Swift Current Minor Baseball hosts the clinics this weekend (March 18-19) at Ecole Centennial School.
Martin, who was named the 2016 Baseball Builder of the Year by Saskatchewan Baseball, is no longer technically on the board, but is still co-ordinating the umpires for Swift Current Minor Baseball. His job is to recruit, mentor and schedule potential and trained umpires in Swift Current and southwest Saskatchewan for a variety of levels of play including minor ball up to senior men’s SaskAlta league.
Baseball is big in southwest Saskatchewan and with AA and AAA-level minor baseball teams in Swift Current, there is a need for umpires.
“I remember two years, we had five double headers in one day. It’s never an issue if I have enough work ...,” explains Martin.
“We try to keep tabs on who is working what games so we spread out who is working the games so it’s an equal amount of work. Sometimes people are available. A good chunk of the time you can work pretty much as much as you want – not including all the tournaments.”
There were a couple of older umpires who decided to retire this year in order to give themselves a break. While Martin isn’t pushing the panic button on needing umpires, there is definitely a desire to get some new and younger umpires involved. The last thing Martin wants to have happen is work burn out amongst his game officials. The more umpires that can be developed over a period of time, the better.
“We never want to leave the kids or me short (of umpires),” says Martin mentioning the two who retired this year. “They want to slow down and do some other things ... so we definitely need for some (newer umpires) to move up and definitely need some younger ones to take their places.”
The more umpires they can get trained and working the younger age group games, the more time the experienced umpires have freed up to do mentoring and teaching.
The training for rookie/inexperienced umpires is split into two levels. That way there’s a solid base from which to start.
Once that initial base is covered and mastered and working with younger teams, then umpires can move on to more advanced training and learning to handle all situations which come up in more advanced games.
Martin is proud of the fact the training umpires receive in Swift Current is the best possible.
He says Swift Current umpires are generally highly regarded and some of the best in the province.
“We always get really good comments after the fact,” says Martin. “Coaches from other teams always comment that the umpiring is fair and impartial.”
One only has to look at the number of high-level tournaments in the city the last number of years to verify that Swift Current is seen as a good place to play.
Added to that is the fact the games take place in high-quality facilities.
While the money earned by being an umpire can accumulate — Martin says a typical Mosquito game for example can fetch $30 — life skills are definitely a benefit.
Some of the skills gained include learning to communicate better with many different ages of people, teaching relationship-building skills, learning how to make decisions, assertiveness/confidence training and working as part of a team.
“I’m a huge advocate on life skills being learned in sports,” adds Martin.
There are two days of the clinic with the first being Saturday, March 18 with Level 1.2 (defence). Participants are asked to register at 8:45 a.m. Clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and $30 registration fee. Sunday, March 19 is Level 2.1 (offence). Register at 8:45 a.m., clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and $30 registration fee.
Martin says he appreciates the fact Swift Current Minor Baseball have helped with hosting the clinic and Baseball Saskatchewan can help with registration costs for those dedicated to umpiring for the year.
Ecole Centennial School is located 2220 Woodrow Lloyd Place in Swift Current and those going to the clinic are asked to enter the building from the east parking lot.
For information, contact Martin at 306-778-3599 home or 306-741-3584 cell (text).
To register a child to play this coming season, go to: http://swiftcurrentminorbaseball.ca/registration/.