In Netball the ball has to be passed at least every three seconds. This results in the ball being passed (at an absolute minimum) 1,200 times a match.

Every time a player catches the ball, an umpire has to check seven things involving the player with the ball and their opponent (footwork, contact, how they got the ball, obstruction, offside etc.).

Almost simultaneously, the umpire has to look down the court and check other players are in their correct areas and are not blocking each other in their attempts to move. This could involve scanning 10 different players, while keeping one eye on the player with the ball and their opponent.

So that’s seven things, involving the player with the ball, plus potentially another 10 players to watch, each with three actions involved (contact, obstruction and offside).

That’s 38 different actions to watch for per pass, including the held ball rule. 38 times 1,200 passes equals 45,600 decisions umpires make per match. Even if that figure is split between the two umpires, that’s still 22,800 decisions each.

22,800 decisions a match! And that’s assuming players take the maximum three seconds to pass the ball. The real figure is probably much higher.

We need to respect our umpires! They are the ones out there giving it a go. And as the saying goes no umpire, no game. So next time you go to yell at an umpire or say something bad about them have a think of this and just think about it you were in their shoes.


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