Developing Our Members 2 of 4

2. Umpiring

At Stone Hockey Club, we’re here to help you develop your umpiring skills, explain some of the formalities about umpiring, and provide further learning resource.

At SHC we encourage anyone and everyone to practice umpiring because every game of hockey requires two umpires and the more competent the umpire the more enjoyable each game should be.

This information is suitable for everyone; players, coaches, parents, juniors and seniors alike, some of whom might simply want to obtain a better understanding of the rules of hockey or perhaps to start umpiring. Whatever the motivation - you can start to get involved right here!

Everyone has to start somewhere and what we are trying to do is to encourage anyone who wishes to participate. For this reason, we will concentrate on the various groups of people within SHC and consider how we can assist with your progression through the umpiring ladder in order that you can participate at whatever level you choose.

Is Umpiring right for me?

The key groups of people associated with SHC are;

1. Senior Players – generally Over 18’s but some Over 16’s are already very competent and understand the rules of hockey very well;

2. Junior Players – those very young players are only just beginning to learn whilst some older Juniors already have a good grasp of the rules;

3. Parents – many parents take an active interest in their children’s sporting development and some have a good understanding of the rules of hockey (current and ex-players) whilst other parents have a different understanding by watching games and discussing the rules with their children or whilst standing on the side lines.

Whichever broad group you might belong to, there will inevitably be a difference in knowledge and possibly confidence but we have tried to create a simple umpire pathway to access the system to suit you. You will need to decide where you might fit into the system then we can assist you to progress.

Where do I fit in?

Although England Hockey's Umpire Development Pathway indicates 6 levels of Umpire Category right up to National Level, the vast majority of SHC members will find themselves within one of the following categories;

Category 1- Club Umpire (Introductory)
Category 2 - Club Umpire (Unassessed)
Category 3 - Club Umpire (Assessed)

(DID YOU KNOW? - 86% of all hockey games played in England are umpired by someone in one of the above 3 categories!!)

5 typical stages of umpire development most people can relate to;


  • Stage 1 - Ideally the umpire pathway will involve a first stage of reading the rules (yes, the whole rule book please as you need to know all the rules not just some of them!) followed by an informal discussion about the interpretation of any rules which are not quite clear. Having said that a basic knowledge of the fundamental rules should enable you to umpire very junior games.
  • Stage 2 - Observing a couple of games and watching experienced umpires is always helpful, especially in the company of another umpire so you can discuss decision making whilst watching the game.
  • Stage 3 - Experience some umpiring first-hand either just before or even after taking the Level 1 course before undertaking some umpiring prior to the assessment. Ideally an umpire mentor should be with you just to answer questions and to help.


  • Stage 4 - Competence - When you are ready to be formally assessed, James Woods will recommend that you undertake an appropriate level match when you will be assessed by an independent umpire to 'qualify' to umpire league games.

It is worth noting that the majority of umpires in the country remain at this level, and without whom there would be very few games of hockey played most weekends! For which we thank you very much.


  • Stage 5 - When you have been formally assessed and passed, you are then eligible to umpire all Club League Games and help the playing membership of the Club to enjoy their hockey.

Should anyone wish to progress further, please contact James Woods (Umpire Co-ordinator)


EH Umpire Development Pathway