Umpire Nic Findlay just returned from her first Australian Championships (U15) umpiring position. Read about her experience below!
Q1) How did you first get involved with softball?
I first got involved in softball by playing teeball at primary school and also at a club level. I went on to play for Bundaberg at State Championships and in the Queensland Primary Schools team. During high school I took a hiatus from the game, but started playing again a few years after I graduated.
Q2) Why did you choose to get into umpiring? What is it you enjoy about umpiring?
When I started playing again, there was always a shortage of players who wanted to do club umpiring duties, so I found myself volunteering most weekends. After a while, I spoke with the local Umpiring Director Michael Trost and started the red shirt trainee program. The part about umpiring that I enjoy the most is having the closest view on some of the best games being played.
Q3) What was your umpiring path to being part of the U15 Australian Championships?
I nominated for the U15 Australian Championships back in May not thinking I would be selected. I received an email from Darren Sibraa in early September to notify us that we had been successful. In preparation for Nationals, I umpired as many games as I could including at Open Women’s State Championships, Gold Coast, Redlands, Ipswich and Brisbane. One weekend in Brisbane I umpired games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night to get my game time and confidence up.
Q4) How did you go at the Australian Championships? How is it different to umpiring at a club or state level? Would you do it again?
Australian Championships is definitely a tournament that I will nominate for again in the future. Over the 7 days, I umpired 13 games (8 bases and 5 plates) including the privilege of first base duty on the Grand Final. I feel like I am a better umpire now thanks to the feedback and discussions from Tournament Chief Umpire Kevin Tannebring, Assessor Robert McIntosh and the fantastic crew of Open Women’s and U15 umpires.
The difference is every step higher the intensity levels increase. Umpiring a club round game versus a grand final, the intensity in the final is a lot higher as there’s more at stake. The same goes for then umpiring at State and then Australian Championships. My goal is to not get caught up in that intensity and do my best to make the right call.
Q5) Do you have any advice for new umpires or those that want to get into higher levels of umpiring?
My advice to new umpires and those wanting to advance is to ask lots of questions, be open to feedback and umpire as many tournaments as possible. By taking on feedback from assessors and senior umpires, you can significantly improve in only a few days at a tournament. Make the most of every opportunity and no question is a silly one.