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kstrunk

Watching umpires while I watch my son

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1 hour ago, th3 said:

why not change into your pants at home or at work?

My pants would look pretty awful after sitting in a car for 45 minutes. 

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10 hours ago, th3 said:

why not change into your pants at home or at work?

Due to time constraints, that's not always possible.  I go straight from work to car to ball field.

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11 hours ago, th3 said:

why not change into your pants at home or at work?

I've done it one time... I was going to work the bases and as I'm sitting there, my partner calls me... flat tire is going to make him arrive less than 5 minutes before the game... I had to change anyway. 

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On 5/10/2018 at 11:09 AM, kstrunk said:

Our state does not require mechanics proficiency at all. We are required to attend 6 chapter meetings annually, where mechanics are difficult to teach inside a local hall or restaurant. 

Herein lies a major problem. Umpiring on the level of quality that High Schools expect of us is not a hobby. We’re not doing Radio Controlled airplanes or model railroads. We’re not historical re-enactors. This isn’t a social club, like the Rotary or the Kiwanis. While we do need organization, we certainly do not need the time-sucking machinations of organizational administration, ie. the election of officers, the formalities of parliamentary procedure, etc.

Then there are the invariable pitfalls of any group of guys getting together with no training curriculum – it just breaks down into discussions of one-off situations and war stories, while very little actual training occurs.

Often, these meetings are contextually wrong. The entire environment and presentation is reduced to sitting around, listening to some guy drone on and on, reading and reciting a poorly done (as in, waaaay too wordy) PowerPoint slide series. Any illustrations are difficult to decipher, or far too vague, and any photos used often dilute or distract from the intended purpose – they’re too far off the point of the message, or they’re of MLB (or NCAA) situations, for which there’s always that guy in the group who will look up that photo source and proclaim how that situation went so much different than what the prescribed situation calls for.

Umpiring of baseball is a physical activity – we are physically moving ourselves into a position to (pause) read and react to other observed physical activity. Mechanics, rotations and signals are physical – just reading and reciting them ain’t gonna make ‘em stick, guys!

So, do we need conventional chapter and association meetings? Does it matter how many meetings you attended, or how many years you’ve been part of the group? No. We need there to be a training structure installed, where motivated members not only integrate best practices into their umpiring skill set, but also are evaluated on proficiency.

I don’t care if you’re 50 or 25, 60 or 30, if you’ve been in the group for 20 years or are brand-new (to the group), if you can’t (or worse, refuse to) demonstrate that you are capable of being proficient in X situation, then you shouldn’t be in that situation

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Maybe the PIAA should require that chapter meetings include a practical demonstration component, where officials will show how certain aspects of baseball (or other sports) mechanics work. If a meeting is scheduled for 2 hours, then 1 hour must be mechanics/applied rule practice. Then, chapters could get together with schools/rec centers and work in a gym or dance studio (a larger space) to be able to actually practice mechanics.

A sample meeting structure could go like this:

A. Introduction of the Presenter and Topic (~ 2 minutes)

B. Relevant rules and situations (40 minutes)

C. Relevant signals and group assignment (10 minutes)

D. Move to practice space (dance studio/gym)

E. Practice relevant mechanics (2-man situations early in the season for baseball, for later meetings 3-man (or other playoff-specific mechanics)) (1 hour)

In this way, newer umpires gain some practical experience, and veterans stay up to speed on proper mechanics. Of course, this should be supplemented by preseason mechanics clinics (MAC provides those for 1st and 2nd year umpires), cage sessions, evaluation and feedback on one's games, and attendance at camps in the offseason. But a structure like this would be a step in the right direction for training.

 

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