Monday, April 4, 2011

A Reminder about Timing

This weekend, I help run a training session at my local ballfields for all our rookie umpires. In this session, we had the umpires take turns working a practice game. They got a half inning behind the field and then they moved out to the field. For 14 and 15 year olds working a pretty good 12 year old game, they did pretty good but I did have one play that came up that I wanted to discuss.

I wish I would have been video taping this because it would be a great training tool. With no runners on, a ground ball was hit to the shortstop. The throw took the fielder off the bag, but the fielder recovered themselves in time to step on the bag for the out. The umpire, signaled out right when the first basemen caught the ball, then realized they were off the bag and signaled safe and then had to signal out when the play was actually completed. Everyone had a good laugh when it happened but if this had been a real game, that kid would have gotten an earful.

Timing is important in every call you make. It keeps you from making mistakes like that. Remember as an umpire, there is no rush, nothing can happen until you make the call so take a second and think before you act. I always tell everyone to see the play, think the call in your head and then make the call.

There are two main reasons timing helps. First, it helps prevent you from making mistakes like the one descriped above. Secondly, it allows everyone the time to look from the play to the umpire to see that call. Think about it, on close plays, the eyes will be on the play and then you about a second later. By having the correct timing, you will allow everyone to see the call.

Hopefully, this little tip will help you as you get out there.

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