Training and Development
Umpire training and development is the United Collegiate Umpires heartbeat, a commitment manifested in our quest to improve umpire on-field performance and, in so doing, enhance the northeast experience for the student-athlete baseball player. The unique approach and resources we dedicate to training differentiate UCU from other organizations throughout the country.
Our programs are not designed for umpires to go through two or three days of training in a seminar type setting – empirical evidence clearly supports the notion this does not maximize learning and retention. Instead, each program is designed to yield long-term success for umpires currently working NCAA baseball as well as those who aspire to.
UCU believes investing in training as a vital component to meet the high standards we hold our staff to, is imperative and in the mutual best interest of umpires, our conference institutions, and our organization.
How does UCU invest in its umpires? By designing, implementing, and evolving a program to fit the unique needs of each umpire, at all levels of college baseball from the JUCO ranks to Division 1 post-season.
What makes UCU stand apart from other organizations? Simply, yet confidently stated, our people and the camp culture we prioritize! We believe our instructor staff is the finest in the country, complemented and supported by our technology resources. Top clinicians in professional and college baseball are recruited to share their knowledge in a more personal, exchanging-of-ideas atmosphere. Where many camps teach the “masses”, our program believes a low student-to-teacher ratio provides the ideal learning environment.
Camps are structured as follows:
The traditional educational setting of a classroom is where fundamental umpire responsibilities established by the NCAA are taught and reinforced. Each umpire is exposed to state-of-the-art teaching methods through extensive interactive video simulations and powerpoint programs.
Cage work and the respect we have for it cannot be understated. Umpires are trained in the actual calling of pitches with a priority on safe and optimal sight line and stable head positioning. Targeting, tracking, and troubleshooting concepts are also a staple.
With a relentless focus on meeting the high-performance standards every successful umpire must possess, we have introduced video to augment the hard work in the cage. Just as visual learning has been positively impacting student-athletes on the field for many years, we are experiencing a direct correlation with our umpires, as well.
Fieldwork drills are designed and evolve to train umpires in reactionary movements related to play development, positioning, and making the proper call. Through our vast experience, we are a proponent of “pushing the envelope” in the teaching of mechanics and responsibilities, exceeding NCAA standards as we work with umpires to realize their unique potential. The object of these drills is introduced, conveyed clearly and then continuously reinforced – the goal of every single play is not for the umpire to be in a good position. Instead, it is to be in the best position!
Live Game Evaluation
Evaluations in live game action are vitally important. Practical abilities of each umpire are assessed with identified inconsistencies or deficiencies subsequently communicated directly in a constructive manner.
Learning something and doing something are not the same – In fact, they are very different. Umpiring, specifically the learning process each umpire experiences parallels this dynamic. In live game action, students have the opportunity to apply lessons taught in the classroom, the cage, and the field, all under the watchful eye of UCU instructors. This evaluation process is integral to the learning process as umpires, from novice to the most accomplished, can learn each and every time they step on a field.
What is our ultimate investment in each umpire? To properly address this question, it is important for people seeking the answer to know the following: All UCU camps are designated as a not-for-profit. This is our way of tangibly demonstrating to umpires, administrators, and coaches, we believe in what we are preaching. And what we are preaching is a genuine commitment, one possessed by our entire instructor staff, to work with each umpire we are privileged to encounter, toward maximizing their unique potential – this is truly how we have always viewed the investment and always will.
Ultimately, when a goal is framed through the prism shared by instructors and students alike, working for the betterment of the game, all of us can then realize the success we aspire to as umpires on the field.