Sport-Specific Articles

Sport-Specific Articles

Calm on Broken Plays

Coaches, players and fans are allowed to panic when a play goes awry. Officials, on the other hand, must react to broken plays as if they're routine...

Scrimmages: Opportunity or Danger?

By John Kiernan Frequently I am asked to officiate scrimmages. There are great opportunities for an official during those matches. However, there are also pitfalls...

Prep for Bang-Bang Plays

Crashes should not catch basketball officials by surprise. That’s a mantra from Jon Levinson, NCAA women’s basketball secretary-rules editor, and assigner for the Patriot...

Step On the Field and Handle Your Business Like a Boss

A fellow brother in blue, who passed away much too soon, had a mantra he used both in life and on the field. That mantra...

High Time to Talk Timing

U mpires always stress the importance of good timing behind the plate (and on the bases, but that’s a topic for another day). But to...

Make New Officials Comfortable Before the Match Begins 

Any number of factors can affect how effectively a referee team works together, especially if one or both assistant referees are comparatively inexperienced. The center referee’s awareness of possible weaknesses...

4 Marginal Call Landmines

There you are, just cruising along in a basketball game. Everything is going smoothly, and then all of a sudden — bang! All hell breaks loose. What happened?...

Know When to Use the ‘Sell’

As novice or veteran umpires, we all look forward to the exciting catch, tag or play at the plate that has us standing in...

Still Work to Be Done When There’s a Break in Play

The referees accept the coach’s or captain’s request for timeout and blow the whistle, starting the timeout procedure. Both teams usually move to the benches for a quick...

Tips for When You Struggle on the Bases

What do you do when you’re struggling on the bases? We’re all going to have bang-bang plays where we do everything right but freeze-frame...
ball-watching football official

Ball-Watching Afflicts Veterans and Newer Officials Alike

Two huge mistakes that officials can make are ball-watching and officiating air. The former means watching the runner to the exclusion of what’s happening around him. The latter means focusing...

Watch The Hands, Please

"Ariddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” While Winston Churchill certainly wasn’t describing the actions in a softball game when he made this famous...

Tactical Restart Response

Restart management is difficult enough without considering the various ways that defenders could seek to play psychological tricks on both their opponents and the referee. Given that defenders are...

They’re Counting on It

One of the most important jobs for softball umpires is game management. And one of the most overlooked aspects of game management is giving...

Pick the Proper Protocol with Pitchers

Every umpire will encounter pitchers who aren’t happy with him or her. I had a generous strike zone, but even so a pitcher would...

Yawner? Blowout? Guess Again

Iremember sitting at the breakfast table on the morning of a late-season game between two cellar-dwellers. One official, a garrulous person whose normal speaking...

Behavior Battles

A chieving excellence takes knowing what the referee’s powers are and, more importantly, when and how best to use each power to successfully manage a...

No Time Off

Officials often wonder what higher-level officials are thinking between points while up on the referee stand. What is going through the minds of officials as...

Step-By-Step Focus

The pause, read and react technique has been used for many years. Some associations call that process, wait, interpret, choose. Others coin it, read,...

Unexpected Calls Require Strong Voice, Signals

We are all taught early in our umpire training that some plays will occur that need to be sold harder than others. The type...

Loose Ball, Tight Talk

Arequirement on the list of items that should be discussed during a crew’s pregame meeting is how everyone will handle information related to a...

A Helping Hand With Flaming Fans

An official I know was having a tough night in one of the rural barns around here. The fans were braying, the coaches were...

Think A-Head

Athletes in many sports that involve contact, either against opponents, teammates or with the ground/floor, are susceptible to concussions, a brain injury that interferes...

Talk the Talk

F or umpires, one of the most important skills is game management. And perhaps the most important skill when it comes to being a good...

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