TEAM SPORTS: Lockyer Valley Netball Associations Lisa Harm. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel.
TEAM SPORTS: Lockyer Valley Netball Associations Lisa Harm. PHOTO: Ali Kuchel.

'It's my turn': From stay at home mum to national umpire

LISA Harm, President of the Lockyer Valley Netball Association, is a "team sport person", and a strong believer in the benefit of team sports for young women.

"I think it is vital. It's such an under-rated support network," Ms Harm said, ahead of International Women's Day on Sunday.

She said when girls come together to form a team, and when they play against a range of other teams, they are exposed to "a whole different environment".

"They realise that you're not always going to get along but you've got to come together and work together."

She said team sport taught young girls that a group would consist of many different personalities but that you can strive collectively towards "a great outcome".

"For teenage girls in particular, high school is a war zone sometimes," she said.

"Team sport teaches them resilience and perseverance which can also be transferred into school and applied to their school work."

Ms Harm - a mother of three to 18-year-old Lachlan; Olivia, 16; and Chloe, 13 - said it was also important for young people to step outside their comfort zone and learn new skills such as umpiring or coaching.

 

Lockyer Valley Netball Association’s Lisa Harm. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL.
Lockyer Valley Netball Association’s Lisa Harm. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL.

 

"This helps them realise that there are other things outside of what's happening in school that are good and positive and that there's a life beyond school."

Ms Harm, who has been president of the association for about eight years, joined the committee as secretary in 2002.

"I joined because the association needed someone and I was there as a player and umpire.

"I was a stay-at-home mum and I thought, 'Yeah, I can fit this into my week.'"

She said her children have all played netball at some point, and her youngest daughter is currently playing in representative, school and senior teams as well as coaching junior teams for the first time.

Ms Harm, who plays socially, umpires at club and regional levels and also for the men's and mixed national competitions every Easter.

"I'm very involved in men's and mixed netball at a state and national level and am closely associated with the Queensland Suns," she said.

"They're getting close to the nationals now and are in peak training season."

She said the umpires also trained hard and took part in umpire practise matches.

"I really like being involved in netball at the higher levels and I saw umpiring as an avenue to experience that.

"I love knowing that when you have good quality umpires within a club or association there's a direct correlation between that and the players becoming stronger and better.

"They know the rules better and can apply them better which is a great benefit to their time on court.

"I love seeing that in an association. Associations that have strong umpires generally have a stronger competition."

She tells her junior umpires to use a strong whistle, a strong voice and strong body language.

"And everything else eventually falls into place. If you look and sound confident they'll believe you. If you sound quiet, they'll see that as opportunity to get away with things and manipulate things.

 

ADVICE: Being confident makes it harder for players to argue, Lockyer Valley Netball Association’s Lisa Harm says. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL.
ADVICE: Being confident makes it harder for players to argue, Lockyer Valley Netball Association’s Lisa Harm says. PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL.

 

"It's definitely helped me learn conflict resolution and I know there's clear pathways in the rules with dealing with bad behaviour.

"I have learnt that the louder someone gets, the calmer I get."

Ms Harm said that if a player was "ranting and raving", she would allow them to say their piece.

"I stand there quietly and then I say, 'Now it's my turn.'

"Dealing with cranky players and the dirty looks they give you helps you - you can't show any fear."

As an umpire, she said she was still part of a team known as the 'white team'.

"We're about creating a culture that there's 'team white' and you support each other."

She said the girls who were learning to become umpires needed to work hard and develop "a bit of a thicker skin" which also taught them resilience.

"The big thing for me is that I couldn't do what I do if it wasn't for the people around me," Ms Harm said.

"I have an amazing committee of women that all have the same goals and desires which is for netball to be a great space for people to learn new skills, have fun and make new friends."

She said she also valued the support of her husband, Phillip, and the close-knit community of the Lockyer Valley.

"Everyone knows everyone and it's still enough of a small country town but close enough to Brisbane and the coast to access those further opportunities."


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