When people are new to something the often make what everyone calls “rookie mistakes”. These type of errors, and the fear of making them, often prevent people from trying new things and working toward life long goals. The good news is that you can prevent yourself from making these types of mistakes simply by knowing what they are. Below, you’ll find some simple tips to help you from making “rookie mistakes”.
1. Look the part
Like any job you want to dress the way you wish to be perceived. If you wish to be a serious, professional or amature umpire you should ensure you look the part. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive umpire gear or uniforms to look professional. You can choose clothing items with no logos and wear neat, dark colored pants.
2. Verbalize and gesture when making a “play!” call
After a dead ball, be sure to physically signal and verbally call the pitcher to “play”. It prevents misunderstandings, especially when there are runners on base, and it demonstrates that you’re in control of the situation.
3. Don’t say “Strike three, you’re out”
Unless you’re umpiring in leagues with very young players, and where saying “you’re out” might be construed as rubbing it in, a strike three call does not always amount to an out. If the catcher drops the ball on strike three the batter isn’t out until he is tagged or forced out. If you call him out too early, you could kill a valid play.
4. Try not to say “Take your base” or point to first on a ball four call
Doing so can actually be viewed as coaching. Most players will know what to do when ball four is called and if they don’t, let their coaches do the talking. You may not even want to say “ball four”. A simple “ball” call, just like in any other count, will suffice. If someone asks, you can tell them its ball four.
5. Don’t give up early on a play
A common “rookie mistake” by amature umpires is to give up on a play too soon. For example, if there is a play at second and a safe call is made, the umpire turns his head and then the runner steps off the base and is tagged. After making a call, stay put and watch until the ball is returned to the pitcher or time is called.