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USABL UMP327

Called a Bad Game, How to Recover

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So two weeks ago I was behind the plate for a 14U semi-final.  The field had a strange grading where the area behind home plate  sloped downward.  So, the batter was at plate level, the catcher was a few inches below him and the umpire was below the catcher.  I was probably a good 12 inches lower than the batter.  I tried to get my eye level to the letters of the batter like I always do, but I was fully standing to do this on a few of the taller hitters (one kid was massive, maybe a 6' 3" 14 year old and standing (I'm about 5'11") I was a little below the letters).  Needless to say I was extremely uncomfortable fully standing behind the plate.  So, after the first inning, I touch a normal crouch in the slot.  I felt more comfortable, but now pitches that appeared to be belt high were actually knee high and pitches that were knee high were an inch off the ground.  As a result my zone was very low.  I was consistent with it for the game but I knew that I called some low strikes that were probably unhittable.  

So the last two weekends I've done games and I've been overthinking my zone.  We all miss two or three close calls a game, but I'm missing more like 3 or 4 an inning right now.  I can't get out of my own head and with the championships for the spring league coming up this weekend I don't want to be a factor in the title games.  Does anyone have any advice to regain my confidence?  

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WE have ALL been there...........Don't let anyone kid you. The one piece of advice I wont give you is to forget it, that is doesn't matter or you should just move on. Because from your post its clearly bothering you, It matters to you how well you do your job and it needs addressed so you CAN move on....

There is very little you can do about the field conditions. A foot drop in 4-6 feet is dramatic. I can see how it would affect you. You didn't say if you caught any flack from your zone during the game. If you didn't, the results of your efforts to accommodate the situation may not have been noticeable to the participants.  And that's a good job by you.

How to move on......

First question?..............have you been doing too many plates?............if you are the default "plate guy" maybe a break is needed.

If not:

Time to take it one pitch at a time.  Absent a field that has a pothole behind the plate.....focus on your training.........set your stance.....get your zone focus points......and take it one pitch at a time. then one batter at a time. Then one inning at a time. One game at a time........ Build on success....don't try to be perfect, no one is......

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Last summer I had perhaps the worst game I have had in years, ain't that right @Richvee?

Since that game, as @Stan W. has mentioned, I take every pitch on its own. Pre-pitch, I make sure my feet are right, my gig line is properly aligned, my eyes are focused on the pitcher, and I adjust my breathing so that I can exhale on the release of the ball.

Every pitch I find the pitcher's release point, track the ball the whole way, and allow my brain to process whatever may come before I say or do anything. If I miss a pitch, I don't let it bother me. I go get the next one. I realize that I am an amateur umpire just like the players are amateur athletes. Every one involved in every game will make a mistake now and again. Its part of the human condition.

I also have cut back on the number of games I work. No longer am I on the field 10 of 11 days. Its down to maybe 6 out of 11. In fact, today is the first game I am working since May 31. I am really enjoying my games and it makes things so much better.

 

 

 

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Thanks Stan.  That's some great advice and I really appreciate it.  I caught a little flack after calling a few low ones but nothing too bad.  Both coaches did say, after the game, that I was low but very consistent.  I know I was low once I realized that the pitches that were coming at eye level were closer to the knees that the letters.  I didn't want to overadjust in the middle of the game so I just tried to call it like I saw it, and it was low.

Luckily, it didn't matter to much as it ended up being a blowout and my zone didn't have an impact on the game (15-0 mercy after 4).  But, like I said, it has actually affected me more in subsequent games as I'm overthinking my zone too much.  I think I have been doing the plate a bit too often lately.  I usually just take what the assigners give me and lately it's been almost exclusively games behind the plate.  

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Hell, I had a whole season that felt like this a few years back. You just have to fight through it.

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Find somebody to catch for you and go see some pitches in a cage.  Ask a local team if you can work a scrimmage or if you can visit a practice and see pitches during side work or a simulated game.  Look up a local pitching coach and ask if you can see some pitches during lessons.  Whatever you do, though, SEE SOME PITCHES.  It's fantastic for your confidence to see pitches in a low-stress environment.

Then go to your next game, relax, trust yourself, and do a great job.

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Lock in, keep your head in the same place every time, get deep in the slot to see the whole plate, you know where the zone is. 

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On 6/11/2018 at 7:54 AM, USABL UMP327 said:

So two weeks ago I was behind the plate for a 14U semi-final.  The field had a strange grading where the area behind home plate  sloped downward.  So, the batter was at plate level, the catcher was a few inches below him and the umpire was below the catcher.  I was probably a good 12 inches lower than the batter.  I tried to get my eye level to the letters of the batter like I always do, but I was fully standing to do this on a few of the taller hitters (one kid was massive, maybe a 6' 3" 14 year old and standing (I'm about 5'11") I was a little below the letters).  Needless to say I was extremely uncomfortable fully standing behind the plate.  So, after the first inning, I touch a normal crouch in the slot.  I felt more comfortable, but now pitches that appeared to be belt high were actually knee high and pitches that were knee high were an inch off the ground.  As a result my zone was very low.  I was consistent with it for the game but I knew that I called some low strikes that were probably unhittable.  

So the last two weekends I've done games and I've been overthinking my zone.  We all miss two or three close calls a game, but I'm missing more like 3 or 4 an inning right now.  I can't get out of my own head and with the championships for the spring league coming up this weekend I don't want to be a factor in the title games.  Does anyone have any advice to regain my confidence?  

Into the glove and don't suck.  Take a deep breath when you are feeling you are screwing up.  Stop thinking too much.  That can ruin a game for an umpire.

 

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Next game, next big moment, next time you need confidence...tell yourself that you are bigger than the moment, the moment isn’t bigger than you. That may come off as cocky, but it’s not supposed to. Have confidence, know that you can handle it and do a good job. The moment is not too big for you. 

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On ‎6‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 2:05 AM, Hkepuck said:

Next game, next big moment, next time you need confidence...tell yourself that you are bigger than the moment, the moment isn’t bigger than you. That may come off as cocky, but it’s not supposed to. Have confidence, know that you can handle it and do a good job. The moment is not too big for you. 

to use a basketball analogy..............

See the source image

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@Kevin_K is spot on. 

I'll add... simplify each pitch and make everything slow down! Make sure you're ON TIME getting set to see the pitch, make sure you're focused on tracking the ball with your eyes all the way to the catcher's mitt, and do your very best to see the threads on the ball. 

When I kick a pitch, my first instruction to myself is 'forget it', next, 'be on time for THIS pitch, find the ball, track the ball, read the threads, see it hit the catcher's mitt, decide the call, make the call'. 

And indeed, everybody has those games, it's part of the deal. Don't let it mean more than it really does. It's a baseball game, and quite likely nobody died, lost their job, or even one penny because you had a rough game. So don't sweat it too much. If you do, umpiring will cease to be fun for you, and you'll be worse than ever. I'm speaking from experience. 

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