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Simple Tips for the Youth Baseball Umpire

This section does not cover tips such as what to do if a certain play happens, where to stand, how to make the call, etc.  It focuses on GAME CONTROL. 

First things first, arrive on time and be prepared.

  • Put emphasis on your appearance. If you look professional, you will be treated professionally. These things are hand-in-hand on the baseball diamond. Dirty, sloppy uniforms make an umpire look apathetic toward the game and he can become an easy target for abuse.
  • Know your umpiring partner. After all, when it comes down to it, he is your only ally.  Use, give, and respond to signals with your partner.  Always confer with your partner before accepting a protest.
  • Get to know your managers. You will often times find yourself umpiring games more than once for the same team, and a good umpire-manager relationship will bode well for you in the end.

Make clear strong calls on close plays.  
A quiet umpire comes off as being unsure of the call just made. When making obvious calls (like a routine ground out) no verbal call is needed, just the out jester with your arm and hand. It's not the umpire's job to make everybody happy with every call. A close play is usually going to disappoint 50% of the people.

Stand by all judgment calls such as safe calls or out calls. Even if you may have made the wrong call, indicating so verbally or physically may provoke further questioning of the initial call. Make the call and get on with the game.

Slow down your timing and wait for the play to be over before making a call. For example, signaling a runner safe or out before he’s touched the base is going to ruin your credibility.  Behind the plate, watch the ball hit the catcher's mitt, let a second or two elapse, and then make the call.

Always hustle. It distinguishes you from the poor or average umpire.

Stay focused on the game. Your lack of focus will be noticed, and besides, sooner or later, you will miss a play.

  • Have a poor memory. If you had a bad game, forget about it before your next, and if you made a bad call, don’t let it affect your next one.
  • Do not have rabbit ears. If you find yourself overhearing criticism from fans, players, or coaches you are only taking your attention off the game, which is where it should be.

Give a warning first. 
If at any point you feel a coach is riding you too hard, let him know and give him a warning. You are the umpire, and ultimately it is your opinion that matters, not his. If the coach continues, you must use your judgment on what to do next, with one of the options being ejection.  The same goes for parents and players who get out-of-hand.NEVER lose your temper. If you lose your temper, you lose control of the game.

Be careful about what you say. During or between innings, you never know who is listening.

Lastly try and have fun. For the most part, the games you umpire will be smooth sailing with no conflicts or arguments. Remember that when it comes down to it, baseball is just a game and it's about people enjoying themselves. As an umpire, you too, can enjoy yourself.

Santa Susana Baseball

4333 Township Ave. 
Simi Valley, California 93063
Email : [email protected]
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