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Practice? We're talking about practice, man.


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It has been almost 24 years since AI blessed us with one of the most amazing rants about "not the game, but we're talking about practice, man."

 

With that in mind, anyone have any suggestions on getting reps behind the plate? I know we should have scrimmages before the season starts, but what about beyond that? I have thought about reaching out to a local club ball organization to see if they would be willing to let umpires come and call bullpens, anyone have luck with that?

 

 

 

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It is common here in my area that umpires will go into the gyms and call pitches during practices. Typically, the first month or so of practices are inside because of weather. The coaches like it as t

COVID might (will) change the answer, but pre-Covid most HS and college coaches would welcome you to call any "cage games" they would have.  I'd suggest coordinating through your association so the co

I saw cage games already mentioned.   I go to the indoor faclity near me and call college pitchers.  When HS ball rolls around, I've already worked on timing & tracking.

COVID might (will) change the answer, but pre-Covid most HS and college coaches would welcome you to call any "cage games" they would have.  I'd suggest coordinating through your association so the coach doesn't field and try to schedule calls from a dozen different umpires.

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It is common here in my area that umpires will go into the gyms and call pitches during practices. Typically, the first month or so of practices are inside because of weather. The coaches like it as their pitchers get a feel for the zone and it gives the umpires a look before the first true live pitch. 

 

If you have a rapport with any school coaches or travel coaches, I would say reach out to them. Or have your assignor connect you. Also, the group in my area uses it as a training tool for newer guys. 

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I saw cage games already mentioned.   I go to the indoor faclity near me and call college pitchers.  When HS ball rolls around, I've already worked on timing & tracking.

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Several years ago a local varsity coach was also a member of our summer association.  He allowed our folks to participate in "open gyms" in January and February to call pitches and work with our newer members.  He has since retired, but his two successors have continued to continue.  These have been great to get that muscle memory rejuvenated so when the first plate game rolls around I am much more comfortable.  Plus it does take some getting used to, having baseballs thrown at your face.

The coaches realize that this is a benefit to them as well as improved officiating leads to a better season.  They also ask us for clarification on rules and we have noticed habits on players (such as the hybrid pitching stance) and we able to provide guidance as to that being a no-no.

Not sure if we will get to have these sessions this year though.

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18 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

I saw cage games already mentioned.   I go to the indoor faclity near me and call college pitchers.  When HS ball rolls around, I've already worked on timing & tracking.

This was where I was going to go with my answer as well.

Especially in the colder and/or wetter climates, most teams and players will practice inside.

Contact one of the baseball teaching locations near you. Pre 2020/1, most of the places would bend over backwards to get umpires in there as a training tool for their students.

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This will vary from area to area, of course. As an individual umpire, I would refrain from reaching out to any coaches directly for whom you may be calling games for to come and do some cage zone work or scrimmage work for them. My association has an active training division and that group reaches out on behalf of our entire association to ask what school's individual pre-season umpiring needs may be and then it's emailed out to the association if it's cage work or scheduled in Aribiter if it's scrimmage work.

It's been said before; it bears repeating...although most cage work and scrimmage work is unpaid, we should all be taking advantage of as many pre-season opportunities to work as our schedules allow. There is a marked difference in an umpire's performance who has done nothing pre-season and an umpire who has spent time in the cage and or worked scrimmages.

~Dog

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5 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

This will vary from area to area, of course. As an individual umpire, I would refrain from reaching out to any coaches directly for whom you may be calling games for to come and do some cage zone work or scrimmage work for them.

 

My experience is that by being with them off the field and showing them that you are working on your craft will tend to buy you more consideration when the pitching is for keeps. They are usually eager for us to add that extra element of reality to their workouts.

In the cage you are more a human being than an umpire. The coaches I have worked with in the cages have asked for my thoughts on not only their pitchers, but also for how their catchers are working.  

My .02. YMMV

 

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