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MOWI Shinty Hour: Match Officials report

Match Officials meeting report

Match Officials ‘Shinty Hour’. Sponsored by MOWI

Wednesday 6th May. 6.00pm on Microsoft Teams

Fifteen people joined the video meeting and eleven sent their apologies   

Discussion Topics:

Welcome and video conference structure: Graham Cormack (GC) and Lyndsay Bradley (LB) welcomed everyone to the meeting, sponsored by MOWI, and thanked them for their support and time. GC explained the technical set up for Teams and highlighted the purpose of the meeting.

  • Provide support to Match Officials in terms of practical advice and information
  • Gather feedback and share best practice.
  • Look towards establishing regular, localised groups dedicated to Match Officials 

Positive personal stories during lockdown: A number of stories were shared including one where a person was visiting relatives for a couple of days when the ‘Lockdown’ came in to place and they are still there 7 weeks later. They are still getting on well thankfully.???? Others mentioned the Fitness training they were undertaking. GC stressed the importance to Health & Wellbeing and Positive Mental Health of communication, support and physical activity. GC also highlighted that support was available from the CA and outside agencies. 

Positive ‘Why I am a Match Official’ stories: A number of examples were given and all included a commitment to ”giving something back” to the sport. GC highlighted how essential it was that Match Officials were recognised for providing a central support to the sport of Shinty for ‘The right reasons’. 

Positive steps for retention: There was agreement that retention & recruitment were challenging, and the following points were raised:

  • Attitude towards Match Officials by Players, Club Officials & Supporters
  • Interaction between Match Officials and Players & Club Officials.
  • Inconsistency of Match Officials reaction to challenging behaviour
  • Inconsistency in CA Disciplinary system.

There was however a number of examples given of challenges during games but at the end people shaking hands with the Match Officials, apologising for things that were said and giving compliments on a good game. There was an understanding that people are passionate about Shinty and want to do well so the temptation to claim and complain are there. This should be recognised but there also has to be ‘Standards’.

  • Local support/mentoring groups. Discussion around closer communication between Match Officials was very positive. A number of Match Officials do phone each other regularly but with the rise in on-line communication, such as Microsoft Teams, there is now an opportunity for small groups of Match Officials to get together in informal and Formal groups. 

A request for people to volunteer to host groups will be circulated and when collated it will be promoted

  • Area/National Discussion Groups – Video meetings: Following on from the previous discussion it was felt that these groups could feedback thoughts and suggestions for National discussion.
  • National Short Term Working Groups: GC suggested that, again using video technology, Groups could be formed to look at rule and process adjustments. This was accepted and some suggestions were made:

A request for people to volunteer to host groups, who will provide recommendations for National consideration, will be circulated and when collated it will be promoted.

  • RULES: 10 m? Free Hit as an immediate consequence of dissent - Extended advantage time – Sin Bin – Other suggestions.
  • Match Officials Promotion/Understanding: Video clips – Head Camera trial - Rule decision challenge videos – Club training (see below) – other suggestion
  • Match Officials Training: Workshops (on-line?) – Fitness – Video production
  • Other suggestions?  

Positive steps for recruitment

  • Promotion of the actions from 4) above plus
  • Match Official Profile videos – ‘Real Shinty People’

It was felt that Match Officials have to promote themselves more so people can understand them and the challenges they face.

A request for people to volunteer to produce a 30 second personal video including some background – Why you are a Match Official – One challenge you face – one (humorous?) shinty story. These videos would then be collated and promoted by the CA.

  • Match Officials <-> Club training

This would link to the previous discussions. Regular contact (Monthly?) with local club Players and Officials could increase two way understanding.

A request for people to volunteer to establish links with local clubs will be circulated and when collated it will be promoted.

  • Higher profile for Rule decision video clips from games.

 AOCB: GC responded to a question on the potential resumption of Shinty activities by informing the meeting that the CA had a number of potential scenarios drafted but they are, of course, dependant on forthcoming Scottish Government guidelines.

 Actions! A number of the above topics have been discussed at length previously but it was felt that it was time to action the good ideas.

If anyone would like to volunteer to lead or participate in any of the identified groups, or you have any other suggestions, please register with Graham Cormack CA National Development Manager on graham.cormack@shinty.com  Contact details for Lyndsay Bradley the CA Board Match Officials Director are also available from Graham Cormack.

GC & (LB) thanked everyone for their valuable and positive input, wished everyone well and again highlighted the sponsorship of MOWI

The presentation from the evening are available here

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