The following is a great list of points to consider it you really want to improve your game management
By Malcolm Boyles - ASA Deputy Supervisor of Umpires / Western Territory
These fundamentals will serve you well in a Championship tournament or local league game:
- You only get one chance to make a first impression. Work on your uniform, shine those shoes, and look like an umpire.
- Study ASA Rules and practice ASA Mechanics.
- Observe other umpires working. Learn from their successful techniques and their mistakes.
- If you don’t already have a Mentor, find someone you respect and get their perspective on issues that are frustrating you about your game.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Work games at as many levels as possible, not just the higher levels. You need Game Management skills that work at every level.
- Develop a “Professional Mindset.” Take pride in your work, yourself and who you represent.
- Recognize and Manage Distractions. Was today a bad day at work? Did something terrible happen to someone you care a lot about? Your teams need your best effort tonight; you need to be able to manage the bad news and give them your very best effort.
- Learn from your mistakes. Game Management takes years to develop and what works for me and my personality may not work for you. Experiment and see where you have success and learn from those attempts that didn’t work.
- Have a strong and honest Post Game. Take as long as you need and cover every area of the game that just ended to talk about situations that would have turned out better if they were managed in a better way. Be honest with your partner and demand that they are honest with you. Don’t get defensive; don’t take it personally! This is how you become a better umpire. We don’t do this enough.
- Be a Student of the Game. Start to watch games from a player’s perspective. Watch to understand “Situational Strategy.” This will make you a better umpire, knowing what the team is going to do in a specific situation.
- Self Evaluate. How could I have done a better job? What if I had tried to manage a situation differently, would the outcome have been the same? Better? Was I understanding? Lenient? Fair?
- Focus on your listening skills. If a player or coach comes to you frustrated it’s because something that just happened didn’t make sense to them. Learn to listen to understand what’s bothering them.
- Once you understand their frustration, explain what you saw and why you ruled the way you did. That will normally be enough, and then walk away. Don’t be an umpire who has to have the last word.
If you’ll take these umpiring fundamentals with you into Championship Play, you’ll be successful and will become a better umpire. Thank you for representing ASA. You are the reason we are the BEST!