Saturday 29 June 2013 found me, Lesley Paterson, Elaine la Roche and Heather Preston up bright and early and heading out to the Sighthill Campus of Napier University. We were all a little apprehensive, after all, we had all learned to wash a leotard without the colours running, I was fairly proficient at removing mysterious stains from gymnastic whites, and the others could do amazing things with their daughters hair that stayed in place even when the girls turned upside down, but were we ready for a Judges Course?
There were about 12 others on the course - a mixture of gymnasts, coaches and parents, and the course was led by Sue Freeman a highly experienced Judge form Birkenhead Club. Sue quickly reassured us that the course assumed no prior knowledge of trampolining and that no question was too stupid to ask (just as well!). Over the course of Saturday, Sue took us through all the things a Club Judge needs to know, from what constitutes a pike jump, to what deductions to make for a wobbly landing - and even covered what to do if a leotard falls off!
We were all pleasantly surprised at how much we already knew just from helping out at club events. We were given great easy to read handouts, and sent away to prepare for the test on Sunday. Test day brought more nerves, but Sue spent the first part of the day going over all the things we would need for the test and made sure we were all well prepared. The test is not timed, so you can take as long as you need and there was nothing in it that Sue had not covered with us. Everyone on our course passed the written test and we then spent the rest of the day watching videos of routines and learning how to score them. All in all, the course was great fun; everyone there was friendly and supportive, and it was good to learn more about the sport our kids love.
Since doing the course I have been asked to judge twice, once DMT and once Trampolining. It is a bit nerve wracking to start with, but without exception I have found the other judges and the Chair of Panel to be really encouraging and helpful. (and a special mention to Val Donlevy for sharing her magic method for totaling scores quickly!).
It seems to me daft, that we have our coaches judging when they could be out on the floor supporting our children at competitions, and an afternoon judging goes by much faster than an afternoon sat watching! If you are interested in becoming a judge at the Club, watch out for details of the next local course.