26 September 2023

Sports officials to win free training

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Cricket Australia NSW Umpire Claire Polosak was one of 200 people who attended the 2023 ASC Coaching and Officiating Conference on the Gold Coast last month. Photo: Getty Images

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has announced that Australia’s ‘one-million’ community sport officials could soon expect to have world class training and education at no cost.

According to the ASC, umpires and referees are vital to community sport and the implementation of a new education approach would help transform the role of sport officials which it says has largely been unchanged since the General Principles of Officiating course was developed back in 2000.

“Over the last few months, the ASC has been working closely with national sporting organisations to modernise the officiating profession, with the new education and training focused on helping officials build a positive rapport with their participants through creating fun, safe and inclusive environments,” the Chief Executive of the ASC, Kieren Perkins said.

He said a reinvigorated focus on sport officiating will benefit millions of Australians.

“Our dedicated community sport officials, the majority of which are volunteers, play such a critical role that can sometimes be overlooked,” Mr Perkins said

“It’s not just about enforcing the rules of a sport, our umpires and referees are there to engage and educate the participants while ensuring sport is accessible and inclusive for everyone to be involved.”

Director of Coaching and Officiating at the ASC, Cameron Tradell said the sports sector has welcomed the move to modernise community officiating education and is eager to get the ball rolling.

“We have met with 36 sports in the last month including Australian Rules Football, Cricket, Netball and Wheelchair Basketball to gain a deeper understanding on the current officiating landscape,” Mr Tradell said.

“While it was clear that every sport has its unique challenges and needs, there was strong agreement that a new approach to sport officiating has the power to transform the Australian sports sector for the better.”

According to then ASC personnel, the Commission was set up a dedicated working group of sport officials to help drive the implementation of the new officiating approach, ahead of the launch of the new free online Community Officiating Essential Skills course later in 2023.

They said the development of the new officiating education follows the successful launch of the ASC’s modern coaching approach, which has changed the face of community coaching in more than 50 sports since launching 12 months ago.

They said the ASC’s free online Community Coaching Essential Skills course had already been completed by more than 50,000 community coaches with more than 200 staff from 54 sporting organisations coming together a week ago for the 2023 ASC Coaching and Officiating Conference on the Gold Coast and to delve deeper into the current gaps and opportunities in community sport.

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