Sport-Specific Articles

Sport-Specific Articles

Libero Do’s and Don’ts

A libero (LEE’-beh-ro) in indoor volleyball is a back-row defensive specialist. Since they only play in the back row, those players are often shorter...

Ball Placement – The Art & Science

1Because it has to be done on nearly every play, ball placement is one of the most important elements of officiating a football game. My experience is that...

5 Bad Habits of Football Officials

By Jon Bible My eyebrows raised a bit when it was suggested I write a column on bad habits because it implied I had messed...

5 Time-Tested Tips to Be Great Behind the Plate 

There is nothing quite like the feeling of walking off the field after a stellar performance behind the plate. But having a great game calling balls and strikes...

Reality of Calling A Checked Swing

Many umpires would agree that there are very few judgment calls in baseball that are tougher to make than a checked swing. Whether you are the plate umpire...

A Guide to Enforcing the Three-Second Violation

If there is one rule many officials are loath to enforce, it seems to be the three-second violation. For them, ruling a three-second violation carries the...

4 Questions a Referee Never Wants to Ask

There are four questions that no referee wants to ask when a foul has been called. That’s because they should have been asked and answered by the calling...

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?...

Optimal Positioning at Home Plate

The evolution of the mechanics of calling plays at home plate has been fascinating to observe. Plate umpires can make decisions on 250 to 300...

Hit by Pitch Doesn’t Always Mean a Base Award

The earliest umpires didn’t have much of a decision to make when a batter was hit by a pitch. A pitch hitting the batter’s...

11 Points On Judging Ballhandling

Judgment. It’s a word that referees use on a regular basis, and it is the key factor when making ballhandling calls. While it is easy enough to say,...

Slap-Hitters and Bunters Force You To Think Outside The Box

With first base only 60 feet away from home plate in softball compared to 90 in baseball, the left-handed slap hit is a major...

11 Hacks for Onfield Umpires

With a new baseball season rolling along, here are a few tips and hacks involving plate work that can help you out as an...

Three of the Toughest Judgment Calls

In most seasons, false starts are the most frequently occurring fouls and arguably the foul that requires the second least amount of judgment (calling...

Special Rules Apply When a Runner Misses Home

In order to legally score a run, a runner must touch the plate, the same as the requirement to touch any other base. However,...

Assessing the Legality of Tackles

"I got ball, ref!” has been a response to a whistle for a slide tackle foul since the early days of football. Often misunderstood, challenges on the ground...

Start Your Game on the Right Track

Starting the game on the right track helps everyone get off to a smooth start. Starting on a bad note can set the tone...

The Debate: Hammer or Point?

By Mike Droll Whether it’s at an umpiring clinic, professional umpiring school or just learning from a buddy who is getting you ready for your...

Collision Decision

Collisions on the basepaths are not a routine occurrence in fast-pitch softball, so it is important for umpires to prepare for scenarios that can...

Timing Is Everything

“Timing is everything!” That expression is cemented when it comes to baseball umpiring. You can read rulebooks, study mechanics, go to camps and clinics...

Don’t Talk To My Kids!

"Don't Talk To My Kids!" Ever heard that shouted from the sideline? Coaches don’t want officials coaching their players. They do want officials to help their...

Travel vs. Fumble — Which is It?

There are times when a player who has control of the ball unintentionally drops it from his or her hands — a fumble —...

Defining A Defenseless Player

The NCAA introduced the concept of a defenseless player in 2008, at the same time the first targeting rule was adopted. The NFHS followed...
coach communication

Coach Communication Done Well

Communication between officials and coaches is extremely important and is an essential element of a properly officiated game. Most coaches identify good communication as...

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