Sport-Specific Articles

Sport-Specific Articles

Ball Placement – The Art & Science

Because 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 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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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?...

Understand the Differences With Atypical Fouls

You just called a technical, intentional or flagrant foul. These are atypical plays in your game, and you may be unsure just how to administer the ensuing action. Depending...

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...

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...

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...

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...
basketball held ball

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 —...
traveling pivot foot basketball referee

Pivot Foot Recognition Is Key to Calling Traveling Correctly

When James Naismith invented basketball in the late 19th century, he was looking for a healthy indoor sport to tough out the Northeastern winters. He wanted something that avoided physical...

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...

When the Pitcher has Possession and Control in the Circle

In a game I worked last season, there were runners on second and third when the batter hit a little humpback liner over the...

Football Ground Rules

Whether it’s dry or wet, artificial or natural, the surface on which the game is played can have a marked influence on how the game is played and on...

Leaving the Court Has Consequences

M ost everyone knows, in the game of basketball, when the ball touches a boundary line or anything outside the boundary line, it is out...

10 Tips to Move Up the College Baseball Ranks

An umpire buddy was planning a presentation to a high school umpires association on how to advance to the college level and asked me...
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...