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10 Tips For Managing The Umpire In Youth Baseball
How many times have you seen youth baseball coaches argue a bad call by screaming and berating the umpire? Do you think the umpire will even consider the argument of a coach who is verbally abusive? Although there is no sure method to influence umpires, here are ten tips for managing the umpire in youth baseball.
1. Introduce Yourself Before The Game
How often do you see Little League coaches engage the umpires? Sure, you see them up and close when a call goes against them, but a smart approach is to seek out the umpire(s) before the game. Ask them their name, where they are from, what their umpiring experience is, etc. etc. Showing an effort to know the umpire can go a long way - especially in considering your argument or challenge to a call later in the game.
2. Respect The Umpire
Umpires are often looked down upon by coaches, players, parents and fans. This is true from the youth baseball level all the way up to major league baseball. Although umpires understand the fact they aren't popular, they crave respect.
Respect can come as a simple "Nice call - ump" comment, to limit yelling at the ump, to introducing yourself before the game.
3. Pick your Fights
Don't you just hate it when your kid's baseball coach argues ever ball and strike, every call at first base, every check-swing? A really good tip for managing the umpire in youth baseball is to pick your fights. Don't argue every ball and strike, wait for a situation that could mean the difference in the game.
4. Discuss Controversial Calls With The Ump Between Innings
Let's say there was a close play that resulted in the third out of the inning. Why not approach the umpire and ask his thinking on the play; why he made the call he did. You'd be surprised how willing the umpire is to share his thoughts. Why? Although they may not tell you, they want to justify their calls. Again, talking to the umpire outside of a hotly controversial situation is a good tactic for youth baseball coaches to employ.
5. Never Raise Your Hands or Get In An Umpire's Face
First and foremost, youth baseball managers and coaches should never, ever raise their hands or get in the face of umpires. They are setting an example to the kids on how to interact in a controversial and heated argument. Any sign of physical aggression by a coach is cause for immediate ejection, future suspension and possible criminal charges.
6. Request The Umpire To Get Help From The Other Umpires
There are situations in a game that an umpire makes a call on his own. It's not offensive for a youth coach to request the umpire get help from the other umpires.
7. Know The League Rules
Many youth league umpires work for different youth baseball organizations and the rules can differ. Don't expect the umpires to know all the rules. Do your homework and learn the rules so you are prepared to challenge a call that breaks a league rule.
8. Team Rule - Players Do Not Argue With The Umpire
One of the rules for my youth baseball players is not to argue with the umpires. If they do, they will be removed from the game. A list of team rules is handed out to the youth baseball parents before the season so the parents know what to expect. It also helps avod arguments with parents. Youth baseball parents arguing with umpires shows disrespect and lack of discipline.
9. Talk One-On-One In A Whisper
Umpires do not like to be shown up, but many coaches do it anyway, not realizing they are doing so when they scream and berate them in front of the players, coaches, parents and fans. Let's face it, nobody wants to be yelled at in public. Instead of running out of the dugout and screaming at the umpire. A better approach is to call time out, ask the umpire to talk one-on-one and discuss your argument in a low calm voice so only the ump can hear the conversation. This will allow you to state your case without distraction and without offending the umpire.
Sounds simple, but this has helped me many times. Umpires will be more likely to consider your argument, consult the umpire or consult the other umpires if you use this technique.
10. Shake Hands After The Game
Be sportsmanlike and shake hands with the umpires, even if their bad call caused you the game. You see, it's more about showing the kids how to act in certain situations. What better way to teach kids respect and humility!
These tips for managing the umpire inyouth baseball are not meant to get the umpire on your side. They are simply extensions of how a decent human being should act in the world. Believe it or not, if you practice these methods you'll teach kids baseball and something even more important, very important life lessons.