2020 Guide To Professional Umpire School : Top 20 Tips

As a staff member at the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School from 2009-2013, I thought I would give some aspiring minor league umpires some helpful tips on what to do and what not do at umpire school. 

This is my list in no specific order:

1- When you receive criticism from an instructor or staff member, always answer "Yes sir/ mam, I will fix it" Every instructor is going to have a different way of doing something. The one thing they do not want to hear is "But instructor John told me to do it this way"

2- In morning formation, everything is always crisp and sharp. Look your best. Instructors are watching. 

3-Always hustle. If you're going from point A to point B and if you can jog or run, do it. I'm referring to off the field situations. If you're going from the cages to the field and you can run. Just got ahead and do it. 

4- Always go where you're needed. Fill a spot. If its a simulated/control game, go be a runner, be a bat boy, play 1st , pitch, etc. 

5- Do not get caught falling asleep in class.

6- Always keep your eyes on your own test.

7- Don't stay in the same study group. Mix it up with your classmates.

8- Character should never come into question. Stay humble & work hard. 

9- Be the first one on the field and the last one off.

10- Don't fool around in the cages. Stay on task. Help your peers when you can!

11- If you are out socially with your classmates after class hours, stay away from places where you can be seen by instructors/staff members. Everyone wants to have a good time while they are there & trust me you will! But you don't want to give the wrong impression if you're seen too many times outside socially.

12- Keep your hotel room clean. If you can, tip the housekeeper.

13- During control/simulated games, they want to see improvement. Don't make the same mistake twice.

14- If you know an instructor or someone on staff, act like you don't know them.

15- Do not just ask a question to ask a question. If its a question that will benefit the group or field then ask it. Do not just ask a question to be that person. 

16- Wear a suit & tie on the first day (or at least a blazer or sports coat) First impressions are everything.

17- Males, make sure you are clean shaven every day.

18- You will interact with the people you meet at school for years to come. Everyone is trying to get a job in Minor League Baseball and eventually Major League Baseball. Be a good person.

19- Dress sharp on the field. Press your pants, iron your shirt and crease your hat.

20- Don't mess up 1-19.

I hope you find this list helpful and wish you all nothing but the most success in your umpiring career. I went to umpire school January 2009 as a student. Ten years later some of my best friends in life are people I met at umpire school. 

- In Solidarity,

Michael A. Dorantes




1 comment

  • Michael, this a very helpful listing of tips for guys that plan on attending umpire school.
    I attended Brink-Froeming Umpire School in 91’ and I wish I would have had your list before I went. I ended up on the threshold as the 22nd student in my class, they took 21 to UD, that year. Although I felt I should have finished higher, I realized that there were some areas I could have done a better job at. Maturity has been a big part of that realization.
    I have had a successful career as a NCAA umpire and a fill in for Minor League organizations.
    Great article.

    Todd Phipps

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