THE CONFIDENCE GAME (Part 2)
Last time we talked about steps to boost your confidence. Hopefully, that will help umpires who lack confidence when on the field.
But there's another group out there - the group that has too much confidence. You've probably worked with them. Typically, they're not that great - not nearly as great as they think they are. But they come off the field and say "I did a great job today" when they left a lot to be desired.
Because of their attitude, it's hard to tell them they need work. I mean, who among us is going to stick his neck out and say something like "Uh, yeah, you did good, but there are some things we should talk about."
In the first place, that feedback isn't going to be welcomed and, even if they listen to you, chances are they're not going to consider your suggestions, and they're probably going to resent you for bringing it up. After all, in their eyes, they did great, so who are you to tell them otherwise?
There are several things we need to deal with here. First of all, are you one of these people who is over-confident? Let's see.
Do you speak loudly and forcefully to prove a point? Do you seek validation from others?
Typically, people display overconfidence because they don't feel good about themselves. They also make fun of others but can't take a joke about themselves.
If you display any of these characteristics, you better take a good, long look at your personality, because you may be over-confident and, therefore, be difficult to train or teach.
So how do you help an over-confident person? First of all, keep your cool. You're not going to be helping anyone if you get upset, impatient or angry with this person.
Don't take it personally if they rebel against your help. They're resistant to most people trying to give them advice. After all, they know everything, remember?
If you can do those two things - keep your cool and not take it personally - then maybe you can show them the truth. For example, you had a play on the field they missed because they didn't hustle into position. Maybe in their mind they got the play right.
"Maybe you did," you could say. "But you weren't as close as you should've been, and that's why there was an argument and an ejection. You have to get closer to the play."
If they push back, again, remember to keep your cool and stand your ground, in a calm way. They're trying to get you to change around to their side, no matter what it takes. So they may start to ridicule your ideas or help. But stay strong and point out the truth. Someone has to do it.
"Maybe you got the call right. Maybe. But if you had've hustled to the proper angle, you wouldn't have had an argument and an ejection. I'm finding you're hard to talk to because you don't want to listen to anything that might help you. Why is that?"
And go from there. If you ask them what their goals are, perhaps you can mention they're never going to get ahead if they keep rejecting advice and help.
It's not easy, and it doesn't always work. But I've seen it happen. I've worked with over-confident umpires who were always making excuses and trying to justify why they were out of position, or made their calls too quickly, or ejected for something that could've been avoided.
Some of them have changed, and some have not. But the ones who did change improved immensely, and quickly. As soon as they opened themselves up to constructive suggestions, they began to realize it's up to them to do the work, and no one else, and then they start on the road to improvement.
For those who refuse to change or admit fault, keep at them as long as you can. When you come to a point where you realize that, despite your best efforts, they're never going to change, then you have to stop banging your head against the wall and move on to give time and help to umpires who will listen.
Assessing your confidence.
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Billy McLean is considered to be the first umpire of organized baseball, officiating the first official National League game, played at the Jefferson Street Grounds in Philadelphia on April 22, 1876.