It is a requirement for college umpires to read the Rule Book and CCA Manual on a regular basis throughout the year. Have you been doing this? The umpires who keep moving their careers to higher levels do this. And they do not just “read” these important and vital softball reference books, they study and absorb them. Notice that throughout this article the word “study” is used and not the word “read.”
Study carefully and slowly, digesting the words and thinking about the intent of the words. Use a highlighter (or two or three) while studying the manual so you can go back to those sections for review, looking only at the highlighted sections. Make notes in the margins as appropriate. Study the Manual in a logical order instead of sequentially.
Start with Section 1, as it has the In Focus items for the current year.
Study Section 5 – Mechanics. Even if you currently work only the 2-umpire system, include the sub-sections for First-Base Umpire and Third-Base Umpire.
Study Section 6 – Signals. Study the words for each signal then practice it in front of the mirror as you view the picture. Study the Umpire-to-Umpire Signals and when to give them.
Study Section 7 or 8 for the Umpire System you work the most often – Two-Umpire or Three-Umpire. See the separate section below for tips on studying the Three-Umpire System section as it is long and detailed
If you work both systems study the other one next
Go to the SUP Central Hub and find the General Umpiring Information section. Select any Mechanics Updates and Changes, Mechanics Reviews, and other listings about mechanics
Study Sections 2, 3, 4, and 9.
Tips for studying the Three-Umpire System Section
You will get cross-eyed and go crazy if you try to study too much of this section at one time. Break it down into manageable units:
• Study each Runner Configuration at a separate study session
o No Runners on Base, then Runner on First, then Runner on Second, etc.
• For each Runner Configuration (you may want to take a break after each of these before starting on the next one)
o Study the Starting Position and Working Between Pitches pages
o Study the pages for No Chase
o Study the pages for U1 Chases
o Study the pages for U3 Chases
Let’s work on this together – after all, we are a team. Make this part of your pregame: “Let’s take out our rule book and CCA Manual and pick out some things to discuss.” Now check your partner’s books. Do they look brand new, as if they have never been opened? Or do the look well-study, with tabs, notes, highlights, etc.?