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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 08:45am
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This will be my first season for baseball and I need some advice, especially around the equipment I need to get started, rules I need to concentrate on, how to develop a consistent strike zone, and intangibles. Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 09:52am
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1. Rules: I would recommend on really focusing on the points of emphasis(located in the front of rulebook), also focus on the state adoptions(located in the back of the rulebook) that your state high school association adopted for the upcoming season.

2. Equipment: I would recommend logging on onto http://www.honigs.com and taking a look at their selection of baseball equipment, clothing, bags, shoes, and all of the neccessary items needed for the first year umpire. They have a lot of different packages to offer and you can adjustment to the packages as you see fit for your needs.

3. Strike zone: Yes, it is recommended to study the rulebook involving the strike zone, but I think really the only way that umpire develops a strike zone is by getting work time after time behind the plate, so you can use to seeing pitch after pitch coming in.

4. Mechanics: Working on your mechanics in front of a mirror at your home. Lock yourself in the bathroom, your bedroom, or in your basement, and just practice every mechanic that is used in baseball, so you can see what you like, and you can adjust it to make the best presentation possible for the coaches.

5. My final recommendation is continue to do what you doing now. Ask a lot of questions to veteran umpires in your area about any aspects of the game you do not understand. No matter if it is rules, mechanics, attitudes, game situations, or what ever it may be, continue to observe veteran umpires in action, and ask a lot of questions in the process.

My partner and I are trainers for our local association and we average two - three new umpires at each of our games all through the season wanting to watch, ask questions, seek information, and just learn all that they can about umpiring to take with them to their game.

BEST OF LUCK OF TO YOU!!
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 11:59am
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnSandlin

My partner and I are trainers for our local association and we average two - three new umpires at each of our games all through the season wanting to watch, ask questions, seek information, and just learn all that they can about umpiring to take with them to their game.
Mr. Sandlin:

What color is the sky in your world and what do you take to make it that way?

Rich
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 12:09pm
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Rich,

Why did you respond to me with the post that you did?

The quote that you refered was not said by me to show or indicate that myself and my partner are better then any other umpire in our association, but said giving an example that young umpires go out and watch veteran umpires work their games to gain knowledge and pointers and how to be a better umpire.

I was just sharing what I thought was helpful information to a new umpire, but obviously you thought I was coming across in much different fashion.

I would not respond to a comment you made on this forum in the fashion you did to me, and if I have in the past, I do sincerely apologize.

We are all to help each other be better officials no matter what sport we work. Would you please not respond to me like that again? I think that is very unprofessional and uncalled for.

[Edited by johnSandlin on Oct 20th, 2003 at 12:15 PM]
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 03:52pm
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All of us will have different opinions on how to best help a new guy. Don't spend the BIG BUCKS on HI-Tec equip. That way if you give it up..you didn't spend a bunch of money on stuff in the closet.
.
Mechanics & Rules. Study the American League rules..unless your doing school ball this is a good start. Set up on the inside corner of the plate and remember "you are not a statue" you can move with the pitch !. Don't get on your knee. Don't get crouching until the pitcher starts his wind up..this will save your back & legs over the course of a long game this will come in handy. Volunteer to do some pre-season scrimmage games just to get the experience. Get an Ump with BB experience to work with you on mechanics. Don't get too close to the play if you are working by yourself. Just keep asking questions.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 04:49pm
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Originally posted by Sleeper

This will be my first season for baseball and I need some advice, especially around the equipment I need to get started, rules I need to concentrate on, how to develop a consistent strike zone, and intangibles. Thanks in advance for the help.

A couple of questions to help in my response.


1. You said first season of baseball. Is the first season you will be doing HS ball? LL? etc.

2. Are you predominately umpiring games for kids who shave or don't shave?

I will try and answer based on the info provided.

Before you do anything I receommend becoming part of some association.

As far as equipment goes, if you umpire games for kids who don't shave you can get some used equipment as you don't need the "heavy artillerary" as you do when the kids get older. If you have some extra funds you can by a decent starter set from either Honigs or Gerry Davis.

As far as developing a consistent strike zone and intangables goes IMO takes experience. It's best to get a "clear view" for yourself by attending some formal training. By "clear view" I mean develop a stance that best suits you.

In a clinic the instructors will show and demonstrate the accepted stances which are The BOX (The most common stance used), Scizzors and getting down on one knee. (This stance is mostly used by some PRO Umpires) I receommend trying them all to see which one feels most comfortable to you.

Also, you need to understand mechanics which again the instructors will go over. The most widely used mechanic for amateur ball excluding Playoffs or Special type games is the 2 Person mechanic.

IMO the most important part of your early career is to try and have someone mentor you. IMO there's nothing like having a good mentor to help you along the way.

The intangables you refer to come under the category of Game Management which takes many games too develop at various stages of your development.

Based upon your status (ie; Married single etc.), how many games can you work? As they say the more the merrier. The most important thing is that when you say you can do a game as Nike says Just do it. If you get a reputation of taking a game and then declining later on, is not good for your career.

In Summary, as mentioned in order to answer your question we need to know what type of ball you are calling. If you can get some training and Good Luck!

Pete Booth
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2003, 05:23pm
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As far as the rules go, find out what rules the league you will be umpiring for is using. If it is FED rules, get yourself the FED books, including the rule books, case books, etc. If there are special exceptions to a widely published form of rules, obtain those differences. Then, read through all of them thoroughly twice. After that, read one page a night, and make sure you really understand everything written on that page. You'll catch on pretty quick using that method.

Just reiterating what everyone else said with experience. Everything gets easier over time. As far as the mechanics go, find a reliable source, either human or material, and learn, then practice the mechanics. They'll become second nature if you practice enough.

Equipment wise, be confident in what you buy. If you're doing lower level, chances are you don't need to spend as much. However, make sure you spend enough that you are confident to take the full force of a wild pitch or a foul ball. If that means you are buying the top of the line equipment for a 9 and under league, while you may be a bit of a wuss, it's better than being afraid. There are zillions of online retailers, many of which send out catalouges free of cost. Run an online search, and ask around.
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Old Tue Oct 21, 2003, 09:47am
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Plus Pos also has some nice equipment online, especially the facemasks they have. The best things I can tell you are make sure you really want to be an umpire before you start and also don't drive yourself nuts trying to master every little point of the rules before you start. Get down the basic rules and mechanics and build on them as you do more games.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 01:52am
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what everyone said above is good. I would add this, start by doing little kids stuff first, say 13 and under. While you will have to listen to parents and coaches that do not have a clue, it is better to make a mistake there than on a HS field (that is IMHO).

As far as strike zone goes, if doing little kids (3rd, 4th, 5th grade) a strike zone of knees to armpits is best. Keep the strike zone consistant. To do that make sure you can see the plate and follow the pitch from the pitchers hand to the catchers mitt (or bat).

reading one page a night is a bit slow, maybe one section. For example in the MLB rule book read the pitcher section then another time read the runner section. Read them multiple times. Make sure you read the drfinitions as it all starts there.

Find someone that will take time to mentor you. That will come to your games and watch you. Also read these boards. If someone post a queston or a play (case), grab your rule book and look it up.

Be patient when you get going. You will make mistakes, have people yell at you and there will be days you will wonder why you are doing this. But the main thing is have fun. If you are not having fun, I do not care how good you are, you will not last long at this.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 01:13pm
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Smile Non-sequitur ??

Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Fronheiser
Quote:
Originally posted by johnSandlin

My partner and I are trainers for our local association and we average two - three new umpires at each of our games all through the season wanting to watch, ask questions, seek information, and just learn all that they can about umpiring to take with them to their game.
Mr. Sandlin:

What color is the sky in your world and what do you take to make it that way?

Rich
I don't understand Rich's point. I do find it to be a humerous reply and I am sorry that it is at your expense John... but whatthehell does it mean? Because it doesn't necessarily follow what you have said.

Unless... Rich, like myself, is envious of you having 2 or 3 new umpires at every game seeking to better themselves. Personally, I might see 3 umpires a season at my games wanting pointers and input. If your statement is true, I am envious. I think we would all like to have that respect and be of that importance to our associations. Well, maybe not - it would be a large responsibility.

Because, working several dozen games per season myself, and I'm sure Rich probably does a similar amount if not more, having 2 or 3 new rookies at every game, including repeat appearances, would be a boat-load full... I think this might have been his point.

I think the rest of your post was fine.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 02:36pm
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I still cannot figure out Rich's point either, but only he can tell us the truth behind what he was trying to convey with his comment to me.

My partner appreciate the people we get at our games, because we put the offer out there to them, however, if does begin to a repeated pattern over and over again with the same umpires all the time, then we do step in and politely say something about it.

It is touchy subject saying something to somebody who is coming to take you up on an offer you presented, but the point that we try to convey to them is they may be taking another person's spot, because the other person may feel the boat is full, so they back off and do not ask if they can come and watch your game(s).

Thank you for the defense to me in regards to Rich's comment. I appreciate your defense on my behalf.
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 03:15pm
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I was implying that John was delusional if he was seeing 3-4 umpires coming to watch him work -- kinda like John Nash, the subject of "A Beautiful Mind" saw his imaginary friends.

In other words, I don't believe him.

That's all. I mean nothing else. If you feel you need "defense" from such a comment from someone you do not know, how do you react on the baseball field?

Rich

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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 03:40pm
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I would think a "Moderator" on this forum would strive to prevent hostilities,not incite them.JMHO

Jeff
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Old Wed Oct 22, 2003, 11:06pm
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Just because I'm a moderator doesn't mean I can't say I don't believe a poster.

Does anyone actually believe that someone has 2 or 3 people wanting to go and watch him work every game?

Sheesh.

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Old Thu Oct 23, 2003, 12:00am
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Quote:
Originally posted by mo99
I would think a "Moderator" on this forum would strive to prevent hostilities,not incite them.JMHO
Jeff
We're umpires, we're supposed to have thicker skins than this. Frankly, I find some of Mr. Sandlin's statements hard to swallow as well, in particular his most recent followup in which he said he has to tell some umpires to not come to his games, in order to give others a chance. I mean, come on. He's either not communicating very well, or he's pulling some chains.
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