Monday, September 27, 2010

The Importance of Not Assuming

The other day, I had something happen that I have only seen happen a few times in 20 years and it almost caught me off guard. Here’s the play:

Runner on 2nd, two outs. The ball is hit to the first basemen who fields the ball and starts walking to first base. This should be an EASY OUT!! In an effort to look cool he flips the ball to the pitchers mount…..only one problem…..he did it BEFORE he stepped on the base. Now, I almost signaled out but somehow I stopped myself and just stayed put and looked at the bag. The first base coach figured out what I was waiting on and told the runner to run. The runner touched first and I signaled safe. In the meantime, the runner from second rounded third and scored.

Needless to say, the coach went nuts and wasn’t in the game for very long after this but that’s a discussion for another day. The point of telling you this story is to once again remind you that timing is one of the most important aspects to being a good umpire. If my timing would have been too quick, I would have called him safe but since I take a second or two to make my calls, I was able to better process what I had just seen.

Remember, the quicker you are, the more likely you are to make a mistake. You will rush to call out before you make sure the ball is caught, or my favorite, you will call out and signal safe. Slow down and remember….see the play, make the call in your head, make the call. There should always be around a second in between the end of the play and your call. I guarantee you that you will get more calls right if you do that.

On a side note, I am considering putting some video training videos up in the next few weeks. I think it would be a good way to go over the correct positioning in the field and behind the plate. I have often found that I learn better by seeing rather than reading so maybe that will help someone looking for some pointers as well. Let me know if you think that is something you might be interested in.

Thanks again for reading and please spread the word about my blog. I appreciate it. Lastly, remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure the one you make when you step on the field is the right one. Look professional and act professional. PLAY BALL!!!!

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