Barstow's journey starts with Junior World Cup

Dan Barstow Umpire

Dan Barstow was a player who collected cards for back chat from an early age. After an umpteenth spell on the naughty step he decided he should give umpiring a go. He did and he has never looked back.

Years after his epiphany Barstow’s hard work has paid off and he is off to the Junior World Cup. In between playing hockey, coaching Wakefield ladies and being a primary school teacher he has been selected to start on the road to Tokyo 2020. He shared his umpiring journey with us.

“I decided at the end of last year that I could no longer continue to play hockey as there just wasn't enough time to coach Wakefield in the Investec Women’s North Conference and concentrate on my umpiring. Ultimately something had to give. Thankfully I have a really supportive employers and Wakefield HC has an excellent set up so there are always people willing to help here and there when things are difficult.” he adds “I have always been involved in hockey ever since I was a small tot so Saturdays, Sundays and week nights have been a common booking in my calendar during the season. Thankfully I also have a very understanding wife who expects not to see me much between September and April.”

Barstow first started umpiring aged ten. He admits that he was never a “model player” and regularly could be found shouting at umpires telling them what to do. Having decided to put or shut up he progressed quickly into the England Young Umpire programme and then in to the national league set up.

“Along the way I have had countless support both from the Young Umpire programme and the NPUA. Umpiring is full of highs and lows. Although it is a team goal amongst the umpires to achieve the best for the players you also have your own personal goals. When a team fails you can all rally round and support each other but in umpiring it can get quite lonely. Thankfully the support of NPUA has been immense and there are a large number of people always there with advice and support for you.”

Barstow is very excited to be back umpiring internationally. His last big tournament and career highlight was the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where he umpired the final.

“The Junior World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for me. Having missed out over the last two years because of work commitments and a range of injuries my progression has slowed slightly. However the Junior World Cup gives me a fantastic opportunity to get back in the mix and move forward again towards Tokyo. I have a very clear aim and focus for the next four years and this is just the start of the journey.”

“It’ll be very different to the Commonwealth Games. I will be going as one of the more experienced umpires. In Glasgow we had three Olympic and World Cup Umpires so there were a range of people to turn to with advice and support. That will be part of my role in India."  

"There is the different climate and environment in India. It is always a challenge to keep yourself healthy and cope with the cultural differences. Finally U21 tournaments can be very different to senior internationals. The standard is very high but there is still an element of unpredictability about it. Young teams aren't always drilled to the same patterns as full senior internationals which can make it hard to read the game at times.”

We want to wish Dan the best of luck for the Junior World Cup which begins on December 8th in Lucknow. If you are inspired by Dan’s umpiring journey you can find more information how to get into umpiring here.