I am an assistant district administrator who holds the position of director of umpire development for Dictrict 12 Little League. I began instructing boys and girls in how to officiate Little League games in 2003. At that time, I provided instruction to only those at Nottingham Little League in District 12 in New Jersey. After several seasons, it became apparent that other leagues in the district could also benefit from the same instruction.

Over the years, members from other districts in the area, coaches who “knew” the game and wanted to understand the “real” rules of the game, and parents whose kids have played and moved on, have attended the sessions. Most of the attendees to the Umpire Academy are high school and college students.

The class is offered two times a week in two different locations (West Windsor and Hamilton)for four weeks from 6:30 to 8 p.m. If a student or adult cannot attend one night, he/she can attend the other night as each class starts and stops in the same place. One night will focus on field mechanics and rules. Another night will focus on plate mechanics and positioning. Each session night is 90 minutes long with take-home quizzes at the end of each session. The fifth week of the academy is test night where we give out awards for “Best on the Test.”

What comes next is the on-field practical. That is where all the officials from both classes gather together on a Sunday afternoon in March, work through 4 different stations, and then finally conclude with all officials doing the Basic 6 in unison.

Our schedule of classes for 2018 is as follows: West Windsor at the Senior Center: Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13, and Feb. 20.

Hamilton at Reynolds Middle School: Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14 and Feb. 21.

Exam Nights are Feb. 27, 6 to 8 p.m. at the West Windsor Senior Center, and Feb. 28, 6 to 8 p.m. at Reynolds Middle School.

The On-Field Practical is March 11 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Further information can be found at the district’s website at njdistrict12.org. Click on the umpire tab for the registration form and other details.

— John Shutack
Shutack is the assistant district administrator of N.J. District 12 Little League and director of umpire development.