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I had a game last evening where one team really struggled all around. The pitchers were all over the place with pitches. The first inning was a walk fest that ended with the bat around mercy rule. The D didn't record a single out. A different pitcher in the 2nd and 3rd did a little better, actually getting a strike out and 3 outs in the 3rd. It mercifully ended when there was lightning spotted followed by rain which made it unplayable.

The other team was pretty good but I felt like I was playing down to the other team's level (so to speak) and didn't have a very good game myself. I felt like I missed strikes for both teams and just was generally off my game.

My question would be, how do you focus so you can give the teams your best game in this situation?

 

 

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1. These are never easy, so don't be too hard on yourself.

2. Focus on your mechanics.  Even if the game gets sloppy, focus on keeping yourself sharp and your mechanics good.  This helps me...

3. If possible, try to move up and do higher level baseball.  I'm assuming by the bat-around rule this was LL. 

4. Try to have fun out there.  Enjoy the kids and focus on them - because we all know how parents can be, and unfortunately the coaches are parents too at this level.

 

Hope this helps!

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I try to use the fact that this is the most important game to at least one of these players, so he/she deserves my best.

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45 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

Focus on your mechanics.

Keep a thing or two on your "I'd like to try this" list (like a different/adjusted stance, a particular stretch, a tweak to your timing, or working without an indicator or without looking at your indicator).  You know, the kind of things you pick up from this site, things that only other umpires will notice.

Try one of those things in games like this.  You get to work on something new, which keeps you engaged.  And you focus on the new thing, leaving you to trust yourself on the rest of your game, which enhances your comfort and confidence.  Staying engaged and feeling comfortable and confident when you work will make you a better umpire.  And you'll also find out whether to keep that change or cross it off your list.

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I'll echo what @Aging_Arbiter said. What motivates me during sloppy games or blowouts at that level is believing that this game matters A LOT to just ONE  player. The problem is, I don't know which player that is. So I have to act like it matters equally as much to all of them.

I still remember what is was like to wake up in the morning knowing I had a LL game that day and then count the hours that dragged through the school day because I wanted so badly to get to the ballpark. That must still happen to kids these days, right?

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Whether I like it or not, I'm also affected by the level of play, and that's generally because the better the players are, the cleaner the game and the easier it is to make calls. Sloppy games are dreadful for everyone involved, especially with slow, inconsistent pitching and error-prone fielders. I don't ever remember coming off a rotten game thinking I did well. But I've finished really good games feeling great about how I've done.

Just remember to take it one pitch at a time. Do the best you can and don't worry too much about it. It's part of the gig.

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I had a blow out this season where we were 14-0 at the middle of the 1st inning... 
 

Issue was not the pitching... well it was. F1 was throwing batting practice but he was not walking or throwing wild... Not much you can do when a can of corn turns to mush as F8 runs in 10 feet too far...  Just focus on what you can control. Call strikes and hopefully get outs.

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1 hour ago, Mudisfun said:

  Just focus on what you can control. Call strikes and hopefully get outs.

You can only widen the zone so much and get away with it!

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I've been trying to pick one thing I'm lacking in and focus.

I really need to get better at watching the ball all the way into the catcher's glove, so one inning I'll really focus on that. Another inning, I'll work on my timing. 

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I'll echo what these guys have said about trying to find something to work on, be it for the rest of the game, the inning, or the at bat.  Those games aren't easy.  Sometimes I start trying to notice things I have no intention of penalizing for or even saying something about, just to keep myself in the game (uniform violations, "nit picky" balks, etc.).

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I will do what I can to go "back to basics."

Heel-toe, hammer strike, proper use of eyes, etc.

Some times it works. Some times it doesn't. 

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I'd suggest paying particular attention to your timing. I had a few of these types of games in a row then the next week I had what felt like an awful day on the dish. My timing was wayyyyy too quick, not necessarily in my signals but in my decision making on pitches. It got a bit better my next game out but I wish I hadn't let it get that bad. Definitely focus on not making up your mind until the ball is all the way into the glove, it'll save you down the road. 

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Thanks to everyone who replied. I will take your suggestions to heart and refocus my timing, mechanics, etc.

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