Communication, Trust in Your Crew Are the Foundation for Success
Little League® volunteer umpires working in unison, and with a professional rapport foster a high level of respect from coaches, players, and fans. From the pregame meeting to the postgame review, you can judge the success of the game by your crew’s shared level of trust, confidence and communication.
In each game, there are going to be times where trust and communication with your partner will be the difference between good timing and getting the call right, and hesitation with the hope of being right.
It is the responsibility of each local league to recruit, train, and evaluate its umpires, but self-assessment and the awareness to offer first-hand critiques to your partner(s) are how everyone benefits.
Whether working with one partner, or several, the spoken and unspoken dialogue used by umpires should be established during your pregame meeting. The procedures to efficiently manage a game are determined during this time, and it’s where the working relationship begins and the line of communication that will be used is established.
The home-plate umpire, the league’s Umpire-In-Chief (U.I.C.), or the senior umpire present, often take the lead during the pregame meeting. Beyond a review of the ground rules, and standard field mechanics, this is a great opportunity for umpires to share past experiences, or other specific information that will help any member of the crew better officiate the game.
Communication comes in many forms – eye contact, focus on the play, placement on the field, reactions to game situations – and all are keys to success and building trust between partners. A high level of trust is evident and manifests themselves in many forms, including tolerance and acceptance from coaches and parents.
Learning the body language and demeanor of your partner will come naturally. The trust and confidence that come with experience yields the trust necessary to face difficult situations that arise during the course of a game.
If an umpire is to remain anonymous on the field, while maintaining control of the game, trust and communication must be a constant. To this end, do not discard the pregame conference, work each game to improve, and don’t be “shaken” by a bad game. After the game is done, the time taken to honestly assess and evaluate all members of the crew is constructive and will make everyone better the next time your team is on the field.
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Fairball | September 2015 | URC | Registry