Notes from the Training Staff – February 2020

NCAA Regional Advisor
From Joanne Venditto, our NCAA Regional Advisor – there is continued focus for an accurate and consistent strike zone. Read the short article in the CCSUA Locker Room on the Strike Zone, in the Rules Corner/Batting/The Pitch. There is added emphasis on calling the drop ball which is at the top of the knee at the front of the plate.

Locker Room updates
New and updated Rules Corner articles
The Game/Participants – new article: College softball lineup requirements
Defense/Obstruction – updated Warning Issued for Obstruction
Defense/Obstruction – updated Obstruction – Warnings, Additional Awards and Ejection
Batting/The Pitch – updated Strike Zone

Mechanics and Game Management Corners
Mechanics/All Umpires – Major Mechanics Differences for College vs Other codes
Game Management/Preventive – updated Warnings by Rule

Slow the Game Down
Most of our umpires are familiar with Ryan Harrison and his Performance Vision Training. He has been a guest speaker for the NCAA Umpire Institutes and multiple times for our CCSUA Annual Assignor/Training meetings. The short article in our Locker Room, Performance Vision Training, includes a link to his website (Slow the Game down), for more information on his services and products, including his Umpire Training Kit. You can find the article by selecting the Training Information button on the Dashboard page.

Do you have a rules or mechanics question?
Now that the season has started the Training Staff is getting questions about plays which are happening in games. The proper procedure is to send an email (not a text or phone call, unless it is a protest) to John Bennett. The email must include a description of the play (in short sentences which explain the each step of the developing play and what the umpires did). You must also include the rules you have researched in finding the answer yourself in both the Rule Book and/or the Case Book.

The same procedure must be applied if the question is about mechanics – cite the pages you have researched in trying to answer the question yourself.

From the observers and assigners
During the last few tournaments our college observers and assigners have seen something that needs to be brought to the attention of our college umpires regardless of the level of college they are working . Some of our umpires work a lot of the travel ball circuit and have developed some bad habits. On any given weekend, they may work as many as 7 games each day. To make it through these long and tedious days, they relax (do NOT move as they should) to conserve energy. As they repeatedly relax to conserve enough energy to be out on the field for game 6 and 7, they have started to let these periods of relaxation (not aggressively moving to obtain proper calling positions) become habits which they don’t even know have developed. In some cases they don’t move at all, they simply just rotate their shoulders or turn their heads. Yes this helps one get through long travel ball days, but we should never see this at any level in the college game.

From our resident philosopher – Jim Sanderson
As an umpire are you regularly sharpening your skills? Do you have a throw-down plate to practice strike zone drills? Vertical “come around and look.” Horizontal “ball drop.”

Do you practice “listen loud” so you “engage and not enrage?” Are you finding ways to increase verbal communication during play? Communicating runner tag-up responsibilities still is a major missing tool. Do you use your partners first to quickly grab their ear so they can better “listen loud?” Do you both say it and do it? Actions are better than empty words, said & done.

Are you doing eye training as presented at our 2018 CCSUA Annual Meeting by our guest speaker, Ryan Harrison. This training will lead to you seeing everything on the field “clearer, bigger, slower.” You can find more information about this by visiting his website (see above).

Presentations from our Annual Meetings
Presentations from CCSUA Annual Meeting 2020 have been posted in the Training Information section. It includes all presentations except the Assignor presentation, which is posted to the Arbiter.