News and Announcements
|• Not knowing the rule.|
|• Misapplying the rule.|
|• Not seeing the whole play.|
|• Being in the wrong position.|
|• Anticipating the call.|
|• A simple mental lapse.|
Know the rule – Not knowing the rule is the easiest shortfall to correct. Rulebooks are not designed for leisure reading and it's difficult to pick one up and stay with it for long, but you can learn by studying the rule you missed (or thought you missed) and any associated material. Reading casebook plays and researching specific points is a good way to learn rules. It can be done in short spurts, during breaks, anywhere you will have five minutes or more of uninterrupted time and an opportunity to focus.
Apply the rule – Knowing how to apply a rule requires greater talent than just knowing the rule. Understanding each rule's spirit and intent is a big aid.
See the whole play – Double (or triple) calls are sometimes made on one play because the umpire doesn't see the whole play. It's easier to get the call right when you see the action immediately preceding the play. When you have responsibility for the play you must watch the ball. Keep your chest to the ball at all times.
Being in the right position – Positioning is what separates the veteran umpires from the rookies. It's so much easier to call it right when you have a good view. Always strive for the best possible view. This means getting the right angle and knowing how close you want to be to the play. In fact, being too close can be a very bad position.
Anticipate the play, not the call – Anticipating the play is a totally different issue from anticipating the call. Anticipating likely plays in a given situation and getting into a good position to see the play as it develops are absolutely vital. Anticipating the result of the play - for example, deciding a runner is going to beat a throw because the ball was mishandled – breeds blown calls. As a play begins, rely on the standard instruction: pause, read, and react. Wait a moment before doing anything while you decide where the ball is going, figure out who is going to do what with the ball, then move into position to see the developing play.
Stay alert – The last item, mental lapses, is another way of saying "stuff" happens. It happens to the best of us and when it does, all you can do is shrug it off. Some lapses can't be explained. If they happen too often, though, you need to reassess what you're doing.