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Old Tue Sep 17, 2019, 10:38am
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Signs of Burn Out?

Am I burned out on officiating? This is my 11th year.

I don't have fun calling games any more. I actually dread seeing the email telling me I have new games. I find I have very little tolerance for coaches asking simple questions about rules that they really ought to know. Fortunately, I haven't verbally lashed out at any of them like I want to sometimes.

I've never been in this for the money; I've called because I enjoyed doing so. But, if that level of enjoyment isn't there, should I walk away?

Am I doing a dis-service to those involved if I show up to a game with this attitude?

I guess if I'm asking these questions, the answer should be obvious to me. I probably shouldn't be working games right now.

What are your signs of burn out?
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Old Tue Sep 17, 2019, 10:54am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umpteenth View Post
Am I burned out on officiating? This is my 11th year.

I don't have fun calling games any more. I actually dread seeing the email telling me I have new games. I find I have very little tolerance for coaches asking simple questions about rules that they really ought to know. Fortunately, I haven't verbally lashed out at any of them like I want to sometimes.

I've never been in this for the money; I've called because I enjoyed doing so. But, if that level of enjoyment isn't there, should I walk away?

Am I doing a dis-service to those involved if I show up to a game with this attitude?

I guess if I'm asking these questions, the answer should be obvious to me. I probably shouldn't be working games right now.

What are your signs of burn out?
Do you officiate other sports or softball only?

What was it that was fun calling games?

Is it lack of fun or lack of challenge?

I left 2 other sports, one because I wasn't very good at it, the other because of antagonistic coaches killing the fun and lack of association support. Softball is still enjoyable, usually, and I can still challenge myself.

Hope you figure it out!
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Old Wed Sep 18, 2019, 05:33pm
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I personally have felt burnt out about softball because of the lack of challenge for me personally in officiating that sport. I don't have that feeling in football or basketball, and feel like I could continue baseball if I advance to the college level (increasing the challenge level) and/or work 3-umpire or 4-umpire games.
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Old Wed Sep 18, 2019, 07:41pm
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If you feel like you're obligated to continue, you're burned out.
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Old Thu Sep 19, 2019, 10:45am
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If you dread getting assignments, then it sounds like the bloom is off the rose for you. Maybe some time away from the game will give you a chance to refresh a bit and then see if you're missing it after being away from it.

While I don't think I'm burnt out, there are clearly some games that are tougher to do than others. We work a couple of leagues that we're very familiar with. When top level teams play bottom level teams, those are games that I personally have the hardest time "getting up for". In most cases they end up as mercy games that are nowhere near competitive. I've suggested to the leagues that they consider breaking into divisions with the most competitive in one and lower level teams in another. Perhaps some day they'll try it.

I'm exclusively a softball official. I work 2 sanctions. I'll probably retire in the next X years as I'm now 69. I know officials older than me, and in most cases, I don't think they're providing a legitimate service to the games, leagues, tournaments they work. But a softball umpire is becoming a rare species and UICs and Directors plug holes with whatever warm bodies they can find.

So in general, I still enjoy the opportunity to get my butt of the couch and onto a softball field, mercy games aside. I've not reached the point where I dread having to go do a game (although cold, windy, rainy days are a real challenge).

Take a break. Recharge the batteries. See if your mindset changes after a while. Good luck!
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Old Thu Sep 19, 2019, 11:22am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tru_in_Blu View Post
I know officials older than me, and in most cases, I don't think they're providing a legitimate service to the games, leagues, tournaments they work.
Should I be offended?
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Old Thu Sep 19, 2019, 12:49pm
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I'm curious how much you work. I used to umpire college games starting in mid February, then the full HS season starting in March thru May with probably around five or six games a week. Then when summer/fall rec and travel started, I'd do a couple night games a week, and work a weekend tournament probably every other weekend until around late October.

Eventually I realized that I was just doing too many games, and being away from family too often. Between my work that included some pretty significant travel and all of these games, I was missing out on quality time with my wife and kids.

So I've scaled way back. Now I limit my college schedule to the occasional weekend (which assignors don't really like so I've been getting less and less games the last couple of years), my high school to no more than two nights a week when I'm not on travel, and only do a weekend travel tournament in the summer/fall once a month. I also take my mind off of games by doing more with my wife, which she appreciates (and causes less stress to me, knowing how upset she gets if I work games too often).

If you're schedule is packed with games, consider doing less of them. Or as others have said, take a whole season off. But if that's not going to help, then you probably have hit the wall, and it would be time to walk away.
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Old Thu Sep 19, 2019, 04:36pm
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Take some time off or lighten your schedule.
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Old Thu Sep 19, 2019, 09:23pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
Should I be offended?
Well, you shouldn't be offended merely by being older than me - you can't help that.

I see guys that I know are older than me working games, or I'm working 2-ump system games with them. I'm already dealing with a sore back and a lot of these guys aren't helping that out at all.

One guy is pushing 80 and he's stupid enough to sign up for 4 games each day for a Saturday/Sunday tournament. And then complains that he can barely get out of bed on Monday morning. That's not enjoyment - that's a money grab. He doesn't move, takes way too much time to move from one position to another, can barely brush the plate. I don't want my game to look like his. And the UICs - their just as bad assigning him those games.

My limit has been 2 games/day in the last couple of seasons. I'll do a third if the UIC is in an absolute pinch, but need a game off in between somewhere. I think this strategy has helped me avoid the burnout issue.
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Old Mon Sep 23, 2019, 02:08pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tru_in_Blu View Post
One guy is pushing 80 and he's stupid enough to sign up for 4 games each day for a Saturday/Sunday tournament. ... And the UICs - their just as bad assigning him those games.
Is it possible the UICs are simply in need of warm bodies out there? We all are experiencing a dearth of officials lately, if you believe everything you read on the internet.
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Old Mon Sep 23, 2019, 05:40pm
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AGE is not the issue, health and fitness are, along with conditioning, hydration, proper rest and factors like that. There are many in the age bracket referred to who are more mobile and more skilled than some "younger".

On the other hand, we really need to do much more recruiting.
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Old Mon Sep 23, 2019, 06:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CecilOne View Post
AGE is not the issue, health and fitness are, along with conditioning, hydration, proper rest and factors like that. There are many in the age bracket referred to who are more mobile and more skilled than some "younger".

On the other hand, we really need to do much more recruiting.
I agree with this opinion. At 69, I'm more willing to move into proper position (or at least try to). Too many younger guys won't take BR to third on a triple, but might make a call on a play at third base from somewhere near where F4 might be positioned. And plate bound! Drives me nuts. Or don't even bother to remove their mask when a runner scores from first base on a gapper.

Yeah, more recruiting is needed, for sure. Our average age took a slight tick downward this year when a 70-year old hung 'em up, and we got a couple of 40 or 50-something guys.
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Old Mon Sep 23, 2019, 06:53pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manny A View Post
I'm curious how much you work. I used to umpire college games starting in mid February, then the full HS season starting in March thru May with probably around five or six games a week. Then when summer/fall rec and travel started, I'd do a couple night games a week, and work a weekend tournament probably every other weekend until around late October.
I umpire fast pitch only.

Usually, about 30 school games, although this year too many schedule conflicts dropped that to low 20's.
This year, 72 travel games with 2 weekends to go. That is down a bit, especially not going to away Nationals anymore. Most travel weekends are 7 games, but 9 this week.
I do not umpire college games anymore and that was mostly JUCO and D3.

As far as challenge, besides being my best, often something odd happens, and more often finding ways to explain rules, especially with teams playing under different sanctions and with USA pool play.
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Old Mon Sep 23, 2019, 09:08pm
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I got burnt out one basketball season a few years back.

I was working literally every single day. Usually HS doubleheaders (9a/9b, 10th/JV, or JV/V) Monday-Friday, 5-6 park board youth games on Saturday, and 4 adult men's wreck league on Sunday evenings... and I kept that schedule up basically from December 1st until March 1st. Ended up being 170ish games in about 80 days.

I made a crap-ton of money, and I lost about 40lbs without really trying to, but by the time the last weeks of the season came around I was tired, sore, and all around in "the hell with this" mode. It didn't help that my shoes really should've been replaced about 2/3rds of the way through the season, but I didn't buy new ones because "they can wait till next year".

After that, I decided something needed to change. I dropped the adult wreck ball (which I don't miss at all) and the weekend youth ball (miss working with the kids, definitely do NOT miss the parents and coaches). I told my HS assigner to limit me to 4 nights a week. At the end of the next season, I was actually sad after my final game. I took that as a good sign.

My advice: take some time away. Finish out any assignments you've already accepted (unless you absolutely, positively CANNOT EVEN anymore), but tell your assigner(s) that you need a break. When you come back, work back into it slowly (maybe 1-2 dates per week), and see how that goes.

We still need good officials, and even if you're only able to work a limited schedule that's better than nothing.

Good luck.
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