In a special ANZAC round post, this week we feature field umpire and field community coach Kyle Coleman. A member of both the Defence Force and our umpiring group, Kyle is the perfect umpire to profile for ANZAC day.
What made you first want to become an umpire?
After numerous injuries from a stint playing Rugby Union, I decided I wanted to get back into AFL and to give back to the game I was brought up on. I decided that I wanted to look at being an umpire and being involved in this way.
What do you do outside of umpiring?
I work for The Australian Army. I have been in the Army since I was 17, and have done 25 years service. I enjoy watching movies, reading and having friends for dinner, and a few quite beers.
You’ve managed to combine your Defence and footy lives with umpiring Defence games. What’s that like?
It’s hard, as sometimes I can be away for weeks, even months, at a time. This can be both here in Australia, overseas or on an operational deployment. It can be hard on the family, as sometimes you have limited and sporadic communication with them. It’s hard because you can miss so much of life here, and they worry when they don’t hear from me. It can be tough because you can’t always call or email. But Defence footy is passionate! When you have service rivalry, it’s like watching a grudge match every match. The players are all fit and they are all willing to put their body on the line for the name of their service, and this is for both the men and the women.
What has been your most memorable moment as an umpire?
Umpiring a Grand Final is always memorable, but umpiring on the Adelaide Oval in a curtain raiser for an AFL game over the ANZAC Day round would have to be one of the most memorable moments in my short umpiring career.
You started off as a field umpire and changed to goal umpiring after an injury. How have you found the change? Do you miss field umpiring?
I always thought goal umpires had it easy and that it couldn’t be that hard. I was sadly mistaken. The mental concentration and technical aspect is a lot harder than most people think. I did miss field umpiring, but after a serious ankle injury where I thought I wouldn’t be able to run again, goal umpiring was the way ahead. I worked hard during the season and the off season and I’m now running pain free and back into field umpiring.
You’re still involved with field umpiring in a community coaching role. What’s involved with that and how do you juggle this with your field umpiring and work commitments?
A lot of preparation during the week and weekends in my own time, getting feedback and talking to other coaches to ensure that I have a plan for that week’s training session. Work can sometime get in the way and as can trying to ensure that I’m also up to date with what is expected of field umpires - it’s a fine line.
What do you do to keep you fit and prepared for the demands of both the Army and umpiring?
I do three compulsory training sessions at work, CrossFit most mornings and runs of an evening. I ensure that I have at least one complete day off a week and I listen to my body. Both Army and umpiring can be demanding on the body, so I have to look after it and keeping fit and eating healthy is the best way.
What advice do you have for any younger umpires?
Believe in yourself; listen to your coaches and other senior umpires. Keep yourself fit, motivated and educated with what is going on in AFL. Don’t over analyse an interpretation or situation, as you will second guess yourself. But above all else have fun; don’t take thing to seriously as it can be all over in a blink of an eye.
Umpires Of the AFLQUA
The AFLQUA represents umpires all over Queensland who officiate in everything from the local community league on a Saturday afternoon, to the AFL.