October 2017 Plays and Clarifications
Comments from the Director of Umpires
The last of our Championships ended this weekend, 10/01/17, and it appears all went well in all the Fast and Slow Pitch Championships. Now it is that time of year where we wind down on our Championships and we begin the process of preparing for next year. Our council meeting this year is about a month earlier than normal so preparing the rule book and the umpire manual for next year will not be as rushed. We have several rule proposals to review at council this year and once that is complete we will add those that pass the rule change process.
We are also preparing the umpire manual for next year with the addition of several items. We will again this year have another section with Points of Emphasis which will include new and / or additional items we identified that we saw and should reiterate on the correct mechanic or better explain the philosophy of the mechanic we use or recommend. This year we expect to add more pictures and diagrams to better explain things visually in addition to our written explanations. We really feel this will be a great enhancement to our Umpire Manual. Chris Drumm and her committee are working hard to have this all completed in time to make the manual available at the first of the year or sooner.
We also want to take this time to thank all umpires that participated in our National Championships in 2017. We had over 1500 umpires work our National Championships and National Invitational Tournaments in 2017. For the most part we had very few issues but we vdid have a couple. Those are being addressed and or will be addressed with the Local Association, Region and in some cases nationally. The first set of Umpire Evaluations for Fast Pitch and Slow Pitch Championships have been sent out and should be in the umpire’s hands. The second set will go out in a few weeks having them all completed and sent out to the Regional Umpire-in-Chief, Local Association Umpire-in-Chief, and Local Association Commissioner in a very timely manner.
It appears umpire registrations we will be down again in for 2017, compared to 2016. It does appear though, that our efforts are paying off in the realm of adding younger umpires. We saw a lot of younger umpires at our National Championships this year and they performed very well. They complimented our veteran umpires on and off the field. It was obvious in a lot of cases our veteran umpires have done a great job mentoring this younger group. If we keep this up young umpires will reach out to their friends and tell them about the softball umpire experience.
National Umpire Schools
We wanted to update everyone on the 2018 National Umpire Schools. Region 5 has dropped from hosting a National Umpire School in December which was planned for Oklahoma City OK. This leaves us with five National Umpire Schools and two advanced camps. Region 6 in Bowling Green KY in December, Region 3 in Jacksonville FL in January, Region 10 in Las Vegas NV in January, Region 9 Boise ID in February, and Region 1 Elmira NY in February will be hosting the schools. The contact information is posted on the USA Softball website at this link: https://www.teamusa.org/usa-softball/umpires/national-umpire-schools Please log on and review the list of locations and plan on attending one of the schools. We have updated the agenda to be specific to the wants and needs of each location and had fantastic results last year with the new format and agenda.
We will be hosting two advanced camps in 2018. We will host a Slow Pitch Camp in Lawrenceville GA in June and a Fast Pitch Camp in Irvine CA in July. Both camps have revamped their format and agenda and should provide for a great training tool for those umpires trying to improve their skill set.. Each camp tries to teach the advanced umpire new techniques and ideas to advance the umpire’s career. These advanced camps are second to none in both format and instructors. The contacts information along with dates and locations of the camps are on the USA Softball Website at this link: https://www.teamusa.org/usa-softball/umpires/national-umpire-schools If you are or know an umpire that is trying to get to the next level this is the camp they should attend.