find the last 15mis of last quarters late in games the hardest. I can be really fatigued. I’ve always had issues with this.
With covid the rules have changed and the games are shorter. It’s actually harder for us to drink during the game, so we only really are able to drink during the breaks, which of course throws up another challenge of how to keep your hydration up. In QLD I notice the humidity. I used hydration tabs like Koda. I also started using PREPD and noticed some big benefits. I was able to run throughout the games better, didn’t need to urinate as much, and my recovery is so much better, as I’m not as stiff and sore afterwards. It is really incredible seeing the benefits first-hand.
During my umpiring career I have struggled with cramping, especially late in games. I have tried lots of different products to help with cramps but never found anything that worked or simply tasted great. I was fortunate to come across PREPD during the Covid – 19 shutdown period and experienced a difference in my performance and recovery in and after matches immediately. Not only has the amount of fluid loss during games decreased, my recovery was noticeably quicker post game. I didn’t have that “heavy” feeling in the legs days after my game like I had experienced before. This will become a staple in my preparation for training and games going forward.