Sport-Specific Articles

Sport-Specific Articles

Do You Take The Easy Way Out?

The officiating culture can be brutal. An easy way out of a tough situation might seem like a good idea sometimes. After all, certain officials...

6 Tips To Better See The Point

Proper positioning is being where you have to be, to see what must be seen, to make the correct decision. That includes seeing the point. During dynamic...

Does Your Partner Get the ‘Point’?

We often think we are communicating well with our partners, when we really aren’t. Good communication is the key for a successful umpiring team. The...

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...

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...

When to Throw Flags, When Not to (and When to Pick ’em Up) 

The idea of a flag being waved off brings to mind an overbearing referee trumping the decision of a younger crewmate. That has happened on occasion but picking...

Don’t Become a Fan

“Spectacularity” sounds made-up and highfaluting, doesn’t it? Au contraire. This actual word should be in every referee’s vocabulary. What does it mean, anyway? And how...

Four Eyes Off The Ball

From years of being around high-level Division I men’s college basketball officials, Ray Natili learned to train his eyes and “quit looking at the basketball.” It’s a mantra...

Flex Your Mental Muscles

"Coach, do you have any changes?” Be honest. How many of you dread asking this question during the pregame conference? We know the most...

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...

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