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My 15 yo son has been asked to umpire some games this spring during his free weekends and during the summer.

I am encouraging him to take the league up on the offer, as it would be a great way for him to save some money for his car.

This Rec League uses mainly HS kids for the T-Ball through 11-12 leagues. Pay is pretty good also.

The only thing I think he's scared of, is he remembers how I yelled at some of those umps when he was playing rec. Wink

What is your opinion?
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Our rec league always did the same, put the younger hs kids as umps in the younger age group. The parents of course gave them H*LL. You can expect it to happen as parents are very protective and volatile when they "think" that their "little babies" are not getting a fair call. It's a natural reaction by parents.

It is however a good starting point for a young man who has the desire to be a certified umpire one day. My recommendation is study the rules of baseball and understand how those rules are to be applied at the age group he umpires in. Always be just and firm with your decisions. If the parents see you begin to "waffle" about a call then your in trouble because they will not let up.

If your son has a love for the game and a desire to do well as an umpire then go for it. If it is only for the money, then I would say do something else. JMHO.

Knowledge is Power! Thank you Mavens and HSBBWEB!
My son ref'd LL basketball games around that age. He and a friend were asked...

My son also called s-o-c-c-e-r games...not nearly as verbal parents in that situation.

Well, son's friend...was a wee bit afraid to blow that whistle. So things were rough on him. You cannot be timid and do a good job.

Mine was OK. He did his job. Ignored comments. And was asked back again, so he must have done alright.

But I think it's great experience for them to see the other side of how things transpire.

Everyone has to start somewhere...
It all depends how much support the league officials give to the umps. When my sons were in LL, the Minors used "volunteers" (read: Dads dragged from the stands). Another qualified ump and I finally (after a few years of offering) were given the okay to use Sr Division playetrs, plus Major managers and coaches.

The managers/coaches had to ump at least one game per half. The Seniors worked according to their availability. We had the league purchase enough rule books and umpires' manuals for all. There were four classroom sessions, plus one on the field to cover mechanics. They had to pass a rules test at 80% or better.

The league informed the Minor managers and coaches that the youngsters were to be treated with respect, or they would be admonished, and possibly suspended. There were NO problems. One of the reasons was that a BOD rep attended every game.

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Having umpired everything from T-Ball to High School to Men's Senior League Baseball, Who would want to put there kid in that position? T-Ball - sure. Beyond that, forget it. My 16 y/o , a VERY tough competitor with great "makeup", was a counselor at a very respected baseball camp. Part of his duties were to umpire two games per week. Dreaded every minute of it. I don't care what kind of "Zero Tolerance" rules a league may have, umpires are a very special breed. After 13 years, I don't miss it a bit.
I am not umpire, but have coached for several years and the most commun mistake young ump. do, is to call the play too soom. Look at the play and after you see what happen make the call according with your judgment. Take your time!

"Peace is, the respect for the other people's rights".
Benito Juarez
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My son is also 15 and began umpiring in the fall when he was 14. I was interested to see how he would handle the preasure of adults getting on him about calls. I went to a few of the games and set in the stands not telling anyone he was my son and boy was it interesting listening to the parents. On one play the 7 year old clearly missed first base and was called out. Because he crossed the bag before the ball got there the parents thought the kid should have been safe and went balistic yelling what is this the majors. I almost fell over trying to hold back the laughter. I was as proud of the way my son handled the situation as I am when he pitches a great game. By the way I only attended the first couple of games he umpired then I left him on his own. Overall a great experience that he will continue with in the spring and summer.
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You need to train the guys as Bluezebra mentioned. Just sticking them out there with with some knowledge is 10 times worse than pulling a parent out of the stands. They are just teenagers and idiot parents could make it a horrible experience. I sarted as a teenager, with no training, so I know what I'm talking about.
If your son decides to try it, make sure he understands to only worry about what's inside the fence. The parents outside, although they can be jerks, he has no control over. If he has a spectator that he feels needs to go, let the administrator do it. If it's a big enough problem then put the boys in the dugouts and wait until it's taken care of.
Tell him good luck.
"The only thing I think he's scared of, is he remembers how I yelled at some of those umps when he was playing rec."

What is your opinion?

Well.....since you asked for opinions. Here goes.

You are worried that YOUR son will be abused by adult coaches since he remembers how YOU yelled at those umps.....Sounds pretty reasonable that he would be concerned since the one man he looks up to to lead him in life abused youth umpires. Sounds to me a bit like the old saying "sins of the father....."

Your about to come face to face with your past behavior. It isnt pretty. Your son was and is always watching how you handle life. He is taking cues from you from all aspects of your life. And it will color his actions later in his life.

Just like we tell the players, someone is always watching........this someone was your son.

That being said , I'd encourage him to umpire. Its a good way to stay in the game, make some money, and get better in his own baseball life by knowing the rules intimately. In a youth game you will get every imaginable call from obstruction to interference to infield fly to batting out of order, some days its like the circus came to town.

And he will get to see just how wrong abusing youth umpires in rec leagues is........and hopefully one day when he is a coach, he will remember.............

I think you need to take a step back and get off your high horse.

Not once did I say I abused any youth league umps, nor did I say I was worried my son will be abused by adult coaches.

You missed the Wink next to that statement, as it was in jest.

Sheesh, I wonder if you have umped one too many games and have a chip on your shoulder.

One thing I did tell my son on his journey down lifes path, it to grow thick skin. As it will be needed in life.
Biggest problem I have seen with younger umpires in rec ball is their bashfulness when addressing insane parental behavior during the games.

They tend to let things get out of control all too frequently.

The boys need to know that it is their responsibility to control the game. And that they also have the responsibility to have the crazies removed from the field when necessary - and swiftly.
When I was "commish" of our rec LL I put my HS age and varsity player son in charge of the umpires and he ran the show---the kids loved it as they, the HS players, instructed as well as umpired and all the coaches were in accord with this.

The LLers loved having the HS players on the field with them and showing them what they were doing wrong.

We gave umpires instructions before the season began and we paid them well on top of it all

I do agree with ITS about the kids needing the ability to handle the parents--if they cannot do it you will have nothing but mayhem---we never had any problems

I am 17 years old and have been umpiring kids between the ages of 8 and 13 since I was 14 or 15 years old. I have found umpiring to be a very helpful experience in my playing career. I have found that my teammates now come to me to ask about rules because they know I have to know them because I'm an umpire and I can take full advantage of interference/obstruction situations because I see them as they occur while most players do not recognize these situations. As far as dealing with coaches and/or parents my advice would be ignore the parents unless it gets WAY out of hand. Most coaches will not be a problem if you seem confident in your calls. Make them loudly and clearly and be prepared to explain them to the coaches but do so in a calm manner and they will usually respond in one.

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