HOW TO BE AN ISF UMPIRE
Most umpires want to know how they can be selected to umpire at World Championships, Regional Games, or even the Olympics. The following will provide information on obtaining certification as an ISF umpire.
First, you must be a registered Umpire with the Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body (NGB) for softball in the United States. To find out how to become a registered umpire within the ASA, contact your local ASA association. A complete list of associations can be found on the ASA website at www.asasoftball.com
THE INITIAL STEP IS TRAINING AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
The ASA has all types of umpire training available. There are rules clinics, mechanic schools, and advanced fast pitch camps at the local, national, or regional levels. Umpires who take the time to advance their knowledge and increase their skill level will have the ability to be assigned to Local, Regional and National Championships. Umpires can increase both rules and mechanics skills by attending clinics held both on the Local regional and National level. Once an umpire has been registered as an ASA umpire for at least seven years, worked at least four ASA National Championships, two of which are in the same category of play and from an upper level national championship, they can apply for ASA/USA Elite umpire program. Once they have gained this status they can apply for an ISF Umpire Certification School.
When applying for an ISF Umpire Certification Seminar umpires must have completed the application and have it approved and signed by the umpire’s UIC and the ASA (to verify qualifications) and approved by the ISF. Once this is completed the umpire is eligible to be invited to attend a Certification Seminar of their choice.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT AN ISF CERTIFIED UMPIRE SCHOOL
Prior to attending, a candidate must complete and achieve 90% mark on a 100 question pre-qualification rules exam. This exam must be written on line at the ISF UmpSchool (30% of total mark). At the Certification Seminar, major rule and mechanic differences are reviewed during a two day classroom and on field drills session.. The umpire is evaluated in a plate mechanic drill, (10%) using either live pitching or a pitching machine.; Case plays (5%) and mechanics plays (5%) are offered for each candidate to describe rule interpretations and 4 umpire rotations. Candidates are evaluated in games, one game at each position (50%). Overall, the umpire must achieve a 90% or higher score to be certified.
Once certified, the umpire is eligible to be assigned to a world championship. Each participating country can select from their eligible list of certified umpires, and the host country usually has 3-4 selections. Some countries participating in the championship may not have certified umpires, therefore if more umpires are needed, based on the number of teams participating, the ISF can add as many at-large umpires as required.
Be sure to check out www.asasoftball.com for my information on becoming an umpire. Contact ASA/USA Softball Supervisor of Umpires Kevin Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.