The French-speaking Association of Baseball and Softball (AFBS, Association Francophone de Baseball et Softball), in cooperation with the French Federation of Baseball-Softball (FFBS) and, in particular, with the support of the Baseball Umpiring and Softball Umpiring National Commissions, organized on 18, 19 November a Clinic for Umpiring Instructors at the French National institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance (INSEP) in Paris.
The event was supported and co-funded by the European Union ERASMUS + Program allocated to the French Speaking Association of Baseball and Softball for umpire’s training. The grant made also possible the organization of more 3 day clinics earlier in the year: 2 in Lithuania and one in Bulgaria.
The main purpose of the weekend was not to learn “how to call balls or strikes” but to learn how to teach the art of umpiring. The clinic happened at the same time with the implementation of a new education plan for umpires in France. This new plan is based on a common first level for baseball and softball, that before were separated.
Paris welcomed umpires Arnoldas Ramanauskas (WBSC baseball and Confederation of European Baseball, CEB) from Lituania; Zilvinas Bareika (CEB Umpire) from Lituania; Christian Manea (CEB Umpire) from Romania; Selim Creiche, Yves Rihs, Martin Savard from Switzerland. A total 19 french trainees from all the country joined the clinic.
Speakers at the clinic in Paris were: Stephane Larzul (teacher), AFBS and FFBS Baseball Umpiring Instructor, in charge of Baseball Umpiring training in France; Franck Lautier, WBSC and ESF Umpire, AFBS and FFBS Baseball and Softball Umpiring Instructor, in charge of Softball Umpiring training in France; Aina Rajohnson (teacher), AFBS and FFBS Baseball Umpiring Instructor, Member of the Baseball Umpiring National Commission;Serge Makouchetchev, baseball umpire for WBSC and CEB, FFBS Baseball Umpiring Instructor; Fabien Carrette-Legrand, baseball umpire for WBSC and CEB, AFBS and FFBS Baseball Umpiring Instructor.
The 2 day clinic was structured on sessions about teaching methods, pedagogy and evaluation of trainee umpires. Tools and skills developed for the purpose are now available to umpiring instructors. Of course, these tools are available on request to the whole French-speaking baseball and softball community. If interested, please contact FFBS via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furthermore, a DVD on Baseball Umpiring in French was offered to every participant.
Didier Seminet, the President for CEB and FFBS, AFBS Chairman and WBSC Continental Vice President for Europe, met the trainees and had a chance to exchange a few words with them.
On a final note, the clinic allowed all the attendees to share their experience and acquire more knowledge. The growing of international partnerships looks like the key to improve the education and development of game Officials.