HAVE YOU A ROUTINE?

Whilst life, in general, offers up the unexpected, and that is what makes it interesting, it would be fair to say that most of us go through  life, following routines.

MORNING ROUTINE: Wake up, follow the same daily pattern, rise at the same time, do our ablutions, eat/drink breakfast, leave the house at a certain time, drive, catch a train/bus.

WORK: We arrive, tea/coffee, switch on computer, deal with emails, and so on.

We get disorientated if our daily routine is upset in any way, the bus is late, the traffic is horrendous, the coffee machine has stopped working.

It takes a while to recuperate and continue with our daily tasks.

UMPIRING IS NO DIFFERENT.

We can separate the art of umpiring into two halves: the things we do in a repetitive manner every time we take the field (routines) and the unexpected/one-off occurrences that we have to judge (umpiring/adjudicating)

It is how we conduct ourselves in the routines that will help us deal with the umpiring/adjudicating, in a more calm and effective manner.

The following is a list of routines that most umpires follow (either consciously or more probably sub-consciously) during a game. Why are these routines so important? Well, should things start to go wrong, or you feel you are not performing to your best, then these routines are a safety net you can fall back on. Once the routine is back on track, then you can deal efficiently with umpiring.

On the morning of the match set yourself a routine, depending on the time of the match

Ensure you have eaten well. There is no benefit to you to get to an event either hungry or thirsty—this can cause your body and mind to malfunction, maybe not immediately, but certainly after a few overs. Have a match-day breakfast, which may be different from your normal workday one.

Give yourself plenty of time to get to the ground in order to give yourself time to carry out your pre-match duties without rushing things, even if you know the route well and the exact time it takes you to get there. It can be surprising how many road works spring up on the day, and you might be a little late leaving home. The idea is that you should arrive in plenty of time to settle down and focus on the match. If you arrive all flustered and with your mind racing, you will not be in the right frame to umpire.

Pre-match routine

  • Always walk the ground. No matter how well you know the ground—it is part of your routine to walk round and see if anything has changed since your last visit. This walk can be on your own, but preferably with your colleague.
  • Meet your colleague and undertake the walk again, discussing matters of importance whilst doing so.
  • Meet the groundsman and find out if he is going to be around all day, If he is not, then determine what the procedure will be if it rains.
  • Get changed and ensure you have all necessary equipment for the match. Have a checklist, as an aid to remember.
  • Meet the captains and discuss essential matters. These may vary from match to match, but never take it for granted that they know the regulations.
  • Obtain the match balls and spares.
  • Get match cards and ascertain any under age players.
  • Ring the bell or tell the players you are taking the field.

5 Minute routine

The following routines should be followed every game, if not, then you will forget something.

  1. As the follow you out, give them the match ball.
  2. Put the bails on and align wicket
  3. Check/align colleagues wicket
  4. Give the bowler a marker, collect sweater and ascertain his action
  5. Advise batsman of bowlers action
  6. Organise movement of sightscreens, to reduce time wasting later
  7. Count fielders
  8. Ensure batsmen are ready
  9. Ensure fielders are ready
  10. Ensure scorers are ready
  11. Ensure colleague is ready
  12. CALL PLAY
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