Tag Archives: voice

Game Management: Techniques (Voice)


When delivering any terminology, a voice that is calm, non-confrontational but firm is key.

Confidence in your decision making will serve to reinforce to players that you are making sound judgements. If your voice is quiet and indecisive, players can often lose confidence. If you do not believe what you are blowing, how will anybody else?

A change in voice tone or volume can also make players aware that you will not tolerate a particular action. Changing the tone of your voice or the order you deliver the terminology sequence or using pauses can make all the difference.

For example. ‘Wing Defence (pause) – Contact – Penalty Pass’.

By saying the playing position first (i.e. reshuffling your terminology sequence), you immediately get the attention of the player. Wait for them to turn and look at you before delivering the rest of your terminology.

However, when umpires are in training they should follow the correct terminology sequence.

For example: ‘Contact – GD – Penalty Pass’

It should be noted that you will often hear Umpires at international matches or on the television not delivering their full terminology – do not copy them!

When you are working your way up through the awards you will need to tick all of the boxes that assessors are looking for.

You can also train your voice – there is a lot of you tube videos that can help you to project your voice:  For example

7# – Informal advice and using your voice

  • Official warning to a player
  • Suspend a player
  • Order a player off

Normally an umpire will work through these strategies in roughly the order indicated unless an offence is serious enough to require a higher level of discipline.

Informal advice

The umpire may, without holding play, informally advise player/s to adjust their play.

  • This would usually apply to an isolated incident or low-level incidents that do not require a caution.
  • This is considered to be ‘effective game management’ not coaching.

Use of voice

Umpires should have a range of expressions they can use to indicate to players they need to change their behaviour.  The important thing is to ensure there are further levels that can be used if players do not respond!

  • Use short, clear instructions; useful phrases are
    • ‘tidy up your Contact’,
    • ‘get your distance right’,
    • ‘wait for the whistle’ (in reference to Breaking).
  • Do not say ‘tidy up’ as this is unclear and does not state what needs to be tidied up.
  • Do not use phrases such as ‘no more Contact’, ‘stop breaking’ – these could be misinterpreted as a caution and what will you do if they do not stop?
  • Varying the tone used and uses of pauses all ads ‘a difference’ that players will note.