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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Fri Dec 22, 2006, 09:09am
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Location: Long Island
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Thumbs up Attending 1st ASA Nat'l. School

I just signed up to attend an ASA National Umpire School. This is my first. Iíd like to get some feedback and ideas from those of you who have attended in the past.
Things like:
How do I make the most of it?
Anything special I should know or work on before hand?
What to bring; ie, equipment, uniforms, etc?
What should I expect?

Any and all advice will be appreciated. Iím looking to get better
Thanks!
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2006, 09:36am
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IMO, the best advice I can give you is try everything the way they recommend it; even if (and particularly if) that isn't the way you were taught previously, or how you do it, or what is done in your area. Try that different plate mechanic, that different starting position on the bases. For at the length of the 2 day school, do it the way they suggest. Then try it in your first games afterwards. If you can't get comfortable with it, then at least you tried. Too many go and argue with the clinicians, instead of making an open effort to improve.

Second piece of advice, don't hang out with those who will not try, or who will have a second conversation going while the clinicians are trying to help you (and others). There is a lot to be learned from watching them talk and work with others, so pay attention. You are paying them to help you; not to listen to the same group of BS'ers you can hear any time.

You should receive a camp shirt; come in ASA uniform, expect to change shirts. Be prepared to be outside if it is cold; also have indoor (gym) shoes, in case it is too cold, or oterwise inclement weather. The only equipment you should need is your mask; the plate drills normally require it.

Try to listen and absorb as much advice and direction as possible. Don't decide what to discard or ignore at that point; the techniques they teach are proven to be effective for the majority.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old Fri Dec 22, 2006, 10:23am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve

You should receive a camp shirt; come in ASA uniform, expect to change shirts. Be prepared to be outside if it is cold; also have indoor (gym) shoes, in case it is too cold, or oterwise inclement weather. The only equipment you should need is your mask; the plate drills normally require it.
And to add to that, make sure that if you are a member of an ASA association that wears gray pants, that you get the navy blue pants for this school. THAT is the uniform they will be wearing.
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2006, 12:01pm
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Big or is it Sig,

In addition to what Steve and Scott said - make sure that you attend the informal adult beverage get together. I found that the discussions that went on in that gathering were at least as benficial as the class & clinic work. Where else can you sit with several members of the NUS and probably a couple of state uics - to say nothing of the several district uic's.
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Old Fri Dec 22, 2006, 03:46pm
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A lot of good advice. Have an indicator and don't forget an ASA hat.

Even if not mentioned, carrying an indicator is a plus. I've even seen some carry a brush. Whatever you carry, make sure is it umpire equipment (i.e., not a whisk broom).

Even if you live down the block from the hotel, get a room. You may get as much from out of a bull session at the hotel as you may in the school. BSing is fine, but remember, some of these guys may have already been down the road you are attempting to travel.

OTOH, do not allow yourself to lose interest or be distracted when the inevitable rookie questions are asked. I can just about guarantee that someone will ask something and your first thought will be, "and this guy is an umpire?"

Don't worry about what the other guy does or think. As Steve noted, like in a tournament, take your direction and information from those who are there to help you.

Enjoy.
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Old Sat Dec 23, 2006, 10:44am
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Thanks to all of you for very sound advice. You've been most helpful.

Have a wonderful holiday!!
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Old Sat Dec 23, 2006, 12:37pm
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Hey Big,
You just never know who's going to be at these schools. I met one of our board regulars at one of these schools. I'd known him for a few years through the online boards, but hadn't actually met him. I ran into him again this summer - he's been known to down a beer or two........
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Old Sat Dec 23, 2006, 05:33pm
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If Henry Pollard is one of your instructors, be prepared to laugh. He's got a lot of funny stories, both in class and at the adult bevearage get-together.
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Old Sun Dec 24, 2006, 08:28am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue
If Henry Pollard is one of your instructors, be prepared to laugh. He's got a lot of funny stories, both in class and at the adult bevearage get-together.
Unfortunately, Henry is no longer involved in umpiring, even at the ISF level.
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Old Mon Dec 25, 2006, 06:53pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
Unfortunately, Henry is no longer involved in umpiring, even at the ISF level.

Henry is a good teacher, along with Merle.

Those two are great!!!
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Old Wed Dec 27, 2006, 01:40am
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The great thing is the national staff love to talk about softball. The time you get to talk to these guys outside the actual clinic is invaluable. Many have done serious softball Div 1A, international, etc.
They will work hard and help you as much as you want... you will get out of the clinic what you put into it.
Also if you have rule questions etc make sure to ask them, they are very willing to help!
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Old Wed Dec 27, 2006, 12:29pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M
In addition to what Steve and Scott said - make sure that you attend the informal adult beverage get together. I found that the discussions that went on in that gathering were at least as benficial as the class & clinic work. Where else can you sit with several members of the NUS
All good advice BigSig. However, like any other human endeavor, it can be very disappointing when it fails to meet your artificially high expectations.

I attended my first (and last) NUS three years ago. The evening registration offered nothing; just a bunch of the locals that had eaten all the pizza and were well on their way to consuming most of the beer by time I checked in.

The clinic was way oversold; the attendee vs clinician ratio was twice ASAís recommended 25 to 1. So your individual repetitions in drills was halved. I remember leaving one particularly long and slow line, going down the hall to the restroom, and returning to my same place in the line.

The local/state associations used the clinic as a training program for rookie umpires. To some of us, it seemed as though 60% of the attendees were low on experience. This dumbed down the overall clinic.

However, I did pick up a couple good hints and was looking forward to the Saturday night dinner/social interaction with the clinicians. Surprise! The sponsoring group cut the day short by an hour and announced that they and the NUS were going to dinner at a local restaurant. They invited us, if we could find a table in the same restaurant! (Yeah right - picture 50 or more of us descending on a popular restaurant on a Saturday night!)

It was 4:00 in the afternoon and I didnít know what to do. My money (clinic, travel, and hotel) was already spent, but at least I could recover some of my time. I checked out and traveled a couple hours to my brotherís home and enjoyed dinner and the evening there before heading home.

I am not bitter; it is simply that my expectations were way too high. Iíve attended many district and state clinics, and they have been valuable. I assumed that a National clinic would be for experienced umpires, with content to match. That is a mistake! It is simply another umpireís clinic. A little better, and a whole lot more expensive than local ones.

WMB
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Old Wed Dec 27, 2006, 01:43pm
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Sounds to me like the local association sabotaged the national school for their own selfish purposes. Too bad.
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Old Wed Dec 27, 2006, 05:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestMichBlue

I am not bitter; it is simply that my expectations were way too high. Iíve attended many district and state clinics, and they have been valuable. I assumed that a National clinic would be for experienced umpires, with content to match. That is a mistake! It is simply another umpireís clinic. A little better, and a whole lot more expensive than local ones.

WMB
Actually, your expectations were not too high. Tom is correct, the local association abused their position as the host. You should have asked your UIC to write a letter or you should have written a letter to Merle/Craig (whomever was in the head umpire chair at the time) complaining of the entire situation. You spent a good amount of money and didn't receive the product you were promised.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old Wed Dec 27, 2006, 07:07pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
Actually, your expectations were not too high. Tom is correct, the local association abused their position as the host. You should have asked your UIC to write a letter or you should have written a letter to Merle/Craig (whomever was in the head umpire chair at the time) complaining of the entire situation. You spent a good amount of money and didn't receive the product you were promised.
Being in Michigan, I'm thinking that he might not have needed to get much further than Jerry Hanson with a letter describing your dissatisfaction.

We have hosted National schoold several times in Atlanta. When the numbers ourpaced expectation (we ended up with over 200 participants last time), we added clinicians to keep the ratio appropriate. We added one National Staff member, one recently retired National Staff member, our Atlanta UIC, and a recent attendee of the Advanced School. I was the clinician who had recently attended the Advanced School, and am quite sure that the attendees understood the benefit of smaller groups, even if they participated in groups led by other than National Staff part of the time.
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Last edited by AtlUmpSteve; Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 07:14pm.
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