On a mission to create a greater wealth of rules knowledge among USPA Members and Member Clubs, Umpires LLC is making a concerted effort to hold a large number of umpire clinics and training sessions across the country. Spearheaded by Umpires LLC Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle, umpire clinics can be geared towards grass polo, arena polo, or both. Clinics cost the club $700.00 and include approximately 5-7 hours of classroom time over the course of three days.
Participants will learn about proper positioning on the field, procedures, ball placement and fouls. Clinics will also include chukkers and/or games where participants will umpire while on radio with the clinician to get real-time instruction and guidance. Biddle shared, “The idea is not only to learn the rules, but if members are interested in being certified, they need to be viewed. They can only be viewed by people like myself or a professional umpire.” Umpire clinics also feature Rules Review sessions for players at the club to help them understand how games are umpired.
So far in 2022, umpire clinics have been held at Sugarbush Polo Club (North Ferrisburg, Vermont), Lancaster Polo Club (Lititz, Pennsylvania), Westchester (Newport) Polo Club (Portsmouth, Rhode Island), El Caso Polo Club (Quemado, New Mexico), Texas Arena League and Pacific Coast Arena League.
Professional Umpire Robin Sanchez. ©Jim Bremner
While the clinics are a great opportunity for those interested in learning how to become an umpire, the benefits are two-fold. Another goal of the program is for certified individuals to bring their newfound knowledge of rules and procedures to their home clubs, and others, to help facilitate safe and fun chukkers, practices and tournaments. As Biddle notes, “Having a certified umpire is a benefit to any small club. It means they’ve gone through some sort of training to know how to be an umpire and understand the rules.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Umpires LLC also created bi-montly Zoom calls for further training with a select group of certified umpires. Patrick Quigly, a frequent umpire at Newport Polo Club shared, “The certified umpire training, especially the zoom calls, have been an invaluable tool for ensuring the judgement calls we are making at my club and the others I visit are aligned with the judgement of the pros.”
For those interested in becoming a certified umpire, it’s important to first take the online test, which can be found below. You can also learn more about hosting an umpire clinic below or by reaching out to Bradley Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.