When hard work pays off


Persistence paid off for umpire, Dean Oliver who is thrilled to have recently received his National B Badge.

Dean Oliver has always been passionate about netball, starting in social and men’s competitions. He was always interested in umpiring and decided this could be a great way to extend himself and his love for the sport.

For some time, Dean had set his sights on a National B Badge in umpiring, but it took hard work to reach this goal. Developing as an umpire over the last seven years, Dean is not someone who achieved the badge on the first, second or even third attempt, but rather the fourth.

With each new attempt Dean kept motivated, listening closely to feedback to understand where there was still more work to do.

“I think I am a good example of patience and persistence and I’d encourage anyone to keeping going if things don’t happen straight away. Some of the best moments I have as an umpire is when something I have been working on finally clicks. It’s pretty exciting when that happens and always makes the hard work worthwhile,” said Dean.

Dean has extended his umpiring talent across the community, providing great opportunities to further develop his skills.

“It’s been important to get involved and give back time to the netball community when and where I can.”

“Umpiring club netball has been great. I have enjoyed the challenge and intensity that the Talent Identification (TID) Squad exposes you to. Umpiring Association Finals has been a fun highlight and I have made it a priority to umpire Indigenous, junior and other netball carnivals and events over the years. Mentoring new and junior umpires has been highly rewarding and my involvement in testing panels helped me get ready for my National B Badge. It’s all important.”

Dean says he has received great support while looking to advance his umpiring, including from members of the 2019 TID panel – who are tasked with identifying those with great potential to move through the umpiring pathway.

“Both Debbie Green and Dave Healey have been extremely supportive and patient in their mentoring of me. Their time, consistent feedback and ongoing encouragement got me over the line. It’s something I have really valued.”

Dean also praises the support he received from, Netball SA Workforce Coordinator – Officiating, Deanna Stainer (who holds a National A Badge herself).

“Deanna Stainer has been instrumental in my development and has an uncanny knack of finding the right development opportunity at exactly the right time.”

Deanna says Deans commitment to learning and improving has always been great to work with.

“Dean has always been an umpire that Netball SA would look to, especially if we had an opportunity to umpire an AMND League or required umpires to assist with association finals. Dean is an individual who commits to his development and really listens to the feedback he is receiving and works very hard to improve,” said Deanna.

“Along the journey to achieving his National B Badge, Dean would assist Netball SA in mentoring and testing across Netball SA programs including the Coloured Shirt Program and assisting at Priceline Pharmacy Country Championships.”

Deanna says the developing as an umpire takes time to do well.

“Patience, listening and accepting are all key tools that will assist any umpire on their journey.”

“Improving areas such as positioning, vision or timing does not happen overnight, and can take considerable time. That being said, it is integral that you listen and accept the feedback that your mentor or umpire coach is providing you. Ask as many questions as you can think of when you have access to a mentor or umpire coach. The more information you can arm yourself with around the key areas identified for improvement, the more this will assist you in developing those areas.”

“You only get the result of what you put in. If you wish to progress along the pathway, you need to commit to a dedicated plan to assist with your development. This may mean participating in a Netball SA Umpire Development Program or working with your local mentor on association matches. If you don’t put in the hard yards and work on the identified areas, then improvement won’t occur.”

“Dean was invited to participate in the 2019 Adelaide Umpiring Academy Program, and as a result of his on-court performance in that program, he was consequently invited into the 2019 TID Umpiring Squad.”

The Netball SA Academy Program works with six umpires holding National C Badges that have been identified to progress to a National B Badge. The umpires in the program attend four sessions in alignment with the region’s academy program. The focus is on developing participants theoretical and practical skills to provide a solid foundation to assist in progressing to a National B Badge.

Despite having just achieved this long-term goal, Dean has still committed to developing further as an umpire.

“Obtaining a National B Badge is a great personal achievement, but it doesn’t end there. Having access to development pathways, good and consistent mentoring and regular feedback has been important in keeping me focused and on track. From here, I want to further improve my skills and consistency and I would love to umpire at the Premier League level at a point in the future. This will take more work and good mentoring and I hope I get to achieve this goal.”

This year 21 National B Badges have been awarded compared to 11 last year, representing a strong increase. Success this year has been in part attributed to a significant review of the TID and Academy Program. Netball SA is proud to see positive results in this area and look forward to seeing this continue into the future.