"Top 10" Important reminders for HSUA umpires

1. Never turn you back on the playing field…
If the play has ended and any runners may be have stopped their movement or are on a base…CALL TIME! Make it loud and clear so everyone hears you. If a runner is playing a cat and mouse game by leading off and faking to go to the next with a pitcher or any other fielder and you believe there will be no play…CALL TIME. 

Now in Softball if the pitcher has the ball in the drawn circle a runner must either continue on to the next base or return to the previous base. If they are off the base and make no attempt to do either…THEY ARE OUT!  In Softball this is called challenging the pitcher and this rule only applies to Softball.

2. Keep one eye on the ball and the other on the runner making sure he/she touches all the bases.  
Now we all know that no one can look at both things at the same time but do the best you can. Keep you heading moving at all times, to check on the ball and the runners.

3. Never call “FAIR BALL”… 
You only point into fair territory if it’s a fair ball. If it’s foul yell it out loud… FOUL BALL!

4. Never change your call! 
When you work alone the coaches are not your partners, they cannot make you change your calls. Stick with what you called and move on. If a coach wants to ask you about your call, explain it and that’s it! If he won’t take your explanation and move on then you have the option to warn the coach or eject him. In most situations it is easier to warn him unless he is abusive and is using foul language.  No HSUA umpire is in a competition to see who can throw out the most coaches.

5. Before each play look on field and summarize what situations you have…  
How many outs are there? How many runners? What force plays are there if any? Do we have an infield fly situation (runners on first and second with less than two outs).

6. Always have you hand up like a traffic cop while a batter is stepping into the box… In essence you are telling the pitcher do not pitch until I give you the signal to. This also gives you time to summarize your situations as listed above. Once you and the batter are ready either signal the pitcher by pointing to him or with a beckoning motion of the hand. Both of these motions can include you saying, “pitch” or “play”. If the pitcher throws a pitch while you have your hand up telling him do not pitch, once he release that pitch yell loud NO PITCH!  Even if the batter hits the ball it is a dead ball and what ever happened does not count.

7. Don’t take your eyes off the field to check your clicker when the ball is live… 
Wait for the play to end, call time and then worry about your clicker. You have to learn to make changes on your clicker without looking at it, if you don’t you might miss a play. There are games on TV, watch one and keep up with your clicker.

8. Always get you butt out from behind the plate… 
Anytime there is a play somewhere get to the halfway position once the ball is hit or you have a steal. That spot is between home plate and the pitcher’s mound, that way you can see a play at any base. 

9. Announce game start time… 
Always announce the time before the first pitch and keep track of time in between innings or when time is called. Know what time the game should end. If you are ready to start the game at 6pm and one team is dragging their butts and they don’t get on the field that’s not your fault, game start time is 6pm. Avoid this from happening by telling the home team to take the field 5mins before game start time.  If they don’t listen and are finally ready to play at 6:05pm you announce game start time is 6pm. If they complain let them know you were ready and you told them that’s when we should have started. Now if one team is short players (less than 8) they have 15mins from game start time to get enough players but the game clock started at game start time. Example: If the game is scheduled for 6pm and they get enough players by 6:10pm, 6pm is still the game start time. Players can be borrowed from another team to avoid forfeits.

10. Be clear and firm on your calls… Make your calls loud and clear, you want make it loud so that the center fielder to hear your calls. Don’t be timid, call them as you see them and don’t get caught out of position. Study your local league rules carefully! Keep you cool but be firm and professional!