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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 07:56pm
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Question

I will begin this discussion as genial and confrontation-free as possible. That said, it is a hot button issue here. Are multi sport officials better than single sport?

Since 1998, I have worked baseball exclusively. I've tried football, softball and hockey - all sports I played competitively. I liked them all but love baseball. Even though I live outside of Chicago, I travel a lot and work games ten months of the year (not a whole lot of BB in Sept. and Oct.) I focus on working the best ball available and work hard at gleaning the best habits of my partners. I attend and teach training clinics across the country and see a lot of guys that work several sports. They claim that they are better officials because of what they bring from each discipline. I can truly understand and admire the dedication it takes to work several competitive sports.

Yet, I focus all year long on one sport - striving for a level of perfection that alludes all of us. This micro-focusing allows me to understand the nuances of the game and appreciate a lot of things that slip by the casual official. So here it is...would you rather be outstanding at one specific sport or good at several? We are not talking about the well-rounded official here. I want to know if you think it makes a difference to work several sports.
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Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 08:35pm
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Lightbulb Not well rounded, but heavier than I'd like to be.

Quote:
Originally posted by WindyCityBlue
We are not talking about the well-rounded official here. I want to know if you think it makes a difference to work several sports.I want to know if you think it makes a difference to work several sports.
WindyCityBlue,

"We are not talking about the well-rounded official here."

Working multiple sports is time consuming. Instead of adding a nuances, I find myself adding paragraphs throughout the year.

Just in the diamond games I work with eight sets of rules.
Hardwood games I work with three sets of rules.
I work two running sports with different rules.

If I would concentrate on one sport, yes, I would be a better official in that sport. But, we have no 10-month seasons available. (A one month break in games (mid-March to mid-April) drives me up the wall.)

However, I do think my eye/brain/mouth synapse has improved because of the various sports. As far as game management experience goes, I think I improve not by number of sports, but by number of games, ... any games. ...And I have always liked gettin' new stuff.

mick


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Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 09:07pm
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Okay, I can buy that. The more exposure to close calls in several sports will certainly improve your mental acuity (hand/eye - hand/mouth coordination). But, I still have a problem with being mediocre or even average at several sports when you can take all of that energy and be really good at one.

I know the old Eddie Murphy routine about eating steak all the time...after a while it's just steak. But, if you can vary the level and fun/interest in that one sport, is that better than constantly switching gears and trying remember a myriad of different rules?
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Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 10:00pm
DG DG is offline
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I have never worked any sport other than baseball so I am no good judge on whether it helps or hurts to work multiple sports. But, I can't help but think that if I spent half my time I currently spend on studying rules, participating in forums, attending clinics, etc. on some other sport I would be half as good as I could be in both.

It is already difficult enough to keep track of OBR, FED, NCAA, AAU, Babe Ruth, Tar Heel, and a wide variety of local rules to make me plum dizzy. I don't need another sport to keep track of.
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Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 10:03pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by WindyCityBlue
Okay, I can buy that. The more exposure to close calls in several sports will certainly improve your mental acuity (hand/eye - hand/mouth coordination). But, I still have a problem with being mediocre or even average at several sports when you can take all of that energy and be really good at one.

I know the old Eddie Murphy routine about eating steak all the time...after a while it's just steak. But, if you can vary the level and fun/interest in that one sport, is that better than constantly switching gears and trying remember a myriad of different rules?
If I had a chance to work the levels of ball that you work, then I could see being a one sport official and being an all-sport fan.
I do not have that opportunity.
I am old. I am cold.

I hope I am not mediocre. I strive to be better than that.
I work very hard at my sports.
I learn. I change. I adjust.
I hope I am not an average official,
...but a lot of us are.

mick







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Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 10:12pm
DG DG is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by WindyCityBlue
Okay, I can buy that. The more exposure to close calls in several sports will certainly improve your mental acuity (hand/eye - hand/mouth coordination). But, I still have a problem with being mediocre or even average at several sports when you can take all of that energy and be really good at one.

I know the old Eddie Murphy routine about eating steak all the time...after a while it's just steak. But, if you can vary the level and fun/interest in that one sport, is that better than constantly switching gears and trying remember a myriad of different rules?
I get enough mental acuity skill practice at work. Calling games is easier to me. I will admit I don't get many bang bang plays at work though.
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Old Thu Jul 01, 2004, 11:20pm
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Not a problem

Quote:
Originally posted by WindyCityBlue
I will begin this discussion as genial and confrontation-free as possible. That said, it is a hot button issue here. Are multi sport officials better than single sport?

Since 1998, I have worked baseball exclusively. I've tried football, softball and hockey - all sports I played competitively. I liked them all but love baseball. Even though I live outside of Chicago, I travel a lot and work games ten months of the year (not a whole lot of BB in Sept. and Oct.) I focus on working the best ball available and work hard at gleaning the best habits of my partners. I attend and teach training clinics across the country and see a lot of guys that work several sports. They claim that they are better officials because of what they bring from each discipline. I can truly understand and admire the dedication it takes to work several competitive sports.

Yet, I focus all year long on one sport - striving for a level of perfection that alludes all of us. This micro-focusing allows me to understand the nuances of the game and appreciate a lot of things that slip by the casual official. So here it is...would you rather be outstanding at one specific sport or good at several? We are not talking about the well-rounded official here. I want to know if you think it makes a difference to work several sports.
I think if its done with passion that it's not a problem to work more than one sport, but I think it can be a problem with guys who work every sport.

I personally work baseball and basketball. This gives me a little break during football season, and I think that gets me ready.

Also, many of the football officials are unable to attend the basketball meetings and clinics which I think is a big hindrance in their preparation for that season.

I do find that by calling another sport it helps me to better understand some of the "umpire terms" such as game management and also advantage/disadvantage.

Many times we think that only applies to basketball but it also can be applied to baseball and I'm sure football.

So I think it can be a great help. I do think that many of the guys though are too extended by trying to do too many games and too many sports. I think this definitely affects their passion for the games they officiate.

Example a guy calls five baseball games in a day. No way he is going to call every game with the passion that should be required. But its often necessary because there are not enough umpires.

How many bad calls will be made in the final two games simply because the umpires are tired or bored. I think this often applies also to officals who call too many sports.

Also I think that boards such as this really help. It makes it easier for an offical to prepare for a season "at home" by participating and reading discussion about the rules etc., This is a big help in getting ready for a game when you might have been calling a different sport a week ago.

Thanks
David
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old Fri Jul 02, 2004, 02:18am
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There is only so much time to work games.

You really cannot work a sport year round. Well maybe one, basketball. So there is only so much concentration you can put toward any one sport. Unless you are working indoor sports, I do not see how you can work any one sport them all the time. I know baseball in this area is kind of hard to work in November to early March.

The same basic philosophies work in all sports. Just because you are working a baseball game, does not mean you cannot apply your people skills, common sense and basic judgment to another sport. The same type of conversations I have in a basketball game about foul calls or almost identical to the same debates I might have on a baseball field about outs or balls and strikes. The players approach you the same way about holding in football as they do about a balk call in baseball. The coaches approach you the same way as well. The issue just changes. The fans think we all do not know a particular rule or yell things that you will never see in a rulebook. In baseball it might be when the hands are apart of the hands. While in basketball you hear "moving screens" and "over the back."

The only way I can see anyone being mediocre is if they do not approach a sport seriously. You can only attend so many camps and attend only so many meetings. At some point you have to get out and work games. The only sport I know where you can attend a camp and can guarantee working games is basketball. I do not see how you can work any other sport so hard and get so much out of it during the off-season. As I said before, you can only read so much about the rules and the mechanics. At some point you have to work some games to test that knowledge.

Just my two cents.

Peace
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old Fri Jul 02, 2004, 07:50am
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My take:

It's easier to become "good" at one sport if you already work another (for example, if two officials start working basketball, the one who already works baseball will, in general, be a better basketball official after years 1, 2, and 3 than the official who is just starting to officiate).

If you can work one sport (nearly) year round, it's easier to become "very good" in that sport if you do so, rather than splitting the year among different sports (for example, and official who works baseball year round will, in general, be a better umpire than the official who works baseball in the spring and summer and basketball in the winter).

If you can't work one sport (nearly) year round, there's not much of a penalty, nor an advantage, for working a second sport during the off-season (for example, the official who works baseball during the spring and summer and basketball during the winter will, in general, be of equal quality to the official who works baseball during the spring and summer and nothing during the winter).





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  #10 (permalink)  
Old Fri Jul 02, 2004, 08:03am
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multi sport is better

I will have to vote that the multi sport official is a better one.
There are a lot of reasons but the biggest is that it requires you to stay in the rule books and casebooks more.
You have to concentrate more and you are less likely to get complacent.
I work 4 sports, and all take a great amount of time and dedication.
That being said, I "FOCUS" more effort on one sport than others.
Being multi-sports also gives you better than average game control skills because you have to deal with differnt people in different ways.
It will also allow you to relax and enjoy that avocation we participate in.
I have heard it said, and I agree that the multi-sport official is smarter than the single sport official (for the most part).
I think that idea comes from the requirement to have an understanding of multiple formats requires greater concentration and mental ability as well as memory.
anywho, that is my opinion on the subject.
Remember, opinions are like feet.....everyone has a couple and they often smell bad.

Scott
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Old Fri Jul 02, 2004, 08:21am
DG DG is offline
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I work baseball, nearly year round. I start with attending clinics in late January and then start games in late February. I get a little break in early August and then Fall ball starts in late August and runs till end of October. I get November, December and half of January off. So it is nearly year round.
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Old Fri Jul 02, 2004, 10:16am
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I think it's very possible to focus on more than one sport. I could see that if I added, say, basketball and volleyball to my workload that my off-season focus might be less...

But working football diligently for 6 months, with time for 2 or 3 baseball clinics thrown in, and then working baseball diligently for 6 months, with time for 2-3 football clinics, keeps me sharp, keeps me in shape, and to my mind INCREASES my focus.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old Fri Jul 02, 2004, 10:19am
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I feel that by officiating two sports, I am better at both.
From the first baseball association meeting in Feb-March until the fall, I am consumed with baseball: rules, clinics, meetings, games. Then, in the Northeast, baseball (unfortuantely) goes away. So, my concentration and passion switches to basketball from October to February.
I put in equal time attending meetings, studying rules, and doing as many games as I can. Basketball helps me stay in excellent physical shape. Although I love it in season, it sure helps pass the winter until baseball season begins.
Then, the cycle starts all over again, and hopefuly, with another year under my belt, I have improved in both sports.

I don't think the number of sports exclusively determines one's ability and quality. I think that determination, motivation, commitment, training, goals, self-education and sheer desire to be excellent shape the kind of official you become. Accordingly, there are superb and mediocre one and multi-sport officials.
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Old Sun Jul 04, 2004, 07:26am
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I've actually thought a lot on this issue

I've come to find that my presence in a game is far greater than a lot of people I know that started in any given sport at the same time I did. I also find that I've learned how to focus on particulars of a game easier.

I started off as a hockey referee. It was pretty tough because hockey does move fast and there's really no way to work on things easily without actually being on the ice. I learned the hard way at a variety of levels and worked hard at improving my skating ability.

I then began umpiring baseball. Hockey was an easy sport for me to work: I play and worship the game. But baseball was another story. I've always been interested in baseball when I'm on the diamond, but I never played organized baseball. The rules, the lingo, and even the field were foreign to me. I had to learn the subtle nuances of the game as an umpire. I feel that was actually a good thing since the only way I know how to play baseball is as an umpire.

Football came next. I took the fast action and multiple-player/large area of action that I experience in hockey and combined it with the judgement calls and confidence I'd learned in baseball and worked myself into varsity games by the end of my first season. I worked a lot of games in the short season, usually working 3 to 6 games a week.

Hockey season two started a few weeks into football. Not a problem. I've got a new eye, a new idea on how to watch the action, and I had at least 60 games worth of game management experience to add to what I'd learned the last season. I had far better judgement and learned how to analyze and discuss rules better. I'd also learned that I was not a junior official who had to rely on the more experienced or bigger official but I was their equal and could exercise my authority as well as a large, intimidating guy.

I'm currently in baseball season #2 for me. I have a lot of confidence and have learned that while I'm the HMFIC and what I say goes, that I must also remember that I'm being allowed to come onto the field by the two teams and they are relying on me to call the game fairly and administer the rules properly.

Had I only worked ice hockey, my #1 sport, I would have about 170 total games that I've officiated. But when you add in another 110 games from football and baseball that year, plus the 50 baseball games I've worked to this point, and that's an additional 160 games worth of confidence building, judgement, game management, and inter-personal skill building that I can add to my resume. Plus, it shows that I keep myself busy in the "off-season."

But, if I could work ice hockey 5 days a week, 10 months out of the year, I probably wouldn't touch another sport. I'd be too busy building my skills on the ice that I wouldn't need the time outside the rink to work on the basic skills of officiating.

-Craig
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Old Tue Jul 06, 2004, 10:07pm
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I agree with craig, being a multi-sport official can only be beneficiary. especially with hockey and baseball, making decisions on your toes and in the crunch translate throughout sports. it also shows you love to officiate, regardless of sport. i compare it to a liberal arts education: well rounded.

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