Updated: Feb 24, 2022
I think you'll find we things just a bit differently at UMPIRE MENTORS. We're not going to bog you down with a bunch of rules quizzes and discussions. There are plenty of other umpire sites you can go to for that - and you should.
Getting a solid grasp on the rules of the game is one of the keys to successful umpiring. But like MLB Umpire Supervisor Larry Young said, "At the level you're aspiring to, there is no such thing as 'Rules Guys.' There are ONLY 'Rules Guys.' " In other words, if you want to get to a higher level, you better know the rules, because everyone else there does. So how are you going to stand out in a positive way if you don't even know the rules?
But here at UMPIRE MENTORS, both the website and the book, we're going to focus on other keys to successful umpiring - such as game management, timing, listening, philosophy, style, communication and confidence. To name just a few.
And keep in mind our information we're passing on to you comes from former and current Major League, Minor League, Independent, College, International, High School and Little League umpires and supervisors. So you would be wise to pay attention. These guys know what they're talking about.
To create the book, we got feedback from umpires throughout the world on nine key questions (plus a bonus, extra-inning question) that were asked with the goal in mind of making you a better umpire.
The 9 Questions
What's the most fun thing about umpiring?
What's the worst thing about umpiring, or the worst thing that happened to you while umpiring?
What can I do to ensure a more consistent strike zone?
What's the most important thing an umpire can do to improve?
When you're having a bad game, what do you do to fix it?
What's the hardest thing for an umpire to learn?
What separates a good umpire from a great umpire?
What's your favorite umpire-related story?
What advice would you give to an umpire just starting out?
BONUS: What's your definition of game management and why is it important?
We spent a long time talking back and forth with experienced, high-level umpires not only coming up with the best questions, but also making sure the wording was clear and concise. Heck, even the order of the questions was studied and put together this way for a reason. We'll talk more about that in future columns.
One of the questions we get asked the most is, where can I find the book? You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Umpire-Mentors-Secrets-Stories-Baseball/dp/1777689104/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3HYVKSKIVO6LJ&keywords=umpire+mentors&qid=1643221626&s=books&sprefix=umpire+mentors%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C99&sr=1-1
Or you can go to Amazon.com, type in "Umpire Mentors" in the search file (under the books category) and it will pop up. Or you can go to our home page at umpirementors.com and click on the Amazon logo.
A quick word about the book: it's big. No photos, no large print. It's in 8.5x11 inches format and it's still almost an inch thick. That's phone book size, folks. But it has to be. There is a LOT in there. When 100 top umpire mentors start talking about ways to help less experienced umpires, they have a lot to say.
If you're an umpire who's trying to get better, you probably go to clinics and training sessions, and spend a lot of time in the rule book and learning mechanics. That's good. You need that.
You're probably looking for any little edge that will help you improve. So you might like to know there are almost 1,000 tips from world-class umpire mentors in this book. We have to believe there's something in there of value for you.
See you next time.
This Week's Quote
“The advice I always give young umpires is control the things you can control. Meaning study the rules, go out every game and give 100%, listen to your supervisors and always work as a team.”
- Chris Guccione
MLB umpire #68
1879 - Umpires are introduced to organized baseball
- The pitcher had to face the batsman before pitching to him