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Ok guys... all GREAT info! So grateful. Our family is very goal oriented, and I'm training my kids that way, so I too have articulated an umpiring goal, namely, to 1 day be a D-1 umpire. I'm in my 2nd year, and I'm 41, in relatively decent shape, calling JV, Connie Mack, and Junior Legion ball (16U), and getting good feedback from partners/assigners/mentors.

If I follow the advice herein, even at my age, am I likely to achieve my goal? I know there are many variables, including God's providence, but based on your knowledge/experience, have I 'culturally' missed the proverbial boat? Answers will NOT inhibit my pursuit of the goal. 

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I was told getting in to college ball was a matter of Ability

Moving up is a combination of your ability and your Availability. 

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If you're able, but not available, you're not of much help. 

​Mark Ditsworth told everyone at an umpire clinic in February...your best ability is your availability.

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​Exactly.

​Unfortunately, for most of us that have the traditional 8-5, our ability on the diamond is outweighed by our ability to get to the diamond.  

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​Unfortunately, for most of us that have the traditional 8-5, our ability on the diamond is outweighed by our ability to get to the diamond.  

​It is unfortunate, but we agree that it is the reality.  

If you (or anybody) can't make the game times, your ability to umpire simply doesn't matter. 

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I know that this has been my goal when I was younger and since getting back into umpiring last year, so this thread is very helpful.  I already know that I have been recommended to one of the college assigners here and I have already been moving up getting higher level games within my HS association because some of our higher level umpires got a look at me finally.  Positive attitude, looking professional and always trying to learn is a good way to get noticed.  Now I have to work on my fitness because the higher up you go the faster the players are.  Great thread.

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Not to hijack the thread but what about collegiate summer leagues? How does one get into these? I have worked in the TCL since there is a team in Louisiana in that league. What about Cape Cod or any other leagues? I figure that's a good time to network with higher level umpires who are where I want to be. 

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Not to hijack the thread but what about collegiate summer leagues? How does one get into these? I have worked in the TCL since there is a team in Louisiana in that league. What about Cape Cod or any other leagues? I figure that's a good time to network with higher level umpires who are where I want to be. 

Who do you know?

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Who do you know?

LOL Obviously not enough of the right people in my area. I'm looking for more camps to go to for some exposure. I think I'm ready to move up. I may need somebody to confirm it or tell me I'm not. 

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My advice about my method-Camps, clinics, showcases, networking.

I got into college baseball right after my second high school season during my second year of umpiring. Guys who worked college in my high school association asked me if I wanted to move up. They told their assigner about me, SEC/ACC/CWS umpire Jay Asher. He invited me to attend a college camp/clinic that September, Music City Umpires Camp/Clinic, at Austin Peay U conducted by SEC/ACC/CWS umpires Scott Erby and Tony Walsh with others like SEC/ACC/CWS umpire Jeff Head, a guy they called "Onion" (cannot remember his real name but he's the umpire in a YouTube famous vid ejecting an Arkansas batter who fakes a hit by pitch then argues it) and a lot of others. Did okay. Was clueless in 3 man but got a good enough eval to be asked to join SIUA in Kentucky and told to join CBUA. Got about 8 dates of two man NAIA and one JUCO date my first season. Then I went to Tony Thompson's International Camp/Clinic in Atlanta the following September. Met a guy there from the east coast. He worked in Cape Cod League. He hooked me up with CCL assigner Nick Zibelli (not sure who assigns it now.) Tony's camp in my umpire resume and this guy's recommendation were enough for Nick. I was all set to go to the Cape and work 4-5 dates for Nick in summer 2009 but a new job and a divorce got in the way and I didn't get to go to the cape and work.

Since then I've moved to KC area and essentially started over.  Got some college summer ball by being persistent with assigner, working a game with him for free and having connections and recommendations from former college umpiring trainers and partners in KY (one of my assigners in KC was pro umpiring partner with a guy who recommended me from KY--small world umpiring college baseball). Been working my way up here in this area where there are A LOT of great umpires.  Many have pro ball or pro school attendance experience.  I work all I want from D2 to NAIA to JUCO so long as I'm not picky and will travel. I'm a happy camper.  Baseball been bery, bery good to me.

Anyway, that's how I started. Find college umpires where you live and talk with them. Go to camps and clinics. Even if the clinic is not in your area the D1 guys have a very wide network. If you're good they will let their friends and assigners know about you. 

Final advice: when you make it to the next level, don't be a dick to lesser level guys. Help those who ask. Don't criticize those who don't know what to do. Share your knowledge with those who want it and not with those who don't. Don't force your opinions on others. Some guys get it. Some don't. Some never will. Just work your ass off to be the best umpire you can be.  And...have fun. I sure do.

My .02.......

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I belong to a very large HS association and there is one person who literally picked up umpiring after long break and within five years has worked a nearly full D2 schedule with the only breaks being eight varsity games so he is tournament eligible.  He's in his 50s and just went down to Florida for his first time to work the winter collegiate games.  He networked like crazy and went to any camp he could in the Midwest.  He'll be D1 within a couple years and the only thing that sucks is that he won't have that long because of his age and the break he took.

 

But it's absolutely possible to get there without umpire school.  Basically it's network, be available and go to camps.  Of course being a good umpire is a pre-requisite, but if you weren't one now, then you probably wouldn't be asking the question.

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I'm going to bring this thread back to life since we're getting ready for the NCAA meetings and the HUB has opened up again.  Most of the info on here is great stuff!   A few little things I'd like to add.  I'm a D1 umpire.  I have never been to pro school or in MiLB.  The road is different for everyone, and the final goal isn't for everyone.  The higher the you get the the humbler you get.  What I mean by that is if you're the top 10% in HS, then go to JC you're now in the bottom 20%.  You then get a reputation of excellence and get to the top 20% in JC/NAIA and you move to DIII/DII and you start over at the bottom 20%.  Every rung you go up the better not only the players get but the umpires.  They see the game differently, they communicate differently, travel, pack, hold themselves and network differently.  If you're available and a good umpire but no one knows you, you will not make it.  If coordinators don't know you and no one speaks for you, you will not make it.  So here is the list of steps that I see for both MiLB and Non Pro guys..

MiLB                                                                                                    Non Pro

1. go to pro school                                                                      1. HS baseball / basic association training

2. PBUC Eval Course                                                                  2. HS Playoffs/ championship / college eval clinic/tryout

3. MiLB Rookie Ball/short season/college summer league         3. JC baseball / top guy in HS unit / college 2man camps / NCAA

4. Short season A/ full season A ball                                           4. NAIA/DIII /  top 1/3 in JC unit /  college 3man camps / NCAA

5. High A ball / MiLB CC and post season                                   5. NAIA/JC/DIII post season / again going to 3man camps / NCAA

6. AA ball                                                                                       6. DII non /conf /  post season / 3man camp w/ networking

7. AA CC /  AAA low man                                                              7. DII CC/ DI non conf /   post season / advanced 3man invite only

8. AAA CC/ MLB fill in                                                                    8. DI conf /  network for NCAA post season - need min of 25 DI games

At each level you give back to the ones below you.  You work for #8 while at #1.  You don't stop learning, networking, reinvesting and going to camps.  Each one of these rungs overlap and have a different time table for different people.  But being known, having ability, having availability and looking the part are all apart of exposure no matter the course.  Like many have said this is mostly done during the off season!  Communication and being prepared for that call is why you work on 8 starting at 1.  You can't go to a tryout camp to "get ready" and expect a job.  You have to "be ready".  It's like any other job.  If I'm hiring and I see someone with a Masters degree and 4 years experience but doesn't look the part and I have a guy with 20 years experience with a HS diploma, maybe some college but alot of certificates and a great network who will I hire?  Everything is a sliding scale.  There are pros and cons to everyone's game.  It comes down to what your willing to spend to get there.  Every year is a new chance to get better, so here is to 2016 boys.  Enjoy your journey!!!!

Just my $0.02

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