News & Notes from the Training Staff – March 2017

Too many observers and mentors are reporting that the umpire pre-games are unstructured.  It appears that umpires are trying to remember, or just guessing, about the topics to be discussed.  This is hard to understand, as the CCA Manual has a comprehensive list of topics (in Section 3), and all college softball umpires are expected to have a written checklist for their pre-games.  The Locker Room article, in the Game Management Corner and titled Game Administration, (link to article) has been revised with more detail on the topics to be discussed and includes the list of topics in the CCA Manual.

It has also been reported that the post-games are too often unstructured.  The Training staff is working on an article to be posted on the Locker Room to cover this important review.  It will include the comprehensive list which the CCA Manual has (in Section 3), and which everybody should review before their next game.

Suggestions from our SUP Regional Advisor (thank you, Jim Sanderson):

  • Remind umpires to continue to adjust head height to the batter.
  • Find ways to increase field presence.  This can be done vocally and with body position, like getting to and up the line for fair/foul, getting good chase angle and distance, getting into fair territory for caught balls by infielders.
  • Embrace the challenges of the experimental game flow rules.
  • Play the microscope game to help you and your crew to stay focused.
  • Smile and have fun; few people get do or can do what you do.

 More comments from our observers

  • Umpires are not finishing there positioning for plays.  As an example, not moving into a secondary position for a possible play.  Instead they are standing in a “stale” primary position waiting and waiting for the element of surprise and then it’s too late.  Even though it appears that there will not be another play, once the primary play is complete, umpires should move to the next possible play.
  • Angles, Angles, Angles!  Get to your primary and get set/ prepared. Don’t appear lackluster
  • Move like an athlete, as that is what an umpire is; it’s all about your footwork and being able to get to your primary position.
  • Reading and going on fly balls – not all umpires seem to be doing good pre-pitch preparation. It is taking too long to read and decide; this is affecting your partners.  Before the pitch is thrown you have already checked the defense and already told yourself – if the ball is hit in the air in this location I am going.

Are we over-reacting when coaches ask reasonable, non-argumentative questions about judgment calls?

In the recently posted “Notes from the National Coordinator – Mid-March 2017” on the SUP website, Donna Vavrinec has an excellent discussion on “Are you approachable” and how it relates to the rule book’s Point of Emphasis on questioning umpire’s judgment (page 6).  Some of her comments have been added to the Misconduct article (link to article). Look for the heading in red text, just above the cartoon on this Locker Room, located in the Game Management Corner.  This is a “must-read” for CCSUA umpires.