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As has been the practice in recent years the Kanto Cricket League committee organized a KCL umpiring seminar and actively encouraged all teams to send representatives so as to further improve the level of umpiring in the KCL competition as well as in cricket in general. 

Twelve teams were represented by 18 participants.  The KCL committee defined a few points to be discussed at the seminar:

-challenges of umpiring in a country like Japan
-umpire's duties and responsibilities
-preparations before, conduct during and responsibilities after the match 

These points were integrated into the seminar along with issues identified through feedback from the Japan Umpires Improvement Program that has been running this season.  Issues from the feedback that were dealt with in the seminar were:

- Technique – Umpiring positioning in various situations.
- Dress Code – Importance of looking like an Umpire.
- Time Awareness - Getting the game started. Keeping the game moving.
- Communication – Pre-game with Capt.’s., Calls and Signals during the game.

The seminar started with a brain-storming session identifying the challenges of umpiring in Japan.  The participants worked in 3 groups and identified a wide range of issues and problems we face.  We then identified things that were out of our control,  things we have made improvements on recently, and also the many things we have improved on but can still improve through continued hard-work e.g. time management.

A heavy emphasis was placed on the huge importance of “Preparation” whether  it be pre-match day communication with captains, game day greetings and bond building, pre-toss discussions with captains or just getting your own personal things prepared – uniform, equipment, transport and supplies.

We then moved onto some technical issues of the game.  Positioning of the umpire related to the ball hit to the filed was looked at and a series of question and situations discussed. Signals, calls and the timing of these calls and signals were looked at in groups and a good discussion followed.  The participants were of a level that they were able to help each other out and supply sound advice to each other which made my task for the day easier.

I finished up the seminar with a few helpful hints on looking the part and keeping the game flowing, as well as a short “test” made up of situations drawn from various umpiring resources that have come into my possession over the last 3 or 4 years.  These situations and ensuing discussions got the participants into some animated discussion and had the desired effect of stimulating interest in the rule books I gave out at the end of the session that finished with the cleaners knocking the door down.

I’d like to thank all the participants for their contributions and questions as well their much needed assistance in translation at times.  Also thanks to the KCL committee, Kei Imamura and Mr.Yamamoto(FFECC) for their efforts in preparation.