Share this article

Meet Netball South Africa umpire, Jana Maritz. She was born in Otjiwarongo, a small town in the north of Namibia, but moved to South Africa when she had to go to school. After attending school in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, she furthered her studies at the University of Pretoria. She’s been umpiring for 12 years (this year) and got her first grading when she was 15. She currently holds a Netball South Africa B+ grade.

How did your netball journey begin?
I love sport. All kinds of sport. I started playing netball in Grade 1, together with hockey, tennis, and everything else. Netball just stuck.

How did you get into umpiring?
As a player, I usually got very frustrated with the umpires. In Grade 9 I decided to try it myself. I asked my teachers how to become an umpire. I borrowed my coach’s rule book and later that year I wrote Level 1 & 2 and got my first grading.

Which tournaments have you umpired at so far and which one’s are your favourite and memorable moments?

  • SA Junior Championships 2019
  • SPAR Senior Championships 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021
  • SA Males Championships 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
  • Varsity Netball 2021
  • Telkom Netball League 2020, 2021, 2022

I won’t say I have a favourite moment. Every Telkom Netball League I have participated in, I truly treasure. A definite highlight for me was the Varsity Netball last year, the atmosphere is just different there. It was a very special tournament for me.

The most difficult part about being an umpire?
I think umpires is a species of their own. Unlike netball, which is a team sport, umpiring is an individual sport. You must find motivation, discipline, energy, drive, courage from within yourself. You don’t have a team to psych you up or to share disappointment with. You have to absorb it all on your own and then reboot and try again. It is tough.

Your favourite part about being an umpire?
It is a never-ending journey of self-improvement. You will never get it perfect, but I love the challenge!

What are your thoughts about the TNL as a tournament?
TNL is the top tournament in the country. It is a wonderful platform provided by Netball SA to learn, grow and push your own limits.

What advice can you share as an umpire?
Be brave. Start early.
The most important however, know the Rulebook. Without that, you have nothing. If you umpire based on what people say the rules are, you will fail. Go and study the Rule Book.