Newly appointed Director of Umpires Raoul Machalet presents his team of Umpires in Chiefs and their goals in a letter to the Softball community.

Dear Softball Europe Umpires and friends in the Softball Community,

It is with great pride that I accept the position of Softball Europe Director of Umpires. I am truly humbled by Carolien Stadhouders' proposal to follow her in this position. She and I have worked together for many years and I can only hope that I am able to bring the same amount of passion for Softball and the same drive around the development of our umpires and continue to further our program.

First and foremost, I want to thank Carolien for the endless amount of hours she has worked over the past years. She is not only a great leader but has become a true friend and has certainly made my experiences in Softball memorable. I am extremely happy that she will continue with WBSC in her role as a Regional Umpire Coordinator for Europe, and that I can still count on her for support as an advisor and friend.

My passion has always been with the development of umpires. I followed this passion while leading the German National umpire program as well as during my time as a WBSC umpire on and off the field.

As an inactive Umpire, I was lucky to be able to continue in such a role as Softball Europe Umpire in Chief and Deputy Director of Umpires in charge of the development for Softball Europe. To me, umpire development means spreading the joy of umpiring and the passion for the game to other umpires. Helping them understand the true meaning of the rules and not just the words in a rulebook. Umpiring nowadays is not only about pure execution of the rules but also about managing the game, establishing the best setting for players and enabling them to their full potential, putting our best into action.

Early in my umpiring career, I learned that communication is the key to game management. Communication is about finding the best means matching the umpire's individual characteristics. In this sense, umpire development is coaching umpires to bring out their potential allowing them to be their best selves.

I am both grateful and thankful for the opportunity the Softball Europe Executive and my family is giving me with this nomination. Keeping in mind that umpiring is a team effort, the same holds true for the Director of Umpires position. Therefore, I am thankful for the strong team that I will be working with.

Hans Hornstra will stay on board and will continue to be in charge of umpire assignments. Starting Player Hans has developed strong expertise over the past years working with Carolien and hence I am delighted that he has agreed to stay on board. Substitute Gian Paolo Pelosi will enter the team to take over the Umpire development program and Utility Player Geri Lindberg will be his assistant as well as a special advisor to me (as she has been in the past years) in aligning with umpire development. And of course, Hall of Fame player Carolien will stay on as the WBSC Regional Umpire Coordinator. We are so lucky she will stay on board and that we can utilize her well-established network which will only continue to support our umpire program.

It goes without saying that this is an All-Star team, and I am very confident, that we will have a good start next season – especially since the amount of tournaments scheduled next year will be a challenge.  
Knowing this, we plan to offer an online-based certification clinic at the beginning of next year, which will be followed by a one-day in-person clinic and an on-field evaluation. This should not be seen as a reaction to Covid-19 but rather, going forward, will be a prototype for future certification clinics making them more accessible to nominees from national umpire programs.

It will remain my goal as Softball Europe Director of Umpires to support national umpire programs and federations to foster the sustainable development of their individual programs. We hope that we can encourage national federations to use our regional umpire clinics and the established „umpire facilitators pool“ as tools for umpire development.
We will also increase the level of communication to and between national umpire programs and national Umpire in Chiefs. Softball Europe wants to support umpire development, because we know that only strong and healthy national umpire programs can help Softball Europe to stay strong.
We will continue to work on our mechanics and develop them to suit the speed and athleticism of today’s game.

We invite all umpires and especially national Umpire in Chiefs but also other representatives from national federations to work with us on these tasks because we #lovesoftball and we want to #sharethepassion!

Raoul Machalet
Softball Europe Director of Umpires