Danielle Currey is the officiating development officer at Active Netball. Currently working towards securing her A badge, she is also helping nurture the next batch of umpires in Dubai. We asked her about what it takes to pursue a path in umpiring.
How did you first become involved in umpiring?
I was looking at getting back into netball and joined a team that was playing in the social league. One of the requirements was that we needed to provide an umpire. Instead of looking for an umpire, my best friend, who is also a B badged umpire, encouraged me to join an umpiring course. I approached Susanne from Active Netball and enquired about the next umpire course and enrolled.
It takes a lot of dedication to achieve each umpiring badge. Can you detail the effort you have put in to achieve each qualification.
For my C badge, learning to receive feedback and gain confidence in myself was a challenge. I had to believe in myself and in the calls I would make. I would also self-reflect after each game and give myself two things that I need to work on for the next game.
For the B badge, I needed to really study the rule book. I had to sit a theory exam for two and half hours and obtain a high mark to pass. I also had to complete a beep test of a minimum of 6.1 to be able to go for my final practical assessment. I would get up early in the morning and drive to a quiet road where I had lines marked 20m apart and would practice the beep test at least three times a week. Before my final practical I was lucky enough to umpire at the Desert Championships with A badged umpires from the UK who mentored me in preparation for my final practical assessment.
What do you enjoy most about umpiring?
It depends on the level of competition I’m umpiring. If I’m umpiring a social league, I enjoy seeing the amount of fun those ladies have on court, it can be quite infectious. If I’m umpiring a high-level game, it is enjoyable to see the competitiveness and amazing athletic abilities that some of the players have. I just love the joy that the sport brings and even though I am not playing I still feel I am a part of it.
Can you explain what you do in your role as officiating development officer at Active Netball and how you now help the next group earn their qualifications?
As an Officiating Development Officer, I provide education and training for our future and current umpires. My aim is to have a constant presence on the court to mentor and offer support, because as an umpire you are constantly learning no matter what badge you have obtained. I feel that we need to provide an environment that we encourage our umpires to self-reflect and support each other to make improvements for every time we umpire. We have a great standard of netball here in Dubai and I believe we should also strive for a high standard with our officiating and that can be achieved through education and support.
What’s the best bit about working in a sporting environment?
The best thing about working in a sporting environment is the people who you meet. I have made some great friends as you find like-minded people who are busy but always make time for sport in their week. I feel that working in a sporting environment makes me a good role model for my children as they can see it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can always work hard and achieve your goals.