ITF Scotland Umpires Course – 19 March 2016

IMG_7814It’s just over a month since ITF Scotland hosted a full weekend of training for its member’s that included an Instructor’s Course, First Aid Training, Child Protection and PVG. Not wanting to let the grass grow under our feet we’ve added to that with our newly revised Umpires Course.


The ITF Scotland Tournament & Umpire Committee held a meeting on the 16th of January to discuss the future of the ITF Scottish Championships, primarily the scope and profile of the competition. It was decided that the championships needed to be opened up in the hope that over the coming years it will build to be one of the biggest competitions within the UK, with competitors from all across Europe. We have big plans for our national championships and in order to bring these to fruition some changes need to be made in the running of the event, the main stay of which would be the calibre of the Umpires in attendance.

Over the last couple of months the ITF Scotland Umpire Committee have been working hard on a programme that will see all Scottish Umpires attain a nationally recognised qualification. A level 3,2 or 1 depending on age, degree and experience (more about that later). This modular course is now complete and ready to be rolled out.


Umpires Course

The course took place at the GMAC Gym in Livingston with registration starting promptly at 8.45am. Master Gordon Wallace 8th Degree opened the days proceedings by introducing the ITF Scotland Umpire Committee to all those in attendance, the committee consisting of himself includes; Master David McNairn 7th Degree, Mr Mark Boydell 5th Degree and Mr Ronnie Dewhurst 4th Degree.

The day was divided into several parts that included both theory and practical elements.

Master Wallace started the day with an introduction to the National Championship’s and the updated umpire rules. He then went on to outline the duties and responsibilities of all Umpires and Officials before explaining the new ITFS Scotland Umpire Qualification Process.

Although the course was open to red belts and above starting at 14 years, the end game is to have nationally recognised full time Umpires. The course is modular in its design and qualification’s can only be attained by umpiring full time at an ITFS recognised tournament. These qualifications, Class 1,2,3 run parallel with the ITF Class A and Class B system. Each grade is acquired dependant on age, rank and the modules carried out during the running of a specified tournament. A qualifying umpire will not be permitted to compete at the competition and must carry out their assigned duties for the full duration of the day’s events*.

Master Wallace finished with Ring Organisation, Process, Admin and Equipment. Spending some time explaining the draw system and how to make late corrections and alterations. There was then a break for lunch.

The afternoon session started with the customary group photo then straight into pattern and pre-arranged free sparring. Master David McNairn took control of these elements explaining in great detail the updated scoring process, highlighting errors and how to make deductions when applicable.

Mr Boydell assisted by Mr Dewhurst stepped in to take next part of the course which covered all duties of the Centre and Corner Referees. Explaining the equipment checks, scoring system, how to start, control and finish sparring in the ring. There was a lot of practical work here with everyone getting on their feet to go thru varying scenarios to test their knowledge of the correct hand signals and terminology.

Back to Master McNairn and yet more practical work, covering ring etiquette, the correct procedure for umpires entering and leaving the ring, posture, demeanour and overall professionalism.

Sadly due to the enthusiasm shown by all taken part on the course and the open forum to ask questions and share knowledge and experience, the day was just not long enough. We had hoped to cover Power Test and Special Technique but these will have to wait for our next Umpires Course. ITF Scotland plan to hold further Umpire Courses each one tailored to different aspects of competition for those umpires wishing to specialize in a specific role, the modules are designed with this in mind. The course finished with a handout of the Umpire & Referee Qualification Module, the recipients will have the opportunity at the forthcoming ITF Scottish Championships to complete these modules and gain their qualifications.

Many Thanks to Master Gordon Wallace for putting together such a concise and thorough qualification process and module pack, also the course structure and PowerPoint display. Special Thanks to Master McNairn, Mr Boydell and Mr Dewhurst for their instruction, also to Tournament Committee Member Mrs Gillian MacIlvaney 5th Degree for being such a gracious host.  Thanks as well to Mrs Jacqui Wallace 3rd Degree and Mr John Munro 4th Degree for helping with the setup and preparation.

*If you would like more information on the Umpire & Referee Qualification Modules then please contact ITF Scotland or attend our next Umpires Course.


Mr Ronnie Dewhurst 4th Degree


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