Notes from the Training Staff – November 2019

As the season approaches, take some time to review the rule book and CCA Manual. The newest version of these will be published in December…be watching for the announcement of their availability.

Postings since last month’s News & Notes
Articles – Major re-writing of the article Pitch Hit Hands or Bat, and it has been renamed The Hands are NOT Part of the Bat. In the Rules Corner/Batting/The Pitch

VideosBR Interference MLB. In the Video section Batter-Runner Regulations.

From the Assigners
Please update availability on ALL OF THE ARBITER GROUPS you belong to for softball. We are getting ready to assign Division 2 next week, and then move to Division 3…Then NAIA starting the 2nd week in December. To those of you who are joining the NAIA website, please send me an email, so we know who is qualifying for the post season conference championship & any first-round games.

From Jim Sanderson
Umpires often can fall into a common trap of using excuses or blaming others for substandard performance in calling the game, be it a missed call on the bases or having an inaccurate strike zone. A catcher’s poor ability to receive the pitch should have very little affect on an umpire’s consistent and accurate strike zone. We are making a decision as the ball crosses the front edge of the plate.

We need to read the play and move to get an unobstructed view (wedge) to see all elements of a tag play – having a good distance to see the entire play for force plays (distance is our friend). Take responsibility for our calls. Support your partners, no excuses no blame. Improve and learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Added emphasis is placed on communication that requires use to see and hear. If you want to be heard use the first name of the partner to see and hear the communication while you project and point your voice towards them. The echo of “2 man” and “all in” are good techniques that say, yes you have been heard. One major observed weakness is that umpires are not verbalizing tag up responsibilities while a fly ball is in flight. When the plate umpire is using the holding area it is mandatory that a verbal communication be given when committing to 3B or back to the plate. This communication may often push a rotation of U1 covering the plate as the lead runner advances from 2B to 3B.

Plate umpires should seek during-game feedback on the accuracy of strike zone; identify and correct weakness. Why keep making the same mistakes?

Are you doing the vision exercises from and drills from to practice seeing a great strike zone? Do you have your own throw down plate to carry in your gear bag to practice seeing a great, accurate NCAA strike zone? (about $10, Jugs sports online) How often do you read and review rules, mechanics and other training from arbiter or the locker room?