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Coverage on hit ball: P2R = Pause, Read, React

Use Pause, Read, React to help you make the call

Pause: as base umpire , first see where the ball is going before you move to make the call.  

Read: Follow the ball to the fielder. Your Read is "Catch/no catch."

Make the safe or out sign.

Many times, on the youth ball diamond, especially for rec ball, you more than likely be working alone. While this is a challenge, you can at least cover a large area.

  • First, get behind the catcher.
  • Get the angle.
  • Come in if you have time.
  • Make the call.

How to work alone 

 Coverage at the plate

  • Strike call is made loud and clear if the batter doesn't swing.
  • Strike call signal is made--think of pounding on a door--if batter swings.
  • Ball: Make this call from the crouch position. 
  • Umpire simply says, "Ball." He makes it loud enough for the dugouts to hear.
  • Make the non-swinging strike call loud enough for the fans to hear.

Coverage on the batted ball

  • With a batted ball in fair territory, plate umpire clears the catcher.
  • 66% of the time, the play will be a ground ball to shortstop.
  • Clear the catcher, run toward the pitcher's mound.
  • Stop when the ball gets to the fielder.
  • Let the throw take you to the play.

How to work with a partner

  • With a partner, plate umpire acts as backup.  
  • Play at the plate, base umpire acts as backup

Field umpire  

The first play in the infield belongs to the
field umpire.
He follows the lead runner.

Making the call at 1B. Use P2R.

  • A Position--no runners on.
  • Run a few steps into the infield (6 or 7 quick steps to get the angle).
  • Stop when the ball reaches the infielder.
  • Let the throw take you to the play.
  • Make the safe or out call. (New umpires, on a close play, wait until you see the 1st baseman take the ball out of his glove.)
Making the call at other bases. Use P2R.
  • B Position--runner at 1B.
  • Try to anticipate--number of outs, count on the batter, batting order.
  • Follow the lead runner.
  • Stop before you make the call on the steal.
  • Stop before you make the call on the batted ball.
 Making the call when runner in scoring position. Use P2R.
  • C Position--runner at 2B.
  • Stop before you make the call on the steal.
  • Try to anticipate--force at 3B.
  • Primary responsibility is lead runner.
  • Plate umpire has secondary runner.
More coverage of the batted ball: That's routine; that's trouble.

Umpires see the batted ball as one of three things:

  • Routine ball caught.
  • Routine ball dropped.
  • Trouble ball (two fielders converging on the ball, ball hit down the line, fielders with back to you, fielder diving to make catch, and so on).
Use a simple plan on every play. Take a couple steps on the routine play; take your time. Take a couple steps on the trouble ball; take a little more time.

Baseball's mental game--thinking through the half-inning

Situations that change game tempo

  • Number of outs.
  • Count on the batter.
  • Batting order.
  • Late innings.
  • Last inning.
  • Last at bat/final out.
This means tensions rise and fall. Best practice? Take a deep breath.
  • You know what to do.
  • You know where to go.
  • You know your mechanics--which by now are on automatic pilot.
  • Check out AJ and Doug in the Video above--their actions are automatic. They are where they need to be at all times.
  • This is where muscle memory kicks in.
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15% of proceeds from the book go to the Boys and Girls Club and the MLB Community's RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) program.

Content copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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