PLAY BALL: Lismore's Jesse Smith is a level 7 accredited softball umpire who in 2019 officiated at the World championships in California, US. Smith said officials need to be as fit as the players in order to umpire.
PLAY BALL: Lismore's Jesse Smith is a level 7 accredited softball umpire who in 2019 officiated at the World championships in California, US. Smith said officials need to be as fit as the players in order to umpire.

Are you as fit as an international softball umpire?

SPRINTING, stretching, doing squats and running 1km in under 10 minutes.

These are just some of the tough fitness requirements that internationally accredited softball umpire Jesse Smith has to meet in order stay eligible to officiate at world championship events.

While the local softball season may be over, staying as fit and flexible as possible is an ongoing goal for senior umpires such as Smith.

In 2019 he officiated at the World Championship in California, which he said required all his physical and mental toughness.

"At this level of umpiring there are fitness protocols you must meet to be considered for an international appointment," he said.

"This includes an agility test, being able to run 1km in less than 10 minutes and sprint 30m in less than 10 seconds."

And it's not only physical toughness which is assessed.

Softball is an international sport and umpires have to demonstrate an incredible understanding of the rules in order to make consistent and correct decisions in often complex game situations.

Smith said last month he also sat a 100 question exam over two and half hours which required a minimum pass rate of 90 per cent.

"These are the thresholds that umpires must meet as you are required to engage with quite complicated case plays," he said.

"The World Baseball Softball Confederation fitness protocols require me to demonstrate and send in monthly reports via the International Director of Umpires on how quickly I could run, do skills sessions such as squats and undertake the agility test," he said.

"And the expectation is that the numbers will improve."

Off the diamond, Smith is deputy principal of Trinity Catholic College and he acknowledges the challenges and benefits which online training has for sport and the classroom.

"Softball NSW has been publishing activities online such as things players can do to stay fit and motivated," he said.

"There are also lots of instructional videos the international umpiring programs have uploaded to help umpires reach their physical fitness goals."



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