Mechanics for Plate Umpire – HBP, IBB, Batted ball near plate

Read the article Strike Zone Mechanics in this same section of the Locker Room website for detailed mechanics for calling balls and strikes. This article covers other situations involving the plate umpire but not related to the strike zone – hit by pitch, illegally batted ball, batted ball near the plate. Batter hit by pitch This can be a difficult

Read More →

Strike Zone Mechanics

Basic strike zone mechanics Should the word “basic” be included in any article posted to this college umpire website? Are not college umpires expected to know the basics? Yes, but the strike zone mechanics for college umpires are different than other codes; perhaps some of us do not realize this, especially if you are new to umpiring at the college

Read More →

CCSUA Two-Umpire Manual

https://collegesoftballumpires.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/CCSUA-Two-Umpire-Manual.pdf

Rotation Mechanic for 3-umpire System

In a three-umpire system, umpires generally have a more confined and defined area of responsibility and thus have some working luxuries not available in a system with fewer umpires. One of the exceptions to having confined areas is when the opportunity for a full rotation arises. U1 must hustle toward the plate area as the plate umpire moves toward third

Read More →

Interference Call Mechanics

Preparing for the interference call Interference is one of the toughest calls to make during a game. The entire crew must prepare for this by including it as a topic during all umpire pre-games and as part of their pre-pitch preparation. Base umpires – on every batted ball be watching for interference and give it even more focus with runners

Read More →

Giving the Count

  One of the most important jobs for softball umpires is game management. And one of the most overlooked aspects of game management is giving the count. Regardless of the level you work, giving the count is part of your repertoire. While some levels require giving the count more than others, when and how you give the count can save

Read More →

Zoned Out – Techniques for Rough Days Behind the Plate

Every umpire has had a rough game behind the plate. We have all had moments, or games, where we are struggling to decipher the balls and strikes. It happens at all levels and to veterans and rookies alike. External factors – bad pitching, catchers who shift late, etc. – may be a factor, but often our problems are our own

Read More →

3 Crew Mechanics Quick Checklist

Thanks to Dan Cowan for this article. Its intent to help umpires who bounce back and forth between 2 Crew games and 3 crew games. Plate Umpire • Checked swing Request help from the open umpire. • Fly ball coverage area All fly balls when no base umpire covers. Left fielder to left field dead ball line when rotated. Right

Read More →

2021 CCA Manual Major Changes

Overview The 2021 CCA Manual has undergone some major changes from the 2020 manual. This article will cover most of the changes, but you are strongly encouraged to read the Manual in detail, especially the all-new sections. The 2021 CCSUA Annual Meeting – Mechanics Presentation is also available to view. You can locate it by selecting the Training Information button

Read More →

The Wedge

Optimal Positioning for Tag Plays The evolution of the mechanics for calling plays at home plate has been fascinating to observe. Plate umpires can make decisions on 250 to 300 pitches in a game, but one call at the plate might decide the outcome of the game. For many decades, umpires approached plays at the plate using the first-base line

Read More →

Covering fly balls

Properly covering fly balls is an important part of a base umpire’s responsibilities. The decision to cover the fly ball and the proper mechanics can be very different depending on whether the crew is working the 2-umpire or the 3-umpire system. Because of this, the articles for covering fly balls are posted in this Mechanics Corner in the appropriate sub-categories:

Read More →

Left-handed catchers

From Referee Magazine, September 2020 Most softball catchers are right-handed, but it sometimes seems left-handed catchers are more frequent than in the past. The strike zone does not change, but a few tips on the mechanics of working behind a left-handed catcher is helpful. Watch warmup pitches Umpires should do this for each half-inning of the first inning regardless of

Read More →

Obstruction Call Mechanics

Preparing for the obstruction call Obstruction is one of the toughest calls to make during a game. The entire crew must prepare for this by including it as a topic during all umpire pre-games and as part of their pre-pitch preparation, especially with runners on base. On every play, especially tag plays, be watching for obstruction during all phases of

Read More →

Mechanics for Illegal Pitch Calls

Responsibilities Calling illegal pitches is an important duty for both the plate and base umpires. In previous years, it was mostly the responsibility of the plate umpire to call illegal pitches for violations involving the pitcher’s preliminary procedures, and the base umpires to call any violations during the step/stride and delivery. The old saying – plate umpire has the hands;

Read More →

Major Mechanics Differences for College vs Other codes

Signals Game signals Fair/foul calls College umpires do not signal obvious foul balls:• Ball hit straight back to the backstop.• Balls hit over the back or sides of the backstop.• Obvious foul balls down the lines. College umpires must signal fair or foul when balls are hit close to the lines. • The status of the ball may be obvious

Read More →

Rehearse Fundamental Mechanics

Excerpts from Referee.com July 25, 2018 Umpires can develop healthy habits that have nothing to do with streamlining their diet or counting calories. Many sports have repeated practices or habits that you can rehearse in preparation for games. Here are some tips to help you learn good habits and ways to practice the practices — if not to make them

Read More →

Holding area/holding zone (includes Point of Plate

The correct term for college is holding area, not holding zone.  However, the word “zone” is still used a few times in the CCA Manual; this is an oversight.  A holding area is most often used by the plate umpire only; with the only exception – in a 3-umpire system and U1 rotates to the plate.  Here are the holding

Read More →

College Signals Summary

If you have read the article on this Locker Room, titled Major Mechanics Differences for College vs Other codes, you know that even our signals are slightly different and more detailed than other codes. This is true for both the standard signals and the umpire-to-umpire signals. Here is a quick summary of the college softball signals. Following this summary are

Read More →

Signals – Room for Individualism?

Excerpts from Referee Magazine article, 2012 In the old days, style and flair in officiating was easy to recognize. It was prevalent in a lot of games. Today, most assigners want officials to use “by-the-book” signals and mechanics. While personality has been shoved to the background, is there still some room for it?  Is there room for some individualism? For

Read More →

Sweeping the Plates or Bases (Lost Mechanic)

Over the past years the CCA Manual, the “mechanics manual” for college softball, has removed some sections which had good information covering a number of topics which are still valid college mechanics. They may have been removed because of editing and attempts to make the Manual shorter. This is one of them. Sweeping should only be done as necessary, not

Read More →

Check Swings (Lost Mechanic)

The check swing has been a topic of importance for the SUP for a long time and umpires are strongly encouraged to keep working on the mechanics of ruling on a check swing as they work on other parts of their game. It has been a topic in the Expanding the Manual section in 2008, 2009, and 2011; and was

Read More →

Base on Balls – Stay Alert (Lost Mechanic)

(This article is an expansion of an article written by Glenn Waggoner) One of the ways a batter becomes a batter-runner (BR) is on an award of first base after a base on balls.  The ball remains live and the BR is an active runner who may advance beyond first base.  Umpires must treat this as any other advancement by

Read More →

Mechanics for Pitcher Signal and Lane violations

Sometimes when rule changes occur or an emphasis is put on a current rule, new mechanics may also come into play. The 2020-2021 Rule Book included a change to the pitcher Taking the Signal rule. A few years ago, the pitcher’s lane was added to the line markings on the field. A few years ago, the pitcher’s lane was added

Read More →

The Mechanics for Ejections

In the beginning… The first step a crew must take when a coach approaches a crew mate after a close or controversial call is for another umpire to monitor other coaches or players so that it remains a one-on-one correspondence. Sometimes an assistant coach may tell the monitoring umpire “I want to hear what he/she has to say…” The umpire

Read More →

Hustle – what exactly does it mean?

Base umpires, whether in the 2-umpire or 3-umpire system, are responsible for almost all calls on the bases. There are times when the plate umpire takes the call at 3b, as will be explained in another article. In order to cover the bases and get a good angle and distance to the play, base umpires must hustle. The term “hustle”

Read More →

Mechanics for the Force Play at First Base

Other articles on this Locker Room discuss the mechanics for positioning by the base umpire for play calls on the bases. This article will go into more detail for the quite common play – positioning for the force play at first base. Also read the companion articles, Starting Positions for the 2-Umpire System and Selecting a Starting Position, 3-Umpire System.

Read More →

Reading the Play, Primary Position and Adjusting to the Play

Umpires should be endeavoring, at all times, to get the call right. We are expected and mandated to do so. A key factor for getting the call right is to be in the best position possible to see the play. Here are some thoughts on base positioning and getting the call right. Reading the Play Reading a play to determine

Read More →

Mechanic for Plate Umpire after Batter Hit by Pitch (Lost Mechanic)

A good mechanic which must be used whenever a batter is hit with a pitch –get your mask off, come out quickly from behind the plate and get between the batter going to first and the circle. You must still use this mechanic as a good preventive umpiring technique even if it is not specifically covered in the current CCA manual. The

Read More →

Tag Plays at the Plate

A tag play at the plate is among the most exciting plays in softball. The decision the umpire renders on a close play at home determines whether the run scores. Sometimes the play even decides the game. Here are a few things to consider when anticipating this play: Get the mask off early to locate the ball and the subsequent

Read More →

Adjusting to see the strike zone

Source: Referee.com April 4, 2018 When the strike zone disappears Any fast-pitch softball umpire is familiar with the slot position when working a game as the plate umpire: assuming an approved stance behind the catcher, aligned slightly inside the inside corner of the plate and outside the perimeter of the strike zone.  The rationale for this position, as explained in

Read More →

Calling Balls and Strike – Reaction Time

Here is a link to a good video from YouTube which discusses calling BALLS AND STRIKES. If the link does not work do a search in YouTube: Sport Science – Episode 5 – Out of Control – Bad Calls. The art of calling balls and strikes is basically the same for baseball and softball. While watching the video, keep in

Read More →

Tracking the Pitch

Use this URL for a video from our baseball brethren for tracking the pitch. The concepts are the same for softball.

Myths and Biases When Calling Balls and Strikes

The main part of this article is the interesting study referenced in the section below – Biases When Calling Balls and Strikes. But before that, let us completely eliminate some myths about calling balls and strikes. Yes, some umpires may still believe these, or you might have heard them from a veteran umpire who still has not adjusted his/her game

Read More →

Building Rapport with Catcher

One of the attributes of a successful plate umpire is the ability to work with catchers. This defensive player is a major factor in a team’s success while in the field. A top-notch catcher will be involved with almost every aspect of the game. One such aspect, overlooked by many catchers but very evident in the good catchers, is that

Read More →

Working with the Challenging Catcher

Not every game affords the luxury of working with a good catcher. What does a plate umpire do when the game unfolds with a cantankerous battery-mate, or one who is oblivious to the finer points of working successfully with a plate umpire? Catcher sets up blocking the slotThe umpire must see the pitch from the time it leaves the pitcher’s

Read More →

Selecting a Starting Position, 3-Umpire System

Selecting a starting position is more than reading the CCA Manual and adhering to its mechanics.  The Manual indicates general areas and distances from which base umpires may choose their starting position.  This article will discuss guidelines so base umpires in the 3-umpire system will select the best starting positon for the most likely scenarios. Starting on the line When

Read More →

U3 Starting Position When Rotated

There are multiple good reasons for offering the optional position for U3 when rotated. It was discussed originally so that U3 would be closer to the point of the base and therefore easier to use the wedge mechanic when R1 is probably going to steal. Other advantages have developed from this: • It will be easier to get into a

Read More →

Freedom for U3

This important mechanic was introduced in 2009 and expands on the philosophy “Never Waste an Umpire.” It is a specific mechanic for a specific situation: Runner on 2b only, or runners on 2b and 3b Ball is hit to the outfield and no umpire chases When R2 is at least halfway home and the ball is still in the outfield:

Read More →

Covering fly balls in a 3-umpire system

Covering Concepts Covering fly balls is an important responsibility for base umpires in both the 2-umpire and 3-umpire systems. It can be a challenging mechanic for all umpires, especially for umpires who have not done it a lot. It takes good pre-pitch preparation and knowing where the outfielders are positioned to make good decisions on covering fly balls. Here are

Read More →

Real Plays, Legitimate Deviations

The CCA manual is a very thorough document, but like any umpire manual, it cannot cover every possible play that might happen on a softball field. Strange plays and unusual situations will occur; the college softball umpire must be a thinking umpire, ready to adjust to anything that might happen on the field. Per page 45 in the 2013 CCA

Read More →

CCA Manual Two-Umpire Summary

ESSENTIAL CONCEPTS Angle/distance – Force: no closer than 18’ (1b 30-50 degrees), Tag 3’ to 10’ Work ahead of the play; commitment to the play Keep the elements of the play in front – Primary position, secondary position Adjust to the individual play Efficient movement Pre-pitch preparation – Runners, outs, chasing, hit to outfield, hit to infield Body language Signals

Read More →

Starting Positions for the 2-Umpire System

Selecting a starting position is more than reading the CCA Manual and adhering to its mechanics. The Manual indicates general areas and distances from which base umpires may choose their starting position. This article will discuss guidelines so base umpires in the 2-umpire system will select the best starting positon for the most likely scenarios. STARTING ON THE LINE When

Read More →

Covering fly balls in a 2-umpire system

Covering basics Covering fly balls is an important responsibility for base umpires in both the 2-umpire and 3-umpire systems. It can be a challenging mechanic for all umpires, especially for umpires who have not done it a lot. It takes good pre-pitch preparation and knowing where the outfielders are positioned to make good decisions on covering fly balls. Here are

Read More →

Additions and Corrections to 2020 CCA Manual

There were a number of changes to college mechanics for the 2020 season which did not appear in the 2020 CCA Manual. These changes were presented at different meetings conducted by the SUP Staff with Conference Coordinators and at the 2020 NCAA Softball Umpire Clinics, or by posts to the SUP Central Hub. Additions Here are the changes, with the

Read More →

The Lost Mechanics

Over the past years the CCA Manual, the “mechanics manual” for college softball, has removed some sections which had good information covering a number of topics which are still valid college mechanics. They may have been removed because of editing and attempts to make the Manual shorter. o We must accept this but follow this philosophy – once a mechanic

Read More →