I just returned from the Academy last week. Hilton Head Island is so beautiful with fun restaurants, ice cream, and a great beach: and an alligator at the hotel in the pond. If you’re thinking of signing up for the National Chair Academy in Hilton Head, S.C., here are a few tips before you get there.
Tip 1.Don’t over pack, it’s an island; shorts, skirt, and a bathing suit are all you’ll need or have time for. Oh yeah your racket!!
Tip 2.Read, read, and reread the USTA Solo Chair Umpire handbook and ITF Duties and Procedures for Chair Umpires. Good study guides but don’t be surprised when you get to class that some of the rules have changed.
Tip 3.KNOW the correct verbiage for the pre-match and the introductions; calling score during the match, the end of the game, the end of a set, and at the end of a match. The TE’s want you to be as credible as possible with the players and remember, “If you can’t call the score, what else can’t you do?”
Tip 4.When calling lines and the score you need to master two voices: your Line official’s voice is clear, loud and immediate for service faults and out balls, and your conversational voice to announce the score. You can also use hand signals on close balls.
Tip 5.If your club has a chair available see if you can use it and have your friends play a match. Practice pre-match and introductions with their names! Call all their lines but when you’re not sure ask them if you were right. Your call stands though. LOL. See if you can “sell it.” If you can’t find a chair just stand at the net post. The most important thing is getting comfortable with the technique of checking the receiver, making the call, starting your watch, looking to the loser, announcing the score, finding the balls, then marking your score card.
Tip 6.If you can’t schedule matches with highly skilled players, see if you can chair on Ladies night, Men’s night or Mixed Dbl’s night. You get to see many different players and skill levels.
Tip 7.The last two, but most important skills that take the longest time to master are CONCENTRATION and JUDGEMENT. Both are key to your success. If you are into the match like the players are you will have an opinion on every one of their shots and will be there when they need you. And both only come with experience.
I was very nervous all 4 days but I was also very excited that I was chairing a Professional match.
Lucky Me, Denise Alexander