Sitting on the couch watching a game on a Sunday afternoon, many people might wonder how to become a baseball umpire. The process requires some physical and time commitments to the practice, but those with convictions can certainly make it through. Whether it might be outrage over a blown call, wanting to learn the fine details of the rules, or the desire to become more involved in a child’s Little League program, becoming a baseball umpire is easier than it appears.
Now before anyone can get behind home plate or take the field, there’s some crucial equipment and supplies necessary for the gig:
- Polished, black, protective plate and athletic shoes
- Black socks
- Grey slacks, but may vary depending on the athletic association
- Blue shirt, again may vary for each local association
- Black leather belt
- Fitted hat
- Mask and throat protector
- Chest protector
- Cup (men only, of course)
- Shin guards
- Ball bag
- Plate brush
- After securing the needed gear, go to a local youth baseball game. Speak to the umpires to find out more information on the officiating association, including when and where meetings take place. Obtain contacts and start to network, as these people could become peers and possibly even mentors.
- Contact the local athletic or recreation department. Find out the process for registering with the state athletic association and complete the application. There might be a nominal fee for doing so, ranging from $10 to $50.
- Start training as an umpire. Some associations might mandate attendance at regular meetings or demonstrations, while others could have required tests that must be passed. Either way, knowledge of the rulebook will be imperative to become a baseball umpire.
- Begin umpiring. Many people start with youth league games to gain some experience before attempting to upgrade to the next level. The local association should be able to aid in receiving opportunities and building experience towards the next opportunity.
- Make the next step. If umpiring high school baseball sounds like the next logical move, contact the state association for further information on registration. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) can provide contacts to the correct local outlets for assigning games and proper training for high school umpiring. NFHS: 317-972-6900
Follow these quick, simple steps, and jump start a career in umpiring for youth or high school baseball. Learn the rules, register properly, and network with other umpires and maybe one day the pros will come calling.