Regardless of whether spring comes in like a lion or a lamb, games are on the way. As players and teams prepare for the coming season, umpires also need to commit ample time to preparation.
The weeks leading up to opening day are a great time to pick-up the Little League® Rulebooks. As you review the rules, spend a little extra time in section 2.00 – Definition of Terms. Being able to explain a situation to a manager using Rulebook terminology increases your credibility and minimizes the potential for a protest. And, it will build your confidence.
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Before you know it, the regular season will be in full swing. Hopefully, you have been able to take advantage of offseason training programs and referenced the information on Little League University to expand your knowledge and hone your mechanics. The Little League Umpire Registry is also a great way to build your education network and broaden your training resources.
Each Little League region offers informative clinics that review rules and mechanics for umpires. Participating in offseason training is a great way to prepare for the upcoming regular season. In order to stay current with the accepted practices and techniques associated with Little League umpiring, it is recommended that all umpires attend at least one formal training season per year.
Each spring and fall, Little League International in South Williamsport, Pa., offers a weekend clinic; and in April a week-long school is hosted on the Little League International complex. If your district hosts an in-season clinic, or there are regular performance reviews by the Umpire-In-Chief (U.I.C), taking advantage of those opportunities can only improve your performance on the field.
Lastly, make sure that you have completed all of the required Little League paperwork and submitted it to your league’s U.I.C. or designated member of the Board of Directors. You cannot be assigned to any Little League games until you have been nominated by the League President, approved by the Board, and the background check process has been completed. All clearances must be done before you take the field, and each state has its own laws, so it the responsibility of the league and individual to be certain that such documentation is on file before the start of the regular season.