EARN YOUR STRIPES! ATTEND OR HOST AN UMPIRE CLINIC AT YOUR CLUB | U.S. POLO ASSN.

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EARN YOUR STRIPES! ATTEND OR HOST AN UMPIRE CLINIC AT YOUR CLUB

May 13, 2024 8:33 PM

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Held over the course of two or three days, umpire clinics allow clubs and members to generate a greater wealth of rules knowledge and practices. ©David Murrell
Held over the course of two or three days, umpire clinics allow clubs and members to generate a greater wealth of rules knowledge and practices. ©David Murrell

On a mission to create a greater wealth of rules knowledge among USPA Members and Member Clubs, Umpires LLC is continuing to hold umpire clinics and training sessions across the country. Clinics can be geared towards grass polo, arena polo or both. Clinics cost the club $700.00 and include approximately 2-4 hours of classroom time for umpire trainees and an additional 3-4 hours of rules review classroom time for all players and umpires over the course of two or three days.

“The rules constantly evolve in both grass and arena polo, and it is important for clubs and umpires to be aware of rules and procedural changes and use them in practical applications.”  – Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle

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 the radio with the clinician to get real-time instruction and guidance. Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle shared, “The rules constantly evolve in both grass and arena polo, and it is important for clubs and umpires to be aware of rules and procedural changes and use them in practical applications.” Umpire clinics also feature Rules Review sessions to help players understand how games are umpired.

Professional Umpire Robin Sanchez. ©Josh Kizziar
Professional Umpire Robin Sanchez. ©Josh Kizziar

“Understanding what an umpire looks for makes you a much better, safer, more conscientious player.”  – Gillian Young, Umpire Clinic Participant

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 have gone through some sort of training to know how to be an umpire and understand the rules.”

"Being able to have a deeper understanding of the rules and knowing what different types of fouls look like is very helpful," said umpire clinic attendee Sydney Morris. "It improves my ability to read a play and how to avoid giving the other team penalty shots. Learning about potential dangerous situations helps me avoid those situations for myself and my teammates, creating a safer playing environment. Clinics improve my relationship and leadership in different polo clubs. I am able to umpire in games when needed, which not only helps the club, but the players. Being able to explain each foul and the correct play is incredibly helpful especially at clubs with new members just learning polo. I can assist running club chukkers, keeping everything running smoothly and safely, while also helping players deepen their understanding of the game," Morris continued.

Expressing her appreciation for the knowledge gained amongst participants, Gillian Young expressed, “I attend almost every umpire clinic I can. I’ve received my C1 arena umpire certification, but I still learn something new every time. Understanding what an umpire looks for makes you a much better, safer, more conscientious player.”

Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle.
Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle.

2024 UMPIRE CLINICS

May 24-26: Greater Niagara Polo Club (Wainfleet, Ontario) – Arena & Outdoor
June 14-16: Ople Polo Club (Fombell, Pennsylvania) – Arena
June 21-23: Barrington Hills Polo Club (Wauconda, Illinois) – Intercollegiate/Interscholastic, Arena & Outdoor
June TBD: Polo Club TBA (Cincinnati, Ohio)
June TBD: Play Polo Club (Columbus, Ohio) – Outdoor
July TBD: Polo Club TBA (Northern Virginia, Virginia) – Arena & Outdoor
August 10-11: Rose City Polo Club (Molalla, Oregon) – Arena & Outdoor
August 23-25: Hillside Farm Polo Club (Richfield, Wisconsin) – Arena
August 30 - September 2: Flat Out (Rockford, Michigan) – Arena
September 20-22: Yale Polo Club (Bethany, Connecticut) – Arena
October 25-27: Central Coast Polo Club’s Mustang Madness (Los Osos, California) – Arena
November 14-17: Legends Polo Club's Fall Fandango (Kaufman, Texas) – Arena

For those interested in becoming a certified umpire, it is important to first take the online test, which can be found below. Learn more about hosting an umpire clinic below or by reaching out to USPA Umpire Robin Sanchez at polorsanchez@gmail.com or Arena Umpire Director Bradley Biddle at bbiddle@uspolo.org.