National Umpires Association

“Confidence or Arrogance”

Jim Stros - Director


There are many times through the course of a game, or season for that matter, when our judgment is challenged. This challenge may come from a player, coach, manager, or our even our partner. The greatest challenge to handle these questions comes from within our selves. That is not to say that we should ignore questions or concerns that are thrown towards us on the field. On the contrary, it is up to each individual to be confident in himself and his judgment to respond to these concerns to the best of his ability. To be arrogant is not the answer.

To distinguish the umpires who are arrogant from those who are confident. (You might know some of them!) The arrogant umpire (after arriving at the field 5-10 minutes before game-time) storms onto the field, barks out the ground rules without introductions, avoids any communication with his partner, and runs the game with what he thinks is an iron fist. His games linger, because he spends too much time between innings telling anybody within earshot what a great official he is. His calls are abrupt, his mechanics are nondescript, as he sort of moves his feet, but not his entire body, to get into position to make a call. He responds to players coaches, managers, and fellow officials with a "How dare you ask me a question," defiant attitude. He is a totally self-centered umpire.

The confident official, on the other hand, gives himself plenty of time to travel to the game, and enjoys the camaraderie of going over the dynamics of the fields with his fellow official. He establishes a cordial yet professional relationship with the managers as he knowingly explains the ground rules. He communicates with his partner before, during, and after the game, and runs the game with a crisp, focused manner. His calls are thoughtful and precise, his mechanics are sharp and defined, and he hustles on every play to get into proper position for a call. He responds to players, coaches, managers, and fellow officials with a thoroughness which belies his knowledge of the situation. He is a relationship umpire.

The arrogant official is rude; the confident official is patient. The arrogant official is "my way or the highway," the confident official is "Let's talk about that play." The arrogant official talks and hears, while the confident official speaks and listens. That is not to say that there will not be times in our profession when we temporarily lose it and start screaming; but if you take a confident knowledge of the rules, and the strategies you will learn from experienced umpires you work with from time to time, that will be the exception rather than the rule. The arrogant official instigates rhubarbs because he thinks he knows it all, the confident official uses his inner knowledge and patience as a defense against rhubarbs. I have one question I ask! Which umpire are you?