Starting off 2020 with a new Western Regional Umpire Director, Fergus Gould, the USPA Umpires LLC has been raising their game on the west coast. Conducting a rules review at Eldorado Polo Club in Indio, California, the umpires started the year by reviewing the 2020 rule changes with over 100 players in attendance. Dr. Mike Manno also discussed equine welfare during the meeting.

emotional intelligence workshop

Over 100 people attended the 2020 rules review at Eldorado Polo Club.

Attending the 2019 National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Conference, the USPA umpires heard from Rachelle Strawther, M.A., from the Gonzaga University School of Leadership in Spokane, Washington. The USPA Umpires, LLC, brought her in at the start of 2020 to facilitate a one-day workshop at Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and empathy. “The takeaway for all of us were techniques for more effective communication and ways to deal with and diffuse conflict in a positive manner,” Gould said.

Conducted by Gould, a training camp was also held at the beginning of January for professional umpires. “We spend the first day and a half in the classroom going over the rules and procedures in depth as well as watching videos to reinforce those concepts,” Gould said. “The last two days are focused on umpiring matches and reviewing the performance of the umpires and their decision-making process.” The following week, Gould held another camp for amateur umpires focused on giving them a strong foundation of knowledge to build on for those interested in pursuing the professional umpire program in the future.

Training sessions

Umpires work out with strength and conditioning trainer, Becky Schaller, twice a week.

The USPA Umpires, LLC, has been working with strength and conditioning trainer, Becky Schaller, a polo player and former fitness model twice a week. Schaller focuses on cardio fitness and core stability to help the umpires with long days in the saddle and to aid in injury prevention. “We’ve definitely seen a benefit especially on busy Sundays when many of the umpires have three games in a day,” Gould said. “They’ve have a lot more stamina once we implemented the weekly training.” Many umpires are making significant lifestyle changes as a result, the weekly regiment has helped with the overall health and well-being of the umpires as they prepare for the demands of a busy season.



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