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Guest Uncle Doak

Getting older vs. getting old

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Guest Uncle Doak

Am now 68, yes I have lost a step but I still love to work games.  What tips, ideas could you "mature"  umpires offer on how to prepare before games and get focused,

 stay sharp.  Am mostly concerned about the mental approach.  Thanks.

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The "mental approach" usually isn't the problem in 68-year-old umpires, especially veteran umpires who know the gig. Did you have an more focal concerns?

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I think that you have told us 2 really great pieces of information:

A. You feel you have lost a step which is great self awareness. B. You still love to call games.

Here are my thoughts and to be honest, they aren't strictly for Senior Umpires.......I think they apply to all of us.

Get an Evaluation- Not from a buddy and not from your regular partner. If you cant get an official evaluator, then make it an Umpire whose skills you recognize and admire. Tell them you want a serious evaluation.  Don't take offense at any recommendations or observations. We all need to know where we fall on the list.

Level of Baseball- After your evaluation, determine the level of baseball you feel the most comfortable calling games and enjoy the most.

You may find that its time to consider stepping down a peg. You may find that the 60/90 field is too large and be more comfortable at the 54/80 level. You may find that JV and Freshman ball is more enjoyable than Varsity or that Recreation league ball is more enjoyable over Travel leagues. There is a happy medium for all of us.

Scheduling- Determine how many games a week is optimal for you to call. Critical to focus is not being overused. You may find your sweet spot is 3-4 games. You may prefer weekdays versus weekends. But being fresh will help greatly in maintaining focus. There was a time when I took any game that was played with a white ball and red stitches. I did too many levels and too many games. Now through the season I prefer to do no more than 3 games a week and none on Sunday. My son plays a DH on Sunday.........I will watch him play over anything.

Travel Boundaries- Set your "games accepted" boundaries. Not facing long road trips and getting home at a decent hour helps.

Rules and Mechanics Study- Some might find this one odd, but a refresher course on rules and mechanics can instill a confidence level that makes you more cognizant of the applicable rules and current methodologies of Umpiring. Umpiring is not a static avocation.  If we aren't continuing to learn, we aren't as effective. Relying on acquired knowledge from decades ago is not enough.  Confidence in rulings gives you confidence on the field. 

I never met an Umpire who wanted to be wrong.....but I've met plenty who don't do enough to prevent it.

(Some of the biggest raps on older umpires is not their physical efforts or experience but that they don't use current mechanics, don't like NFHS rules, use their own rule interpretations etc.,)

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention these last two.

Conditioning- Make sure your body is ready for the season. Preseason conditioning even more important as we age. Stretching before talking the field!. Wear supportive gear. Compression wear and braces help. If your body hurts your focus is less. The days when I could work 8 hours then drive to a game, change on the fly and run straight on the field to chase 16-18 year olds is long gone. 

Hydration- Summer is here.........Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.................the first victim of dehydration is focus.........then you.     

 

Hope this helps.

            

    

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Guest Guest

I work as an Athletic Trainer and one thing I always told my associations (I was a rules interpreter for many years) was about conditioning:  each year an umpire gets older and the kids stay the same age.

I am not able to work due to my job commitments but I know I only had few years left due to my age and orthopedic issues  (knee replacements coning soon).

I would limit the schedule and change the level of play perhaps as mentioned before.

And take more time for yourself (that is just good for anyone).

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One thing that has helped me be able to keep up with these kids (cause they are all "kids" at this point it feels like) is scrapping the pivot while coming into the middle from A.

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2 hours ago, Guest Guest said:

I know I only had few years left due to my age and orthopedic issues  (knee replacements coning soon

Rely on the job "reasoning". I for one (assuming there are probably others out there) have had a knee replacement.  It slowed me down for about 3 months during the off season when I was rehabbing.

 

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@Stan W. has a whole trove of sound advice. To supplement, I’ll add, from the perspective of a trainer, evaluator, and the guy-who-Assigners-count-on-to-work-with-anyone...

  • Let your Assigners know your limits. If you determine that you can only do two games per day, and only one of them can be (scheduled) plate, it will make everyone more at ease going into a set of games than once you get onsite and meet your partner(s). Establish, and reinforce, that if an Assigner needs/wants to use you beyond your limits, they need to ask you well in advance.
  • Recognize the context (level) of baseball you’re about to do, and strive to know the appropriate, current rules thoroughly. One of the most frustrating things for coaches is when an umpire is uncertain about a ruling, or appears to be making it up, and it’s compounded by the age or composure of the umpire. It’s also frustrating when an umpire is not up to speed with recent rules modifications.
  • Angle beats distance every time. Determine – pre-pitch – where you will, or should, go so as to get the angle(s) you’ll need to cohesively read, rule and judge a play.
  • Establish, and reinforce, with your partner(s) that you are an umpire team going into and during a game. There is no hierarchy or seniority crap. Sure, you have differing roles and responsibilities, depending on position, but don’t assume that you have to “pull rank” over the other guy because you’re older; with that said, don’t let the other guy assume that he has to carry you or over-extend himself, or that because he’s younger and more “with it” he’ll have to make all the calls.

Oh, if ya really want to be “with it”, get one or two of the latest shirts, or whatever the “young guys” are wearing. :cool:

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3 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

I always try to remember to pee before the game starts.

And try not to pee on the field during the game.

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3 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

I always try to remember to pee before the game starts.

Weirdest...plate meeting...ever

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32 minutes ago, umpstu said:

And try not to pee on the field during the game.

Every other sport that last more than an hour or so has a break in the middle just so the officials can pee.  Baseball needs one, too.

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On 6/11/2018 at 3:37 PM, noumpere said:

Every other sport that last more than an hour or so has a break in the middle just so the officials can pee.  Baseball needs one, too.

You have time to pee after every half inning.

Where would you pee, you ask?

Depends.

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2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

You have time to pee after every half inning.

Where would you pee, you ask?

Depends.

boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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