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REMEMBER: YOU'RE ALWAYS BEING WATCHED

The headline sounds spooky, doesn't it?


But no, this article isn't about Big Brother watching you. It's about young, impressionable umpires watching you. And yes, they are definitely watching you.


So if you don't like that, or don't want others to be watching you, then mentoring is probably not for you. And the old adage "Do as I say, not as I do" doesn't stand up for umpire mentors or supervisors. For example, you can't tell a new umpire to always use a "hammer" strike signal if you use a "point" strike signal. Instead, point out the benefits and dangers of both. You can then tell them what you prefer, and why.


So if you're wondering whether you should be a mentor, or you want to become a better one, here are some things you have to take into consideration.


SET A GOOD EXAMPLE

Let's start with what we already said: Someone is always watching you. If you're trying to set a good example, that means, at minimum, that you have to do the following if you want to be someone others can learn from:


- Your uniform must be spot-on.

Your uniform is clean, fits properly and is worn properly. Your shoes are clean and shined.


- You can't take a day off when you're on the field.

It's a hot day; it's your third game of the day; you're umpiring a really poor quality game below the level you're used to working at; you're tired; your feet are sore. Doesn't matter. Someone is watching you, trying to learn from you. If you don't hustle that day, if your signals and mechanics aren't crisp, you're teaching that watcher it's OK to do less than their best.


- How's that attitude?

Again, I don't care the reason. You're tired, hot, hungry, sore, or just had a fight with your spouse before you came to the field. Doesn't matter. Once you step on the field, all that has to be put away. You don't get to walk around the field with a chip on your shoulder because you've had a bad day. Be approachable. Be polite, be friendly, as long as the situation calls for it. And if things start to get a little testy, deal with it quickly and professionally. Don't take out all your anger and frustrations on a coach just because he disagreed with a strike call.


Imagine you're mentoring a young umpire and you tell him after the game that you'd like to see him hustle more, that he tended to walk everywhere on the field, drag his feet and walk with his shoulders hunched. And he said to you "But that's what you do! I watched you!"


How's your credibility doing now? How are you going to tell that young umpire that he should listen to what you're saying, not what you're doing on the field? Or, just as bad, you make an excuse - "Oh, I must've had a bad day that day. Don't do that."


WALK THE WALK

It's just not gonna work. The expression "If you're going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk" seems like it was made for umpire mentors.


Mentoring is not for everyone, the same as umpiring is not for everyone. You might really enjoy helping young umpires, but if you're not prepared to lead by example, you could do more harm than good.


To help with that, keep in mind that someone - some learning umpire - is always watching, and trying to learn from your example. Be a good example.


REMINDER


Do you have some thoughts on this week's blogs or any of the other ones? Then please, let us know through the comments section or on our Facebook page. Look on Facebook for "Umpire Mentors" or "Umpire Mentors Group." And please, join our Facebook pages.


REMINDER PART 2


The UMPIRE MENTORS book is now out! 422 pages of advice, tips, secrets and stories from 100 of the world's best umpire mentors. To have a look or get your copy, go to www.umpirementors.com. Act now and save 20%.


UMPIRE HISTORY


1912

- Both the American and National Leagues had 10 person umpiring staffs with two umpires being used in games and two reserves.


1935

- George Barr of the National League opened the first umpire training school in Hot Springs, Arkansas.



This Week's Umpire Quote

“If it doesn't challenge you, you won't get better.”

- Filip Havlik

International umpire



This Week's Quote That Applies To Umpiring

“Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything that you're willing to practice, you can do.”

- Bob Ross

Painter


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