Basic Questions About STAR
Here are a few a few quick answers to the more common questions
FAQ | STAR Overview
STAR stands for Sports Training and Resources - resources designed to improve youth baseball and softball leagues. You will agree that our kids are why communities are committed to youth sports. So, STAR is here to help. At its core, STAR training and resources are designed to improve safety and sportsmanship and help your league with some common issues and difficulties:
- Recruiting volunteers,
- Providing adequate training,
- Finding cost-effective equipment,
- Ensuring organizational knowledge is passed on, and so on.
So, it starts with the STAR Program - a FREE collection of resources. Next, the STAR Certification Program provides additional training to further enhance and improve your league.
STAR Certification means a commitment to safety and sportsmanship in your games. It means "I am Certified."
- For umpires, it means successful completion of the concise but comprehensive STAR Training. They went out to "Get STAR Certified".
- For leagues, it means taking the next step to become a STAR-Certified League - committed to creating a culture of positive, character-building competition with an excellent experience for the kids.
For a league to get STAR Certified, it starts with requiring your umpires Get STAR-Certified and committing to great sportsmanship for the kids! In turn, STAR-Certified Leagues enjoy more consistent standards of excellence throughout their sports program. They benefit from cost savings and improved volunteer retention. And, they enjoy more competent and confident umpires managing their games! Ultimately, STAR-Certified Leagues improve the experience for their kids!
The STAR Program is one-of-a-kind resources exclusively designed to improve league administration and sportsmanship.
STAR uses certification to create a complete system focused on safety and sportsmanship. For instance, there is no national standard certification program for youth baseball and softball umpires. Even within Little League, there is no 'Certified Umpire' designation. Getting STAR Certified is the only way to demonstrate a standard-level understanding of what umpires CAN and SHOULD do to properly officiate and control the game. Finally, STAR-Certified Leagues bring all of their members together to create a great environment for the kids!
Remember, it costs almost nothing to join the STAR Program and gain basic benefits. That is VERY low cost!
The only ongoing cost is individual training to get STAR-Certified. That said, it is designed to be as cost-effective as possible. See the current pricing.
We find that leagues that employ volunteer umpires typically invest in their umpires. They often provide them a hat and a shirt, gear, and also provide STAR-Certificate vouchers to encourage better-quality umpiring. On the other hand, many leagues pay their umpires. We find many of these leagues require STAR-Certification before they pay them. These leagues treat STAR certification the same as umpire gear and clothing - the responsibility of the individual umpires to obtain.
- Are Your Umpires Volunteers? They are giving their time, don’t they deserve the chance to be best prepared to improve and to succeed?
- Are Your Umpires Paid? Don't the kids deserve a minimum level of competence? Simply, require your umpires get STAR-Certified!
It is a chicken - egg problem!
Have you found that competitive games with weak umpires results in a bad environment for the kids... Or, games with apparently 'better' umpires just seem to go better? We sure have.
There is a strong relationship between (a) leagues with stronger umpire programs and (b) leagues that demonstrate better sportsmanship. That is, leagues with better-behaving parents, and stronger baseball/softball programs usually have stronger umpires and umpire training programs.
In fact, most of the teams that make it to advanced regional play and beyond are both physically strong teams AND exceptionally well-behaved teams. Poor sportsmanship negatively impacts team success.
The STAR Certificate Program is designed to better prepare all of your umpires –such as relatively new ones or the occasional parent or youth umpire – to better understand what umpires SHOULD and CAN do. The program helps them learn to THINK like an umpire!
Bottom line, better umpires ensure better, more sustainable leagues – and a better experience for the kids to develop appropriate life skills.
FAQ | Umpire Certification
Umpires do a LOT more than call balls, strikes, and outs. They manage each game. But, most people who are new at umpiring are completely unaware of what that actually means!
Let's face it - in general - it is difficult to get enough trained and qualified umpires for youth ball. Many times an untrained coach or parent is forced to umpire games. And, many Leagues resort to paying umpires to ensure they have ANY umpires at all!
While coaches and parents might know many of the rules, they rarely understand the many functions and roles of quality umpires. Because they haven’t had adequate training, experience, and mentorship, they are unable to control their games. They get frustrated and swear to never do THAT again!
Umpires who get STAR-Certified gain a much greater understanding of what it means to manage the game.
Because the program is packed full of tips and tricks, the STAR-Certified Umpire Program can benefit all umpires one way or another. But, it is ideally suited for:
- First-year umpires
- Umpires with less experience
- Youth umpires
- Parents that might umpire
- Even Coaches and League Representatives just wanting to better understand umpiring.
Umpire Clinics usually include training on field mechanics and/or rules. They are designed to teach HOW to make calls and WHERE to move on the field (i.e., how to call strikes, outs, fouls, etc. and how to rotate during a play).
STAR Certification provides the WHY these techniques are necessary. STAR training is unique in that it represents a collection of tips, tricks, and techniques that are usually learned over several years working with a mentor.
No question about it, the answer is - BOTH!
STAR Certification is designed to supplement a good on-field umpire clinic. They are designed to provide a different type of instruction. Therefore, there's very little overlap between the two sets of training. We HIGHLY recommend attending both a field mechanics clinic AND STAR training.
Here is an overview of typical lessons:
- FORMAT: Online video that can be viewed on your phone, tablet, or computer.
- CONTENT: Uses a combination of audiovisual lesson points that may include presentation slides, bullet points, illustrative images, animations, and/or video demonstrations.
- LENGTH: Each STAR Certified Umpire lesson is about 5-12 minutes long.
Check with your local youth league or clinic. Many participate in the STAR Program and can provide a discount on pricing.
Once you have successfully concluded all of the lessons and quizzes, you will achieve a Certificate. You will be able to download the Certificate to your computer and print or forward a copy as you wish. If you were connected with a STAR-League, the League will be notified with 14 days.
Just in case:
- You need to share your success quicker,
- Your League is not a STAR member, or
- You need to provide multiple organizations your Certificate.
You can print your Certificate or email it as you need to demonstrate your STAR Certified status.
FAQ | Technical Video Issues
Each STAR lesson can be viewed on computers, laptops, tablets (i.e., Apple Ipads, Galaxy Tabs, etc), or smartphones.
Here is a list of supported browsers/versions:
- Chrome 30+ (has automatic updates)
- Firefox 27+ (has automatic updates)*
- Internet Explorer 11*
- Microsoft Edge
- Safari 9+
We support playback in browsers that can decode H.264 videos in an HTML5 player. Due to rising security vulnerabilities, the video hosting company does not support FlashMedia.
If you’re using an older browser, system, or website, you’ll need to upgrade to continue watching STAR videos.
* NOTE: H.264 video (required for viewing videos) is only supported in Firefox for Windows 7 and later. Firefox versions on Windows XP are no longer supported for playback.
*Older versions of Internet Explorer (IE 10, 9, 8, etc) that lack support for the TLS 1.2 protocol and HTML5 cannot be used to play videos. As of January 12, 2016, Microsoft has stopped releasing updates to older versions of IE. (Microsoft's official statement on IE support can be found here).
To watch STAR videos on your phone or tablet, your device must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Android: Version 5.0+ (Lollipop or greater)
- iOS: Version 9.3.5+
⚠️ Blackberry and Windows phone users:
You may still able to view STAR videos on devices that support HTML5; however, we do not test out our player in these environments and thus cannot guarantee support.