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Hello! Rookie from NorCal


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Hi all,

Brand new to umpiring. Since I was a kid (and not being a super great athlete) I always thought referees and umpires were the most interesting guys on the field. Something about having a graceful command of a game and governing a complex rule set was always intriguing to me.  After enthusiastically watching my kids play Little League for 5 years, and watching the umpire's mechanics really closely, I started pouring over rule books, watching videos, and getting as intimately familiar with the mechanics of umpiring as I could. I stepped in to help in an emergency situation this past season when no umpires showed up for a couple of games (the youth ump was not willing to be the PU), and I decided to give it a shot. It was a 9-10 year old division game and nothing too insane happened, but being a total first-timer, I am certain I blew a couple of balls/strikes. However, it was an insane amount of fun and I was hooked after that. Signed up to start umpiring locally for LL and Rec league games, which I am preparing for now.

Always looking for some advice for new umpires. I want to do the absolute best job I can, but I know I'm going to blow it more than a couple times starting out. How do you deal with knowing you blew it, and staying positive and motivated?

 

Glad to be here...learning a lot already.

 

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Welcome to the fraternity. 
So you missed a few balls and strikes?  I’m at this for 13 years and I know I missed a few last night, and the night before, and the night before that. It’s gonna happen. Just focus and move on NEVER try to to “ make up for it” by calling another pitch wrong to “ even things up”. You’re gonna gonna kick some safe/out calls too. Those tend to stick with me longer, but on the field, you must learn to put it behind you, re focus, and get the next one right. 

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5 hours ago, SCRookie said:

How do you deal with knowing you blew it, and staying positive and motivated?

Clear your mind.  Get into position and set.  The next pitch/play is coming.  No time to dwell on the past, or you will miss the present.

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Welcome. How do you deal with blowing it? Same as you told your kids. ‘Get the next one’. It’s the beauty of baseball.

Where in NorCal? I’m in San Jose and work LL D12 and D44. 

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Welcome aboard.  I echo what the others have said.  Don't dwell on a missed call.  Reset and get ready for the next one.  Dwelling on it will take you on a downward spiral in the game and have you questioning every call in your mind.  Don't even think about a "make up call".  We are all human.  Be confident and work your mechanics and rules knowledge.  Hustle (with purpose) to get the right angle and trust your judgement.

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Welcome Brother @SCRookie. Officiating a sporting contest is not easy. It requires focus and determination. You must be willing to surrender yourself to the task and fully learn its nuances and intricacies. We are expected to be perfect on our first day...and steadily improve. That is of course impossible...and that is the job. Avoid being a, "Yeah, but..." guy. Be receptive to feedback and criticism instead and ask questions. Your partners will know you are new, you don't need to make excuses for your performance. You're going to hear lots of things from your crew partners in the coming years. Most of it will be helpful, some of it will not be helpful. When you start to hear consistent feedback from different partners about an aspect of your performance, you know you have an area of development you need to work on.

Gear...buy the most protective and comfortable gear you can afford. You're starting out, it doesn't ALL have to be brand new equipment. We have an excellent sub forum here where many of our trusted brothers sell good equipment (some of it is new) at competitive prices. EBay is of course another excellent option. Prioritize your cup and supporter, face mask, chest protector, shin guards and plate shoes. Inspect your gear frequently and repair or replace things as needed. Keep spares on hand of shoelaces, shin guard straps, chest protector and face mask harnesses. Keep your uniforms clean and your shoes shined.

In closing...focus on the current pitch and the current play and then win that pitch and play by calling it/working it correctly. Don't worry about what happened before. You can cover that in post-game. Don't worry about the next pitch, the next play or the rest of the game. Your focus is the current pitch/play. Make sure you are familiar with your league's and association's discipline and ejection protocols. When it comes to managing the game and the people inside the fence...remember that whatever you permit to happen on your field, you are promoting to continue to happen on yours and all of ours fields. Those outside the fence will disrespect you, heckle you, tease you, etc. Ignore them. We don't talk to fences. Strikes and outs gets you and your crew home. Be well and keep safe, brother.

~Dawg

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A welcome to SCRookie from SW Pennsylvania. Remember to try to get more strikes than balls. If you can steal a strike call it. That will widen your zone up to 30% more. I usually call up to the top of the zone to the lower part of the zone. A ball width inside and out on upper levels and to the white line on the other batter box if I can get it for the lower levels. This usually makes the game go faster and gets the batters swinging. But stay consistent regardless where you call them. Coaches want their batters to swing instead of waiting for walks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Wow, fantastic and sound advice @SeeingEyeDog! I am literally writing this stuff down and making sure to live by it, especially in my early days. Thank you for this.

Also sound advice, @MRG9999. I did this a bit when working a 8-10 yr old game, at the advice of the coaches, no less, who knew I was new. The idea was that we wanted the game to move along, have the batters swing, and make the pitchers feel good. I thought it was good advice and worked well, though I had a couple of little batters turn and give me a look on a couple of them. I had to chuckle a little.

Thanks again guys!

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On 7/29/2021 at 5:06 PM, SCRookie said:

It was a 9-10 year old division game and nothing too insane happened

A rarity! :laugh:

Welcome to the club! My best advice is

  • Read this forum ... a lot. Think about what people are saying and apply them to your own umpiring. The amount of knowledge shared here is priceless.
  • If you can get hooked up with a good clinic, do it. Ask about reputable ones in your area. A good clinic will have instructors that have been doing this for a long time at a high level and can pick out those little things you don't even realize you could be doing better.

I went from working rec ball to lower-level college in just a few years, mainly by following those two bits.

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