Another installment of my ongoing series (see Article: Use Your 6th Sense To Succeed and Article: Expert Performance in Umpiring), I though I'd share this article from the March issue of Referee magazine on the topic of Anger Management. This has come into play for me lately as I've had the opportunity to be the Senior Umpire (a combination of UM and umpire) at two national championships here in Canada. When I briefed the umpiring team, I focused on a few issues, one of which was communication with players and coaches on and off the field. Having been exposed to the practise in the English NL of sitting down with coaches/managers and captains after the game over teas and seeing how constructive (although not always easy) garnering this feedback can be, I wanted to bring it back home and really open up what has been a closed shop in our umpiring community for many years. The results were very interesting. Obviously some umpires were better equipped to hear feedback that wasn't always pretty, and others had far less skills and experience in dealing with an angry or very negative coach after a game. What I wanted to see was that we as a team didn't shy away from getting the messages and, by our willingness to hear people out, prove that we're truly interested in not only improving our standard by being more empathetic to the players and coaches from a hockey perspective, but also in being accountable for the things which we need to improve. One reaction I saw out of umpires on a few occasions was anger. When met with an angry coach, they responded in kind. Not lashing out in the same way, but being unable at that time to find another approach - call it diplomacy, tact, mediation, whatever - to cool off a confrontational situation. The common reaction was to get authoritative and order an end to the dialogue. If it was during a game, "I don't want to hear any more out of you!" combined with death looks and pointed fingers, or off the pitch, "I don't want to talk to you." I feel like this is going to be a big challenge for me in helping other umpires. For many of us who've been around for a while, this is a very different approach and change is never easy. For the youngsters, it can be really intimidating to deal with peers and older adults at this level. I'm wondering, in the context of these comments and the article, what kinds of approaches you've tried to manage your own anger as an umpire and perhaps overcome the knee-jerk defensive reaction it's very easy for us to get into? Have you employed any particular strategies? Did a particular person help teach you how to manage your anger better, and how did they do it?