The Academy umpires train with the WAFL Senior Squad, but also have specific coaching sessions, focusing on a smooth transition from Community football into the WAFL system, as well as preparing them to join the WAFL Senior Squad.
Similar to the player pathway, umpires are invited to trial for the Academy at the conclusion of the season, following a recommendation from the Metropolitan Umpire Manager and the Umpire Talent Manager, who oversees the Academy program.
During the pre-season trial, the trialing umpires complete fitness testing, attend the pre-season umpires’ camp, and umpire practice matches where they are assessed by the WAFL Match Day coaches.
Following this process, the Academy coach and Umpire Talent Manager, in consultation with the High Performance Umpire Manager, select the umpires who they believe are ready to join the Academy program.
Any umpires who do not make the Academy, go back to Senior Community umpiring, and are given guidance as to the aspects of their umpiring they need to improve in order to progress.
The WAFL Talent Academy program is best compared to the Colts programs at the nine WAFL clubs, with the focus being on the development of their umpiring skills, as well as building a high performance culture into the Academy umpires.
Every WAFL match is assessed by WAFL Match Day Coaches, and the Academy umpires also have access to the vision from their games, to assist in learning from each performance
Academy umpires control WAFL colts matches, with any un-appointed umpires filtering back into Amateur football. Umpires in the Academy are also given the opportunity to umpire Reserves football when their form warrants selection at the higher grade.
The coaching of these umpires is vital to their development, and WAFC Umpiring thanks Academy Coach Graeme Zanich for coaching and developing the umpires in the Academy.
The program has included 19 umpires throughout the 2012 season, with six of these umpiring WAFL Colts for the first time. Five umpires from the program have also umpired WAFL Reserves in 2012
This program provides a great development experience for these umpires, and a chance to enhance their skills whilst progressing along the Umpire Talent Pathway.
We look forward to continuing to develop quality umpires in the Mike Ball Talent Academy.