Covering Fly Balls – All Umpires

This is an overview of base umpires’ coverage of fly balls.  For two-umpire specific and three-umpire specific considerations, please read the articles in those sub-categories
Covering fly balls can be a challenging mechanic for umpires, especially 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.

Covering mechanics include:

  • An umpire’s covering path should be parallel to the flight of the ball.
  • If the ball is hit near the line, stay on the line, turn, set, and visualize.
  • Stop and set before the catch/ no-catch occurs.
  • If a fielder trips, rolls or falls into or over a fence, after appearing to catch the ball, move in quickly to this extended play to determine if the ball was held and is a legal catch.
  • Make the signal for catch/no catch facing the play.
  • Avoid the fielder’s throwing lane.
  • Turn with the throw as it goes to the infield and observe the action.