Pre-game Procedures – start a week before game date

Contacting the Coaches and your Partner by email:
  • A sample email is located on CCSUA Locker Room – Protocols Corner in this same Game Preparation section.
  • The crew chief /plate umpire should check the Arbiter Schedule and home team Point of contact information to determine who the email should be sent to. (Coaches at Community College level, Event managers at D-I/II/III).
  • Send it five to seven days prior to game. This gives the coach ample time to respond, especially with the upcoming weekend.
Dress Attire – Guidelines for travelling to games and all CCSUA meetings

• Men – Slacks/Dockers or Neat and Upscale Shorts, with pockets; Polo-short sleeve shirt or button down business; Casual type, closed toed shoes.
• Acceptable: Females – Business or casual pants, dresses or skirts
• Acceptable for both – nice sweat pants or suit like Nike, Adidas, Under Armor NYLON style with matching top or a polo short or long sleeve shirt
Note: Some umpires who work will be traveling straight from work and may not have time to change. If this is your situation for Community College games, you should put in your car a nicer shirt and then put it on when you check in with the coach.

  • Arriving at the game site in your uniform pants and T-Shirt and meeting the coaches in this attire.
  • Blue-jeans, open toe sandals or shoes; ragged shorts; gym-type or sweat pants or tops; cut-off shirts or shorts.
Arrival Time and location:

• Both the Rule Book and CCA Manual books state that umpires should arrive at least one hour before game time.
• Make sure that you communicate with your partner as to where you will park.
• Whoever arrives first should try to save a parking space for your partner that is close to you.
• If parking passes are required and there is no one to meet you in the parking lot, wait for your partner to arrive. Once they arrive, one person stays at the vehicles, while the other quickly retrieves the parking passes from the coaches, player or game management and returns.

Greeting the Coaches:

This protocol is only for 2-umpire crews at the Community College/D3 level. Division 2 (3-umpires) and Division 1 are different, as most use event managers for check-in and email contact. Once parking is secure, both umpires together will meet the coaches and introduce themselves. The Plate umpire initiates the conversation with the coaches

  • Check-in with the home team’s Head or Assistant coach and assure that they have the newest bat list available and highlighted with their bats.
  • Tell him/her the crew will return to the field 20 minutes prior to game time to begin checking bats.
  • Do not ask him/her if there will be a national anthem and any special event before or after the pre-game. This should be discussed at the umpire/coach plate meeting before the game so both coaches are part of the conversation.
  • Briefly speak to the visiting team coach to ensure he/she has the newest batting list and it is highlighted.
Plate umpire leads the umpire crew pre-game

Having a thorough crew pregame discussion before every game is a requirement for college softball umpires. See the article Umpire Crew Pre-game in the Game Management/Umpire Duties section.

Enter the field, walk the field, do the bat check
  • Enter together as a crew. The CCA Manual states the crew arrives at the field approximately 20 minutes before game time.
  • Check to see if both teams have their bats lined up outside their dugouts. If not, ask the team(s) to do so.
  • A visual check of the field is sufficient if there are no weather issues and the crew has worked on this field previously
  • If not, the crew should walk the field, using a ball to check any problems areas.
  • Do the bat check. See the article Tips for Bat Checking in the Game Management/Umpire Duties section.
At the Umpire/Coach pre-game meeting

Plate umpire leads the pre-game meeting with the coaches. The other umpire(s) should not interrupt or add anything until the plate umpire asks “partner(s), do you have anything to add?” The plate umpire should include these items in the umpire/coach pre-game:

  • Ask the two coaches to introduce themselves to each other
  • Plate umpire introduces the crew to the coaches.
  • Review the Home team lineup, then the visiting team lineup
  • After both lineups are official, separately ask each coach if he/she has any changes
  • Review the ground rules
  • Review special rules (conference/tournament/non-conference and coaches decide at pregame meeting) – Tie-breaker, Media format, Halted Game, Travel policy options
  • Ask partners if they have anything to add
  • Ask coaches if they have any questions

This is a lot to remember. Use the memory technique of using an acronym to remember and giving it a easy-to-remember phrase. This is why some of the wording above is bolded. Example:  ILGSPQ; phrase: I love good softball PQ.

Play ball