This is the time for all Little League® volunteer umpires, new and experienced, to get ready for the upcoming season. There are three primary areas all umpires need to focus on prior to the start of the baseball and softball seasons. They are equipment, physical, and mental readiness. Let’s take a look at these three basic, yet critical areas.
An umpire’s equipment is a very important and vital part of safety, comfort, and appearance. All protection equipment, chest protector, shin guards, mask, and other associated personal equipment should be checked to make sure that all straps, clips, fasteners, and padding are in good condition and will provide the utmost protection and versatility for the umpire. Appearance is important on the field. The outer garments need to be checked to make sure the uniform fits well and is in good shape. If you’re new to the league or to umpiring, your league’s Umpire-In-Chief will be a great resource in what equipment you’ll need. For more information on equipment and appearance, check out the article “Beyond the Blue: Dressing the Part Means More Respect From Players and Coaches” in this issue of Fairball.
Months before getting on the field, umpires should start an exercise program to get into good condition. Start your conditioning program slowly and work up to 45-to-60 minutes of exercise a day. Consider walking 30 minutes a day with some simple resistance exercises. Get yourself into a state of physical readiness so when you get on the field you can perform your duties without injuring yourself, loosing time from work, while enjoying being on the field. If you didn't start your workout program months before getting on the field, do it now! It’s never too late to begin, and it’s always the right time to get in shape.
During the offseason, Little League umpires should attend a rules instruction and mechanic clinic as soon as possible. It’s very important to keep up on the rule changes for the new year and also to refresh those field mechanic drills and tune up to learn any new skills. There are many resources available for beginner and experienced umpires. Little League International and the Little League Regional Centers offer weekend and week-long rules and mechanics clinics. The training at these centers is top quality and the experience of the volunteer instructors is superior. Visit Little League’s Event Calendar to find a clinic near you.
There’s a lot to do between now and when you hit the field to umpire your first game of the season. Have a great year and thanks for all the time you volunteer to make the program better.
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Fairball | March 2015 | URC | Registry