Previously I umpired about 300 games of footy at a local level, including a few TAC cup games. I’ve always been mindful of having pre-conceived ideas and thoughts about certain clubs I umpired. Whether there were blokes in the team that I didn’t like, or I just hated a particular club for their arrogance. I tried to be central to each of these notions.
The thing is, I couldn’t. You simply cannot go into a game umpiring a side who you hate or dislike, and umpire the game fairly. It is psychologically impossible.
Currently I’m studying behaviour and psychology, I keep shaking my head at the way the AFL is run, and the way umpires interpretation the game. No wonder we are currently at a stage where people are giving up watching the game because of being frustrated by rules and umpiring.
The fact there is a rules committee, who change the rules each week depending on their agenda and the AFL’s agenda is the biggest issue with our game. That’s not to say rules shouldn’t be changed. But the fact that rules are being changed and promoted like it’s a new guernsey kit for a club. As in “watch our great AFL game this season, with exciting ALL NEW RULES”. It’s an absolute farce.
Regular Changing of rules is extremely dangerous for the AFL, as it means that umpires over ride their subconscious brain (ie. habit) and start making decisions in the prefrontal cortex. That’s not such an issue, except that it uses a lot of the bodies glycogen stores, and Is energy intensive. When you put the that together with high intensity exercize and then maintaining that over 100 minutes. Decision making overall is going to Be seriously effected. Then it takes along time to get into a new habit. The umpires start to write a new habit into the nerological pathways. Then Rules committee change the rules again.
ALL Around the world in most sports there’s bias in officiating the local team. It’s easy to understand that the brain is effected by threat and reward response. If an umpire is umpiring Adelaide vs st.Kilda at the Adelaide oval. And the umpires are feeling unconsciously threatened by the response from the crowd and getting verbally and physically harassed after the game. They will end up making decisions which takes them out of feeling of being threatened. Consciously they will say “rubbish, I don’t feel threatened and it doesn’t influence my decisions”
It does. We all know it does.
On the other hand there are umpires that thrive and love that particular response from a crowd. Ie. Ray Chamberlain.
In essence the more noise and threatening we are towards umpiring decisions. The better chance we have at gaining the upper hand.
Ps. There are a lot of other factors, that influence also.