New high performance umpiring initiative

This year, Netball Victoria has implemented a new high performance umpiring initiative, the Targeted Umpire Program (TUP). The TUP provides four Bupa Victorian Netball League B Grade Umpires with one-on-one coaching and mentoring from Suncorp Super Netball umpire, Marc Henning. The program is designed to assist each umpire in developing and improving their umpiring techniques, decision-making and self-assessment skills that will help them to achieve an A Grade Badge.


Netball Victoria’s High-Performance Umpire Development Coordinator, Cathy Gallop has overseen the introduction of the program.


“Netball Victoria is excited to be delivering a quality program to develop our high performance umpires skillset to progress along the pathway under the guidance of All Australian umpire Marc Henning.”


In its inaugural year, Madeline O’Nial was selected into the Targeted Umpire Program having shown the dedication and capability across previous VNL seasons to progress to the next badge level in the Netball Australia Umpiring Pathway.


Maddie, who has been umpiring since 2007, currently holds her B badge. After a lifelong involvement in netball, Maddie began umpiring at fourteen years old.


B Badge allows her to umpire at state, underage nationals and Netball Victoria events whilst the A badge allows her to umpire at national events such as Deakin University Australian Netball League, and reserve for the Suncorp Super Netball.


Her talent was quickly noticed during her involvement in the regional state netball leagues in Bendigo and Shepparton. Within two years, she was attending state league trainings.


Completely dedicated to the game, Maddie was regularly commuting from Echuca to Melbourne to continue her umpiring training.


After umpiring for over ten years and moving permanently to Melbourne, Maddie has been awarded further opportunities to advance her umpiring career. Her favourite moment was attending the 2016 National Netball Championships to umpire the 17/U and 19/U games.


Maddie said that ”it was a bit of a shock to get the offer, but it was a really good and exciting experience”.


Attending Nationals again is certainly an aspiration for the star umpire, in addition to receiving her A badge.


In the meantime, Maddie is umpiring each round of the Bupa Victorian Netball League. She is working to improve in each game she is involved in, with the intention of umpiring finals more frequently. While simultaneously working as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at a private radiology practice, Maddie sees umpiring at the Bupa VNL each week as an additional highlight for her career.


”It is clear to me that Maddie can make some really good umpiring decisions in isolation. Through the TUP, Maddie and I are working together to strengthen the quality of her decision making to firstly become more consistent within a quarter and then an entire game. Currently, our focus areas are setting clear expectations on player contests and judgement of interference, and also enhancing her application of advantage,”said Marc Henning.


For those unsure on whether they should consider umpiring, Maddie advises that you go for it. She finds that umpiring is a fantastic way to stay involved in netball, especially if you are unable to participate as a player.


Maddie progressed through Netball Victoria’s Umpiring Pathway. If you would like to learn more about this program, head to the Netball Victoria website.