The California Collegiate Softball Umpires Association’s Mentor Program, with the help of the college softball Assignors, teams up experienced umpires (mentors) with newer umpires or selected veterans (mentees) for game assignments for the purpose of training and feedback. This program is vitally important to the CCSUA because our newer umpires need that extra help in their development as a college softball umpire. We also include veterans as mentees as appropriate
The mentors provide input for our umpires which supplement the observation/evaluation program. The mentor is a specially selected veteran umpire who has demonstrated the good rules knowledge and the concepts and terminology of the CCA Umpire Manual. He or she also has exhibited the positive communication skills necessary for helping fellow umpires improve.
The mentor is expected to conduct a brief post-game with the mentee and give that mentoree a few things to work on which were observed during the game as areas for improvement.
Tips for Mentors
A mentor is not an observer; do not allow this to take you from your normal game standards.
It is vitally important that you instill confidence in your mentee. Tell him/her to relax and not try to over-officiate. The mentor should also not over officiate; most of these games will be low to mid-level Community College games, not a D1 game with D1 pitchers. This is an opportunity to be an example of enforcing the intent of the rules, not the black-and-white of the rules.
• Be approachable and supportive
• If the mentee is the plate umpire let him/her lead the umpire pre-game and home plate meeting with the coaches.
• For the umpire pre-game, take out your pre-game list, check off the things that the mentee covers; when he/she is finished, comment on what was said and cover the missed item.
• If a coach approaches you on a call made by the mentee, direct the coach to the mentee; make it clear that the mentee is in charge of the game.
• Do not take over the game or do anything to compromise the mentee.
• If a coach makes any negative comments about the mentee, make it clear to the coach that this will not be tolerated.
• Get a feel for the mentee and decide whether to talk to him/her between innings or not.
• Do not over-load the mentee with suggestions during the game or in the post-game; mention the key items then give the mentee two or three items to work on for their next game.
• Offer all suggestions in a helpful, encouraging manner
Tips for Mentees
The mentor is there to help you be a better umpire and assist you with improving your game. Do not be anxious or overly concerned about working with the mentor. You have been selected to work college softball games, so you must have been doing a lot of things correctly to get here. Just call your usual good game. This game with a mentor is a great opportunity for feedback and suggestions; you have a unique learning experience to expand what you already know and learn how experiences umpires work a college game.
Do not bring up games you have umpired (especially baseball games) or honors you have achieved. Let your field work do the talking. It is assumed that you have studied the college rules and mechanics, especially the ones which are different than the other codes you have been working. If you have any questions during the game, check with your partner for advice.
• Be early to your game (yes, it does not say “be on time”); this will give you ample time to do a pre-game with the mentor
• Be prepared to tell your mentor the two or three things you want to work on for this game.
• Be willing to ask questions; your mentor will respect the fact that you will admit you do not know everything at this point.
• Take notes during the game and use them for your post-game and to ask questions.
• During the pre-game be a good listener and do not interrupt.
• Be open to suggestions and willing to accept constructive advice.
• DO NOT use the expressions: “but I have been told” or “they said I should do this…” or but, I have always done it this way”
If the mentor states something for which you are sure is incorrect, whether rules or mechanics, do not interrupt or challenge the mentor. Look up the rule or mechanic after the game. If you are sure the mentor was incorrect, send an email to the training coordinator.
If you have any questions about the CCSUA Mentor Program or would like to become a mentor or mentee, please contact John Bennett.