Is your softball bag or automobile trunk of gear packed for the season ahead? If so, are items easy to locate? It can be a helpless feeling while driving to a game and knowing, or at least having a very strong feeling, that you may have forgotten to pack an essential item for the game(s) that day.
Many umpires will use two bags — one for gear and the other for clothing — that are made of a durable fabric, have wheels for pulling and zippered compartments. Make sure that each bag has a distinctive marking or a name tag to identify it.
As you prepare for the season, make sure your equipment bag and clothing bag have the following essentials.
- Protective equipment — shin guards, mask in a protective bag, chest protector, crotch guard/cup, sunglasses, neoprene sleeves (knees, elbows, ankles, etc.).
- Shoes — base shoes and plate shoes.
- Accessories — belt, indicator (at least two), pencils/pens, lineup holder, base brush/plate brush, pregame notes, odor eliminator product, shoe polish/cleaner (brush, towel, polishing gloves to keep hands clean).
- Personal items — ibuprofen/other medications, sunscreen, travel-size sewing kit, hem tape, shower items, bandages, ice bag, wrinkle release spray, hygiene items (mouth wash, tooth brush, floss, gum, mints, etc.), deck of cards (for any long rain delay).
- Undergarments — heat gear (white/navy undershirts, socks), cold gear (dark leggings, mock or turtle neck long-sleeve shirts, wind jacket[s]/plastics, warm socks, gloves, hand warmers).
- Uniform — heather gray and/or navy base pants and plate pants (two pair or more as needed for a tournament), plain shirts (short sleeve base and larger-sized plate shirt to fit over chest protector, and long-sleeve base and larger-sized plate shirt), plain navy jacket and/or navy jacket with powder/white shoulder piping, at least two plate and base hats (plain navy).
- Dirty clothes bag — to keep worn items in one place.
With the essential items in place and replaced after your game(s), you will have more time for rules, mechanics and philosophy, rather than wondering if you have left something behind.
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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.
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