Softball

Softball

Digging Out of a Slump at the Plate

Even the best ballplayers go into slumps. A hard-hitting batter is suddenly “popping them up.” A dominant pitcher “loses the strike zone.” An ace...

When Two Umpires Converge on the Same Base

Many of us who have been umpiring for a number of years have seen the situation in which one umpire is dutifully making his...

Softball Crew Chief Responsibilities and How to Prepare

If you are reading this and you are not a crew chief but have that as one of your goals, congratulations. You are taking...

Scrutiny on Player Safety Increasing in Softball

Over the years, the NCAA has done many things to try to protect players and prevent injuries. But I have had a couple of...

Making Amends After a Blown Call

It’s a terrible feeling. You’ve blown a call. You know it. Your partner may or may not know it. What’s worse, the blown call...

The “No Nonsense” Umpire

Am I a good umpire?” Umpires should ask themselves that question (and answer it honestly) every so often. I like to think my long umpiring...

Season of Change

USA Softball recently announced several rule changes that took effect Jan. 1 for the 2020 season, with the biggest changes affecting pitching and bats...

Chasing Higher-Level Games

When I was eight years old, my cousin and I always looked forward to the circus coming to town. The troupe would have a...

The Eight-Minute Pregame

Arriving to the three-umpire system at various upper levels is the culmination of hard work, preparation and demonstration of the knowledge and skills necessary...

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...

Keep a Watchful Eye on Baserunners Into Bags

Any time there is a close play at a base, umpires have a lot to focus on. This is especially true when there is...

Preventing Umpire Interference

The umpiring crew must be sure the playing field and other conditions are safe to start the game and all conditions remain safe throughout...

Injured Player? Stop Right There

At times a game needs to be stopped because of an injury. When an injury occurs during a live ball as shown in the...

You’re Catching On

One of the attributes of a successful plate umpire is the ability to work with catchers. The catcher is a major factor in a...

Strike First With Slow-Pitch Pitchers

One topic that garners a lot of discussion among baseball umpires is whether or not you should describe pitches for pitchers. That discussion also depends a great deal...

Unsolicited Advice

From the very first camp that any official attends, what phrase is always uttered by clinicians and coordinators? “Get the call right!” In 2018, that...

7 Reasons Why Communication With Your Partner Pays Off

The words “requires excellent communication skills” are part of virtually every job description in today’s market, to the point where they’ve become meaningless jargon....

Obstruction Deduction

Umpires are tasked with making thousands of split-second decisions over the course of their careers. Some of those calls are obvious, while others aren’t...

Safe or Out, There Is No Tie

Fans, players and coaches are often heard yelling from the stands, “Tie goes to the runner!” However, no rule in baseball or softball has that phrase. A few...

Your Toughest call?

What do you call when a runner jumps over an infield grounder as a fielder goes for the ball? Usually that play occurs when...

Bean There, Seen That

When it comes to hit batters, softball umpires don’t have to make the exact same decisions as their baseball counterparts. Beanball wars in softball...

Southpaw Catcher Surprise

As you arrive at the diamond for a day of calling balls and strikes, nothing seems unusual. You go through pregame rituals, put the...

Adjustments for Better Look at the Plate

Any fast-pitch softball umpire is familiar with the slot position when working a game as the plate umpire: assuming a heel-toe stance behind the catcher, aligned slightly inside the...

What’s Your Angle?

Although most umpires would prefer working in crews of three or four, the two-umpire system, if used properly, actually provides for good coverage in...

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