Ten Rules for Good Umpiring

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Ten rules for Good Umpiring

Ten Rules for Good Umpiring

1. Physical Fitness - You should be physically fit at the beginning of each season. If you have not been as active in the off-season, you should start making an effort to improve your conditioning. Walking, swimming, or any physical activity to elevate your heart rate will be beneficial. Exercises to increase the strength in your knees and lower back would help you to withstand the strain of the early season work behind the plate.

2. Decisions - Decisions should be made in a timely manner, from a set position, with a positive voice.
Get set, see the play, call it to yourself, and then make the call.
Get set - If you are physically fit, you will be able to get yourself in the correct position to "see" the play.
See the play - Watch the play happen. Don't have a preconceived expectation of how the play will go.
Timing - Wait until all activity on the play has ceased and then make the call. Don't wait too long to make the call. As soon as you are sure of what you've seen, make your call. There may be a lot of dust and you may have to let it settle some to make the correct call.
A good rule of thumb is to think the words "That's a" before making the call. This gives your brain time to process the action your eyes have seen.
Positive voice - If you get set, see the play, then make the call, you can still ruin your reputation on the field by not making the call with a positive voice. Your call should be forceful and loud enough for all players on the field to hear.

3. Knowledge of the rules - Competent umpires knows and understands the rules thoroughly. Some calls are made on a regular basis and become reflex. These are basic fundamentals that become virtually automatic.
Other rules may not occur as regularly. Repeated study of the rules will reinforce the understanding of how the rule is applied in all situations.
Don't guess or rely on what you think the rule is. Know what it says, why it says it, and how to apply it.

4. Mechanics - Improper mechanics will prevent umpires from being in the best position to render the proper call. Umpires must ensure they are not in the "throwing" or "running" lanes of players making the play.
Study the "Umpires Mechanics" books for two-, three-, and four-man mechanics, depending upon what situation you will be working.

5. Ignore crowds and spectator remarks - Inherent to baseball is the umpire heckler. Many fans believe heckling the umpire is a legitimate part of the game. They heckle to elicit a response. As soon as the umpire responds, they know the umpire is no longer concentrating on the game.
Most baseball fields have persons assigned to address fans getting out-of-hand. If a fan is heckling your calls, simply ignore them. Most heckle for attention from the surrounding fans. Umpires should only take action if fans become threatening to on-field personnel. While it is unavoidable to hear spectator remarks, use them to critique your performance and strive to improve in the area that caused the remark. Work to make the next call "perfect" and eliminate the remarks.

6. Loyalty and Respect - Umpires must be loyal to and respect their partners. Umpires should support the decision of their crew members, and accept responsibility. Never discuss decisions with anyone other than the umpire that made the decision, and then ONLY if there is a request by that umpire to discuss the decision.
Do not infringe on your fellow umpire responsibilities. There is no greater embarrassment than having more than one umpire rule differently on the same play. Respect your fellow umpires. Friendliness and respect for your crewmembers contribute to confidence throughout the contest.

7. Showboat - DON'T!
Competent umpires will make their calls without a lot of flair. You don’t impress anyone by being overdramatic while making a call and this would give cause for heckling.
Develop your own "style" of emphasis on calls, but only emphasize those calls that deserve emphasis.

8. Be courteous - Avoid "visiting", but be cordial.
A businesslike attitude will give players, coaches, and fans, the correct impression of the importance of the game. Remember, whether the game is for a state championship or last opportunity for a first win, the game is the most important to the players on the field.
Don't argue with players, coaches, or team representatives. If you have a good grasp of the rules, listen to the argument being made, you should be able to explain the call and keep the discussion brief.

9. Hustle and be alert. - Movements should be brisk to keep the game moving. Hustling enables an umpire to be in the proper position to make the correct call. It also encourages players to hustle, thus keeping the game moving. An alert umpire will have his head erect. This enables the umpire to properly discharge his responsibility.
During lulls in the game (inning changes, player substitutions, etc.) the umpire should continue to be alert. This eliminates any confusion once play begins again. The umpires’ attention should always be concentrated on those things affecting play on the field.

10. No "make up" calls. - Everyone will make an error from time to time.
Errors are part of life and everyone makes them. Even respected, seasoned umpires occasionally err.
You should make every effort on every play to make the correct call. You will know when you've missed a call and why. Making a call to "fix" the incorrect call will only cause more problems.