Anyone for tennis: Which umpiring skills transfer to business?

June 30, 2017

As the tennis world’s eyes turn to the All England Lawn Tennis And Croquet Club, Wimbledon, this coming Monday (3 July 2017) we take a look at what the skills of a Lawn Tennis Association Umpires transfer to business. (Credit due to BBC website!)

He who shouts loudest

It turns out that those with the loudest voices and best timing will pass the first stage of the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) training course to become an umpire! As a professional HR company, we would hope that in your workplace, those with the loudest voices are not the only ones listened to!

However, Emily McGuinness, who passed the LTA’s line umpire course in 2014 and is now on their development scheme for star umpires of the future, says that having a loud voice is crucial to being a good umpire. “It is quite unnatural for most people to shout really loudly, so it takes a while to get into the habit of that.”

Shouting aside, here are some aspects of Tennis Umpiring as we approach Wimbledon fortnight which are more acceptable and are good tips to bring to the workplace. Here are four we approve of!

1 Keep your cool

Father Paul Arinze, a Catholic priest from Wisconsin, US, has umpired matches at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, the US Open, and last year’s Olympic Games. When players are angrily questioning a call, he can keep his cool – he specialises in forgiveness…

“I understand how players react in the heat of competition and that they do not mean what they say,” he says. “It is important not to make the situation worse – even if you know you are in the right.”

2 Focus

Umpires need total concentration to track the ball over the course of a match.

“I had not realised how much effort it is to focus for that long, it is different to sitting at your desk working on a computer,” says Ms McGuinness, who also works in marketing for the charity CARE International.

3 Build Trust

Dr Kris Jaeger-Helton, an engineering professor at Northeastern University in Boston in the United States, rose through the ranks to become a chair umpire alongside her studies. She says she tries to build trust with players and students alike.

“One time, when a player arrived at court and said: ‘I’m glad you’re doing my match, you always look out for us,’ I wanted to bring that tone to the classroom as well,” she says. Whether in the classroom or officiating a tennis match, “it is better to conduct the activity rather than to have to be in charge or control it”.

4 Enjoy!

Dr Kris also adds that, although training engineers and chairing tennis matches need to be taken seriously, “sometimes it is okay to lighten up a little. You’ve got to enjoy what you do and let it show in the balance.”


Whether your Wimbledon heroes are of the tennis kind (or the litter-picking kind aka Wombles) if you need a superhero HR team at your service (excuse the pun!) then we are the people to call. Please do get in touch for a free assessment of your needs from training to strategy, retained outsourced services to project work – you name it we’ve seen it, dealt with it and bought the tee-shirt. See below for contact details.

(Extract taken from BBC website article.)

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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