Local gets international umpire recognition

2015-07-29 06:00
                                          ??PHOTO: supplied
Pietermaritzburg’s Lyndal ‘Binks’ Robertson has been recognised as an international umpire by the International Hockey Federation.

??PHOTO: supplied Pietermaritzburg’s Lyndal ‘Binks’ Robertson has been recognised as an international umpire by the International Hockey Federation.

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PIETERMARITZBURG’S Lyndal “Binks” Robertson has been recognised as an international umpire by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

“It has been a 10-year process for me.”

The biggest obstacle Robertson faced in receiving the international grading from the FIH was a lack of international hockey in South Africa, and it was only last year, when she travelled to Zimbabwe to umpire in the African Club Championships, that the FIH took full cognisance of her.

There might be a wait of another few years to truly get a chance at regular international matches, Robertson admitted, as fellow South African Michelle Joubert is on the world panel, and is therefore likely to umpire at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Currently there are six FIH umpires in South Africa and, although the country features largely amateur teams at international playing level, it has consistently produced some of the world’s best whistle-blowers.

There is a good reason for that, Robertson said.

“We have been mentored by the best, like Jean Buchanan and Marelize de Klerk. They have given back to us and have taught us what we need to do to develop our sport and our people. They have been great mentors to the squad of us, who are at that next level of international umpiring.”

For Robertson umpiring is about giving back.

“I enjoy it because it is a different way of giving back to the sport,” she explained.

“The preparation is completely different. I have been travelling the country, making friends around the country. I look at the next level of umpiring and they’re making friends all over the world. Umpiring is my ticket to travel. It will get me places and exposed to different levels of hockey.”

She recently resigned from her position as head of sport at The Wykeham Collegiate to start the B2B (Back to Basics) Hockey Academy because she saw a need to fill a gap that exists in the sport in Pietermaritzburg and surrounds.

Robertson said teachers, especially at primary school level, do not have the time to properly teach young players the skills they need to learn - they need to first learn those skills themselves.

“I can help develop those teachers, so they can then do their drills and understand what they are looking out for.”

The academy operates with Howick as its northern base, Wykeham serving the central area­, and Epworth the south. Robertson is also aiming to expand her teaching to Kokstad and Greytown.

She is also excited about introducing neuroplasticity, in conjunction with First Place Institute, to her academy.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s capacity to readapt itself by processing the same information or task in a different way. That’s achieved by creating new neurons and new pathways between them, and physical and mental training are two ways to generate new neurons and pathways. This means that the improvement of individuals can be measured during and after training. Neuroplasticity can then help maximise the mental and physical skills of people

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