Having both the ability and willingness to self-evaluate is critical to becoming a better college umpire. Look at yourself. Recognize your shortcomings. Understand what you could do better. Don’t study the rules enough? Quick temper? Too technical? Overweight? Once you know what you need to work on, you can start to improve. Wanting to improve is a sign of having a good attitude. You must want to improve before you can improve.
In a 1/94 interview with Referee, NFL great Ed Hochuli said, “If you believe there is no room for improvement, get out of officiating because the next step is an obvious decline. That is embarrassing to you and your fellow officials. Every year, I am less content with my own abilities. I see so many great officials and I realize how many things I have to work on.”
Another Tool in your Tool Kit
Do you take notes during your games? Do you review them once a month to look for trends? And, most importantly, at the end of the season, do you conduct an honest self-assessment of your umpiring skills? The CCSUA and our Assignors are introducing another tool for your tool kit: the CCSUA Umpire Self-Assessment Form. This form also includes your goals for the next year. The CCSUA Umpire Self-Assessment Form can be found in the same section as this article – Protocols Corner/Professionalism. It is a 4-page document but only the first 2 pages need to be completed. Pages 3 and 4 give you an example of a completed form.
This assessment form makes use of the CCSUA philosophy of the four pillars of training –– rules, mechanics, game management, protocols. Here is a quick summary of what these four pillars encompass:
Rules – NCAA Softball rule book knowledge and knowledge of all Interpretations; knowledge of the intent of rules and how to apply them appropriately.
Mechanics – CCA Manual knowledge; 2-umpire mechanics knowledge; 3-umpire mechanics knowledge; proper use of signals.
Game Management – Good pre-games and post-games, judgment, handling conferences, handling difficult situations, working with college coaches, going for help, lineup card management, good communications, maintain good game flow,
Protocols – Communication before games, arrival time, game reports, professionalism, appearance, uniform, fitness, social media, communication with assignor, availability kept up-to-date, mental preparation.