Little League® Umpire School Helps Volunteers Learn “The Little League Way”
Understanding and implementing rules, while utilizing proper field mechanics are key elements in umpires successfully working a game and providing a positive experience for Little Leaguers and their families. Last month, 19 volunteers from throughout the United States traveled to Little League International in Williamsport, Pa., for the 2015 Little League Umpire School to help them enhance their umpiring skills.
This year’s school took the umpires through a new program that immersed the 2015 class in a series of activities focused on rules, field mechanics, and situational explanations.
Under the guidance of Thomas Haines, Jr., Little League Director of Umpire Development, and a staff of veteran volunteer umpires, each of the attendees were instructed on the “Little League way” of umpiring.
“What made this school unlike others before was the amount of interaction, repetition, and individual attention each student received,” said Mr. Haines. “To get better, and be able to apply what is being taught, you need comfort and confidence. From what the instructors and I saw, and gauging the comments at the end from the students, we accomplished that goal.”
The school opened with a welcome orientation that set the foundation for a robust learning environment that featured five days of interactive classroom sessions and on-field instruction; and culminated with several innings officiating regular-season games between teams from Pennsylvania District 12 on the Little League Baseball® World Series stadium fields.
Each day, students worked fundamentals, delved into rules, and discussed how to apply them; and experienced plenty of field time.
“Learning through practical application and that kind of training, is unique and great,” said Earl Taylor III, a volunteer umpire from Maryland District 4. “Throughout the week we trained in real-time situations that can be utilized on any given day. We could sit there and read a book, but when you apply the rules and situations on the field, and are able to look at it from the managers’ and umpire’s perspective, that experience shortens the learning curve.”
Every year, Little League International, and each of the five regional offices in the United States host umpire training clinics. It’s recommended that Little League umpires attend one session of formal training each year, when possible, in order to stay current and connected to the Little League Umpire Program. The next umpire training clinic in Williamsport is scheduled for Sept. 18-20, 2015.