Play Together MN is a collaboration initiative between the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission and local youth, amateur and professional sports groups, aiming to recruit and support referees and officials. Created in response to the difficulty that COVID-19 implications placed onto the industry, the mission of Play Together MN is focused on bringing together sports leaders in Minnesota with the aim to improve safety, promote sportsmanship and increase participation of youth and amateur athletes.
Extending from Play Together MN to reach specifically to umpires, the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission has created the campaign Step Up to the Plate, Minnesota! to support the recruitment of new umpires and the community of existing umpires.
Why should I become an umpire?
Becoming an umpire has many benefits. You are able to view the game from a different perspective as an official than you are when you are playing or watching. This allows you greater knowledge of the sport and its rules and allows you greater appreciation of what an official goes through during a game.
Aside from benefits that help you on the field, starting a career as an official will benefit you in ways that will help off of the field as well. Officiating helps build your leadership presence, allows you experience working in high pressure situations, along with decision-making and conflict resolution skills.
Where Do I Start?
Training and registration are the first steps to becoming an umpire. Training gives an official the basics to officiate a game. Registration gets the official games and insurance should they be sued or injured. Reach out to your local umpire associations to see what they have to offer for training. Some resources are the following:
MYAS (Minnesota Youth Athletic Services) — Umpire training taking place both in the spring and virtually. Click here for the virtual clinic happening this summer, and check back to Minnesota Youth Athletic Services for opportunities next spring for in-person clinics.
MSHSL (Minnesota State High School League) — Registration to become an official in many sports. Click Here to start the process of becoming an official.
What Should I Know Before Becoming an Umpire?
It is key to have understanding of game play and rules for the sport you are looking to officiate. This allows you to be in the best possible position to see and make correct calls. The transition from playing or watching a game to officiating a game involves furthering your knowledge of rules and fair play.
There is a lot that goes into becoming an official. Time, effort, travel, and cost are all things to consider before you start your time as an umpire. Officiating is a wonderful and rewarding opportunity. It requires passion and love for the sport and determination to better playing experience for everyone.
Click here for more information from the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission about officiating and further resources to get started. Click here to head to Play Together MN, who will be hosting an Officiating Expo on August 6th. Keep an eye on their website or MASC social media for more info!