Bob Stanton, director of umpires for the ISF, recently travelled to London to present the first ISF Slow Pitch umpire course in Europe in almost a decade.

The course ran from the 8th to the 11th of May and after two intensive days of instruction and practical work at the Richings Park Softball club the crew of umpires then went to the Diamond 1 Series tournament for two days of field assessments.

In attendance on the course were Christopher Moon and Pete Saunders (Both GB), Derek Harnett and James O’ Farrell (Both IRL), Francois Mays (FR) and Ralf Juergen-Rex (GER). Bob was assisted by Mike Jennings (GB)

Most of the Umpires on the course had worked together over recent years on the ESF cups and championships and so they quickly fell into the rapport that is usual when crews work closely together. This meant that the coursework and presentations, while slightly less formal than a class room process, were intensely reviewed and discussed.

ISF certification requires umpires to be able to adapt to different mechanics and scenarios as well as refine their skills and technique to be able to call games at the pinnacle of the sport. The umpires that attended had to initially pass a qualification exam with a minimum acceptable score of 90%. Once passed they had to be approved by their governing federation and then they were allowed attend. Throughout the two days of class work they were assessed and had to make presentations on case studies and mechanics as well as practical field work on plate mechanics and calls. Then two days of three man crewing at the “A” grade of the Diamond series, where each umpire was assessed for their pace, fitness and mechanics as well as a considerable number of other elements.

Once the games were done the crew went on to umpire more games around the tournament while Bob calculated the scores, combining their pre-test results with their on field practicals, presentations and games at the Plate, 1st and 3rd base. After the anxious wait was over each umpire was presented with their results. All 6 of the umpires passed the course with each one getting past the 90% minimum combined score and they now join an elite group of less than 150 umpires world wide with this license. They also qualify to umpire at the ISF World championships, the next one currently on the calendar for January 2014 in Plant City Florida.

Thanks go to Gabriele Waage and Andrea Marcon of the ESF, Mike Jennings and Christopher Moon of the BSF, Jes Sandhu of BASU and especially to Bob Stanton at the ISF. Congratulations to all of those who passed.

If you would like to learn how to umpire please contact your federation’s umpire co-ordinator and if you want to advance your Umpire career path to ESF and maybe ISF levels you should contact Andrea Marcon, Director of Umpires at the ESF.

James O' Farrell