Off the court with Sarah Slattery and Danielle Trowell


Recently two local umpires Sarah Slattery and Danielle Trowell were selected into Netball Australia’s Emerging Talent Umpires Program.

The Emerging Talent Umpire Program is the first tier on the national High Performance Umpire Pathway, focusing on the development of Australia’s emerging high performance umpires by enabling them to undertake professional development and identified training activities under the guidance.

We sit down with Danielle and Sarah to get know them off the court and hear about their umpiring journey.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in umpiring?

DT: I grew up in Melbourne and moved to Canberra at the beginning of 2016 for work/study reasons. I began playing netball when I was seven at Waverley Netball Association in Victoria. When I was 14 there were a couple of hours between my older sister’s game and mine, so I took up umpiring to fill the time and earn some extra pocket money. I continued umpiring Saturday’s for a few years, earning my C-badge and B-badge at my local competition. From here I was invited to umpire State League, and I was awarded my A-badge at the age of 17. Following this, I have been presented with great opportunities to umpire at International Schoolgirls, National Championships, ANL and Nations Cup.

SS: I began umpiring as a way to give back to the sport and make a bit of pocket money. From there I began to like the challenges of umpiring and am now at a spot where umpiring is a passion of mine.


You recently have been announced in Netball Australia’s Emerging Umpires Program, can you tell us what is involved in the program?

DT: This program helps facilitate our development into national High Performance Umpires. This program involves us undertaking professional development, such as completing Individual Development Plans, and taking part in education sessions on useful topics like performance psychology and self-assessment. We also have great access to support from Netball Australia, and umpiring mentors and coaches at both a State and National level. As part of this program we umpire the National Championships, ANL and attend a camp held annually at the AIS.

SS: The program has all the bells and whistles! The program offers a range of exciting opportunities that aim to help emerging umpires reach their AA and umpire the premier league of Australian netball. These opportunities include coaching from experienced coaches at national appointments, ANL games and umpiring camps.


What does your fitness training involve?

DT: Outside of umpiring, I am a distance runner and this provides me with the high level of fitness I need to umpire. This training involves a mixture of interval training, tempo running and long-continuous jogs. During the netball season, I incorporate more stretching and drills into my training too.

SS: Fitness training involves high speed intermittent training, to assist in the short sharp sprints umpires frequently make. There is also a large aerobic component to ensure our fitness will last an entire game.


What has been your biggest highlight while umpiring?

DT: In September 2016 I was lucky enough to be selected to umpire at the Nations Cup in Singapore. There was a particular game where myself and my co-umpire (fellow Aussie Georgina Sulley-Beales) came off court and were met with a clap from our mentors after a fantastic game. It will be a hard feeling to top.

SS: My biggest highlight while umpiring has to be narrowed down to two highlights (from many!). The first, my first international trip representing netball Australia to umpire in Bangkok and my second highlight is umpiring two national finals in a row.


What are the next steps in your umpiring career?

DT: Over the next year I hope to continue working on the feedback I received during the 2016-2017 season, on my journey towards my AA badge.

SS: My next goal is to reach my AA. I will need to work hard to reach this but I’m ready for the challenge!


What advice would you give to someone keen to get involved in umpiring?

DT: I would encourage anyone to give it go, and to try and find someone with more experience to help mentor you. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my mentors who have been by my side from my first game.

SS: My advice would be to listen to the advice from coaches, chose what you think will improve your game, and try make those changes. You may find at times the changes are hard to make, but you need to push through, sometimes you need to go back before you can go forward.


We thanks both Sarah and Danielle for their time, and we look forward in following you both through the program.