Umpire Boot Camp is a new concept that has been recently launched by USPA Umpires, LLC designed to provide continued training and development of certified amateur polo umpires.  The only requirement for umpires wishing to attend a boot camp program is a “C” rating or higher. An Umpire Boot Camp was conducted in Aiken, South Carolina, October 26-29 and served as the second Boot Camp conducted by the Umpires LLC since the program’s inception. A significant advantage of the new program for those who attend is that Umpires LLC pays all expenses except for travel to and from Boot Camp.

The USPA’s Head Umpire Instructor, Steve Lane, taught the four invited and attending umpires: John Bianco (CCT), Steve Conroy (CC), Gustavo Guano (B) and Karl Hilberg (CCT). Joining Steve Lane were on-field umpires Robert Lyn-Kee-Chow (P1), Ka’aina DeCoite (P2) and George Olivas (P4).

 The format for the training was familiar to those that have attended USPA Umpire Clinics in the past. Classroom discussion of rules were accompanied by a review of umpire videos on Dartfish*, along with feedback and review of how the umpires did on the field. The major advantage in Boot Camp is the level of experience the lead instructor brings to the program along with the training the participants get on the field with Professional Umpires.

 L-R Claudio Guano, John Bianco, Steve Lane, Karl Hilberg, Steve Conroy.
(L-R) Claudio Guano, John Bianco, Steve Lane, Karl Hilberg, Steve Conroy.

Participants began Boot Camp with a breakfast meeting on Thursday, October 26. Lane answered umpiring questions during breakfast and gave a review on the new rule changes for 2017; including the change to allow clubs to play under International Rules for 8-goal and above. Following the short general session, it was off to umpire the first matches.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all very similar- Dartfish video rules review and umpiring two games a day. On Sunday, the professional umpires along with Lane, discussed with participants their performances on the field as well as reviewed more Dartfish video concluding with observing and discussing the 12-goal tournament games.

Special thanks goes out to Billy Raab, the Aiken and Wagoner Polo Clubs, and of course Umpires, LLC. If you are interested in attending a future Boot Camp, please contact Steve Lane at slane@uspolo.org.

*Dartfish provides an app available to all USPA members that can be downloaded to a smartphone, iPad or computer. The International and USPA Rules Libraries on the Polo Umpire app are comprehensive video libraries allowing players and clubs of all abilities to enhance their understanding of the polo rules and procedures outlined in the 2017 United States Polo Association Rulebook. This educational tool provides real life, in-game examples allowing umpires and players to have access to the same benchmarks, bringing clarity to rules and procedures. For free access to the Polo Umpire app and Rules Video Libraries, CLICK HERE

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