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Southern Umpires Camp Summary

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I had a great time at this camp, learned a lot, and met some good people.

Just as with the International Umpires Camp in October the camp is top notch and here’s why.

Each instructor is at the peak of their level. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway Paul Nauert and Ed Rapuano as MLB umpires have made it through "Baseball’s Narrowest Door" and are excellent about wanting to share their knowledge and experience with you. Tripp Gibson is a AA Crew Chief and was one of the top graduates in his class at the Wendelstedt Umpire School. Ken Couch & Steve Manders are both on the SEC & ACC staff and have both worked the College World Series. KC, Jesse and the rest of the staff are all helpful and do a ton of behind-the-scenes work to make it all run smoothly.

The camp is small enough that each instructor got to know everybody by name in just a short time and you get a great deal of one-on-one attention. We actually had 2 young men there who were beginning their umpiring career and this was their first ever umpiring experience. When doing fungo drills Paul Nauert would hit the ball and run to position with one of these guys who was in my group. This was such an encouraging thing for these new umpires to get this unique experience.

I also liked how the instructors were able to judge each umpires experience levels and critique them accordingly. The less experienced guys they would keep things at the fundamentals, the more experienced people they would get more into the detailed feedback. Even the critical feedback you’d get would be positive. “Good job,” “Nice work,” “Atta boy” were flying around the camp everywhere. I’m not going to say this was a love fest because the instructors would also bust your chops in a light-hearted way and we all got our turn at that too.

One thing I want to particularly give all the instructors credit for is their openness to answering questions. They answered every question no matter how basic without scorn, much like here at Umpire-Empire, showing respect to the students.

I go to quite a few professional training seminars for my day job and have had to endure some of the most mind numbing training you can imagine from blowhards who have no passion for their subject. It is a real pleasure to come here where all the instructors’ passion shines through. Passion like they express can not be faked. You feel that passion come through and it is inspiring. A perfect example would be when on Friday when we spent 10-20 minuets with Tripp Gibson & Steve Manders on the field discussing fair and foul balls. On the surface you may think how dull or how do you stretch that out to 10-20 minutes? But their passion came through and kept my attention and made it interesting

The facilities were good as well. The hotel was immediately off the interstate making it easy to find and was close to the fields where we worked. The fields we worked at were fine, even the HS field they warned us wasn’t that great was fine especially for our purposes.

Going hand-in-hand with the facilities was the set up. When Tony Thompson told us we’d be beginning drills at 10:00, we began at 10:00. There was no waiting on instructors or for equipment to be set up. This goes a long way for showing respect to the students, their time and the tuition they paid to be there. Everything rolled along smoothly.

I give the Southern Umpires Camp my highest recommendation. If you are new to umpiring there isn’t a better way to get your feet wet and learn from the best. If you are more experienced you will still gain a wealth of information and pick up valuable tips to fine tune your game. No matter what your level the Southern Umpires Camp will make you a better umpire!

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Thanks for the detailed info. It is very refreshing to hear that these guys are willing to share their knowledge and experiences with guys that are not at their level. Then to read that they truly have a passion and desire to help others speaks volumes about their character. I can not wait to attend the International camp this fall and then the Southern camp next February.

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