England Netball would like to wish International Umpires Jackie Mizon and Kate Stephenson the best of luck as they depart to officiate at the Constellation Cup in New Zealand and Australia. The Constellation Cup is seen as the symbol of the intense rivalry between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns.
Prior to their departure, England Netball caught up with both Jackie and Kate to see what they were expecting from their latest international appointment.
Kate – This will be the first time you have umpired the Constellation Cup, what is your main objective for this tournament? “My main objective for the tournament is to show that I can umpire at a high level consistently and ensure that the best teams in the world can push each other to the limits in a fair contest, in a safe contested manner. It is also good in the lead up to Commonwealth Games.”
Jackie – This will be the 3rd time you have umpired the Constellation Cup, what does it feel like to umpire netball at this level? “There is no doubting the challenge is intense but that’s what makes it so very enjoyable. The opportunity to serve the game at the highest level by putting all your hard work (physical and mental preparation) into practice gives you a very real sense of achievement.”
When asked about her preparation for the Constellation Cup, Kate described her average week consisted of activity every day, often twice, ranging from High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Endurance and Spin sessions and weights. She added: “In the three weeks leading up to a test series I add in Sprint Training twice a week and also ensure I get to bed earlier to get more sleep.”
When asked about how she continues to give the best of herself at this level, Jackie said: “My time, effort and attention to detail whether it be planning everyday life, setting game goals, doing detailed video analysis or completing my fitness training is vital to becoming the best I can be. Learning to do the small things well and asking for advice when I need it prepares me for matches at all levels, and still really enjoy the experience. I evaluate everything I do. I give myself time to think about my areas of development, learn from everything and pay attention to all details as I believe it enables me to be consistent and adaptable for every game I umpire.”
Finally we asked both umpires what the most important item was in their suitcases!?
Kate: “The most important item in my suitcase is my phone because it has all of the pictures of my family on and so all the people who have got me to where I am. Without them I wouldn’t be getting on the plane.”
Jackie: “Home comforts: favourite face wash and moisturiser. Match day related: Great socks! Comfy feet = a happy umpire!”
The Constellation Cup will be played out over four test matches in New Zealand on 5th October (Auckland), 8th October (Christchurch) and in Australia on 11th October (Adelaide) and 14th October (Sydney).