Training plan and materials for umpires

By Shane Hill

An important part of an umpire’s preparation is a good fitness regime. Along with proper nutrition, hydration, well structured exercise will help to ensure you are able to maintain position throughout the match. Three levels of aerobic and anaerobic exercise are described below.

Typically, you will want to try a mix of these exercises at your level. Combining the right aerobic drills to build up your stamina with one or two of the anaerobic drills to increase your peak performance, you will be able to gradually improve your fitness over the course of a season. As your level increases, try balancing exercises from the differing levels to provide you with some recovery time. Shortening the rest interval between periods of effort is also a good way of maximising your heart rate and your resulting fitness.

It is important not to push yourself too hard through these and if you experience pain, apply the RICE principle and seek treatment from your physio.

There is also a sample training plan for an hour-long training for a group. Though you will notice that it focuses on Field Boundary and Goal umpires, there is no reason that an umpire or umpire’s group can’t integrate this plan with a club’s forwards, centres and backs training.

You will want to vary this plan throughout each session and from week to week. Always commence and end a session with some very light exercise, to prepare the body for exertion and relax it back to rest. Your warm up and cool down periods are critical to avoid serious injury, along with good hydration during and after the session. Importantly, encourage those you are training with. There’s nothing better for developing team camaraderie than good talk during periods of anaerobic effort. Running all the way to the line and not cutting corners in these parts of the session will pay dividends on match day.

Eat a substantial late lunch around 2pm and be mindful of eating anything too heavy between then and your training session to get the maximum effectiveness from your training session.

If you have further questions about these training materials or would like to suggest your own, please contact the Umpires Development Manager for AFL Europe via

Training Session Template

Beginner – combined Aerobic and Anaeorbic Sessions

Intermediate – combined Aerobic and Anaeorbic Sessions

Advanced – combined Aerobic and Anaeorbic Sessions