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sweeptheleg

First Game this weekend

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I am the father of a 15 yo hs catcher.  This weekend we will venture out together and call our first game as umpires together (11u A in a rec league).  As he is well over half-way through with his playing days, I decided I needed to prepare to do something to fill the void of watching him play and he figured out that being around the sport he loves as a job can be rewarding and pays a teenager pretty well.  My plan is to get my feet wet with the local rec league to make sure I am capable then get involved in a local chapter ASAP, hopefully moving up to more serious games as he goes to college.

We don't have a lot of formal training yet, but have both been avid readers of the site for 4-5 years now.  At this point I'm more worried about mechanics than rules so I'm sure we will get a head scratcher right out of the gate.  He wants the plate off the bat, so I'm happy to let him have it.

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A suggestion: if the local chapter provides training and clinics, consider joining now, rather than wait. It's a small investment of time and money for formal training, but you will be better prepared for dealing with problems in those rec league games. And if you attend clinics, bring your son, even if he is too young to get certified (in PA, you must be 18 or older, I think).

Good luck to you both!

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Ironically, I ALSO am the father of a HS catcher/infielder, and I began umpiring when he was still in LL, simply because there was a need. I've been blessed to advance relatively quickly, so the following is based on experience:

1. If you haven't already, get yourself a mechanics manual. Jim Evans, PBUC (2 man), or CCA (or all of them), you'll be glad if you study it and apply what you learn in practice. 

2. Watch high level (HS, college, pro) umpires live as often as possible. 

3. Keep devouring this site. It's been instrumental in my growth, particularly in knowledge of the rules. 

4. Attend clinics that are put on by advanced umpires. 

5. Be careful of the advice you take. 

6. Have fun and enjoy the game - even while maintaining a professional decorum, you can have fun and appear as if you really want to be there! 

 

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28 minutes ago, kstrunk said:

2. Watch high level (HS, college, pro) umpires live as often as possible. 

I would offer this change to your post. The rest, 100% on. 

Edited to add--- Actually I shouldn't say that..more like  don't watch MLB guys that close. MiLB...yes. A lot to learn from watching them

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2 hours ago, Richvee said:

I would offer this change to your post. The rest, 100% on. 

Edited to add--- Actually I shouldn't say that..more like  don't watch MLB guys that close. MiLB...yes. A lot to learn from watching them

You're right on @Richvee! I'm glad you made that distinction, I should have done so myself. It is what I had in mind, as I've learned a ton from watching guys striving to make it to the show. Thanks again. 

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Where are you located, sweeptheleg? Anywhere close to where kstrunk, richvee and I live, you're not umpiring until some snow melts!

If you do go to local HS games, introduce yourself to the umpires and ask if you can sit in on their pregame.

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Even though he is 15, he is still a youth and can be influenced by adult coaches. I recommend, and do this when working with Junior's...

At plate meeting make sure the coaches know that when they want to talk to him/her about a call, they are 100% allowed. however all 3 of us will get together. Coach and umpire to discuss, me to make sure that the conversation is cordial and on point. We do not allow the coach to try and influence by just being older and more aggressive. Have never had an issue using this method and it keeps everyone on an even keel.

My last game, partner made a 100% correct call (13 y/o umpire) but the coach wanted him to get help. He knew what to say, "my call, good position etc" but under pressure (coach was 100% perfect gentleman actually) my partner did not know what to do. I sent the coach back to his dugout, asked partner what he saw etc and then asked him if he had what he needed to make his call. We discussed what to say and he did, no issue and we moved on. The point is, just because they interface well with you due to familiarity, they may break down a little when pressure is applied. Be ready to support them and step in when this happens.

I have a blast working games with my son, when he has time between his game/practice schedule. Enjoy it!

 

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Thanks for all the advice.  Ever since we knew we were going to do this, I have been focusing on the umpires during my son's HS games.  It's amazing how many things they are doing that I never noticed before.  I would love to sit in on a pre-game...not sure how that would go over if my son was about to be catching in front of them.  We are in Texas and I noticed years ago when attending the local AA games, the umpires hustle, run and are 10X more deliberate than the MLB guys...so that was good advice.  I just need the opportunity to watch them again now that I am trying to learn.

So I would say Saturday went as good as I could have ever hoped.  Son said he wanted the plate and was fine doing plate meeting, so on the drive over we went over the league specific rules for the age group, talked about our hand signals to each other....etc.  He worked back there for a 1.5 hour game...and not one groan from the crowd or coaches the entire time that I heard.  He looked really good and in control I thought.

I had a couple of issues.  Felt really uncomfortable in C.  Couldn't get to where I felt like I wasn't in the way and in a position to see everything at 2B and 3B.  Ended up moving back and forth, from one side of the shortstop to the other....probably not really even ending up in C.  The other thing I did was I wasn't vocal enough.  Had a ball where the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag, but I was about 95% sure he tagged the runner, but i certainly couldn't see it.  Looked home for a second and my son nodded, so I called him out with just my fist.  Coach asked "Are you sure?".  I said,  "pretty sure he tagged him coach".   Definitely will learn a lesson about vocalizing what I see on a close play, not saying "pretty sure"  and learn to let them ask me to get help if they think I need it.

 

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For the B and C position, use this guide. Draw a line extending from home plate through the edge of the dirt circle of the pitcher's mound. Set up on that line, half way between the rubber and 2B. As you said.."pretty sure" isn't something coaches want to hear. Lesson learned. Great job communicating with PU getting the nod for the swipe tag. Great thing there is, coach says "Are you sure" you can say, "yep, got him on the tag". If he asks for you get help you can say "already did".  As you have found out, on pulled foot/swipe tag at first a good verbal call is a great help.

"Yes, he held the bag" as you bang him out.

"Safe! He's off the bag" with appropriate hand motions signaling off the bag after your safe signal.

"Safe! No tag!!!"  on a missed swipe.

May I suggest a copy of "Maximizing the 2 umpire system" by Jim Evans. A little pricey, but worth every penny when learning.

http://www.umpire.org/store/product_info.php?cPath=1_23&products_id=101

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On 3/20/2018 at 12:23 PM, sweeptheleg said:

I am the father of a 15 yo hs catcher.  This weekend we will venture out together and call our first game as umpires together (11u A in a rec league).  As he is well over half-way through with his playing days, I decided I needed to prepare to do something to fill the void of watching him play and he figured out that being around the sport he loves as a job can be rewarding and pays a teenager pretty well.  My plan is to get my feet wet with the local rec league to make sure I am capable then get involved in a local chapter ASAP, hopefully moving up to more serious games as he goes to college.

We don't have a lot of formal training yet, but have both been avid readers of the site for 4-5 years now.  At this point I'm more worried about mechanics than rules so I'm sure we will get a head scratcher right out of the gate.  He wants the plate off the bat, so I'm happy to let him have it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QvfLYcfHyM   This is a very good video for umpires of all levels of experience.  I would also recommend attending a good clinic.  Where do you live?

 

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On 3/20/2018 at 12:33 PM, LRZ said:

A suggestion: if the local chapter provides training and clinics, consider joining now, rather than wait. It's a small investment of time and money for formal training, but you will be better prepared for dealing with problems in those rec league games. And if you attend clinics, bring your son, even if he is too young to get certified (in PA, you must be 18 or older, I think).

Good luck to you both!

Plus, If you attend a good clinic then you will hopefully be trained to do it right from the start. Meaning hopefully you won't develop bad habits because you see somebody else doing it.

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On 3/21/2018 at 11:45 AM, kstrunk said:

Ironically, I ALSO am the father of a HS catcher/infielder, and I began umpiring when he was still in LL, simply because there was a need. I've been blessed to advance relatively quickly, so the following is based on experience:

1. If you haven't already, get yourself a mechanics manual. Jim Evans, PBUC (2 man), or CCA (or all of them), you'll be glad if you study it and apply what you learn in practice. 

2. Watch high level (HS, college, pro) umpires live as often as possible. 

3. Keep devouring this site. It's been instrumental in my growth, particularly in knowledge of the rules. 

4. Attend clinics that are put on by advanced umpires. 

5. Be careful of the advice you take. 

6. Have fun and enjoy the game - even while maintaining a professional decorum, you can have fun and appear as if you really want to be there! 

 

Referring to #2, if there is lower level minor league ball that uses two umpire mechanics watch it.  Those kids are outstanding and still using the tools learned in umpire school and PBUC. I used to love watching them work when I was stationed in Memphis.

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On 3/21/2018 at 12:10 PM, Richvee said:

I would offer this change to your post. The rest, 100% on. 

Edited to add--- Actually I shouldn't say that..more like  don't watch MLB guys that close. MiLB...yes. A lot to learn from watching them

Lower level MILB. A joy to watch them work two man mechanics.

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