With baseball season just getting underway, a group of umpires got together recently to take in a two-day seminar to boost their rankings as baseball umpires.
The clinic was held at the Kinsmen Arena to qualify students for level II and III credentials.After a long winter season, it was time to go over all the basics to ensure everybody is on the same page.
"The purpose is to refresh the umpire's rule knowledge for the 2010 baseball season," states Rocky Nickel, course instructor and master course conductor for Baseball Canada.
About 15 individuals came out for the two-day course in which Nickel combined classroom instruction with outdoor activity to stimulate real-life situations on the baseball diamond.
"This was a very good class," he told Yorkton This Week just prior to handing out the tests at the end of the course, adding that "it's not an easy thing to learn." With some learning their level II and some working on their level III, Nickel said he had to try and combine the two for ease of learning. With ideal weather conditions on that particular weekend, made it perfect to take the group of about 18 men and two women outside to practice the classroom material.
There Nickel went over the various body movements, signals, gestures and script material any given umpire would be required to know come game time.
Nickel said it went very well.
The outdoor portion of the course helped, he noted. "We're trying to teach them proper technique. It's better than trying to learn those things on a blackboard." Nickel said that last year the same course was offered in Melville. Mostly everybody involved had a pretty good grasp on things too, he said.
He said that the next step following level III is the national stage.
The third level of training is entry level, says Nickel and that a couple of the students he had that weekend are national championships qualified.
He added at currently there is no mandate for anyone to register with Saskatchewan Baseball in order to umpire.
The weekend completed with a 50-question 'true or false' test at the end.