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Working the Plate is Just That… It’s WORK! Each Pitch Requires your Utmost & Complete Concentration You ready yourself for the pitch You focus on THAT.

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Presentation on theme: "Working the Plate is Just That… It’s WORK! Each Pitch Requires your Utmost & Complete Concentration You ready yourself for the pitch You focus on THAT."— Presentation transcript:


2 Working the Plate is Just That… It’s WORK!

3 Each Pitch Requires your Utmost & Complete Concentration You ready yourself for the pitch You focus on THAT pitch You relax You ready for the next pitch

4 The Slot The area between the catcher’s head and the batter’s body when the batter is in her natural stance and the catcher is in her normal crouched position. Adjustments to your position in the slot can be required based on batter and catcher positioning

5 To be properly located in “The Slot” your nose shall be between the catcher and the batter no matter which stance you choose. Mirrored from side to side

6 Umpire’s Head (chin) shall be Above the Catcher’s Head

7 The Slot Position By setting up outside the zone and by looking down & through the zone Umpire gets unobstructed view of entire zone If your head is too low in the zone you can easily call pitches outside off the plate strikes Especially the low & away pitch

8 The Stance Acceptable –Heel/Toe –Box –Gerry Davis –Scissors –Knee

9 Getting Set Pick the stance that works the best for you Head (chin) above catchers head to see the whole zone every pitch Completely set BEFORE pitch is released so you can ‘set up your zone’ Motionless when pitch is delivered. You must be still (locked) to see the pitch come through

10 Getting Set Your set must allow you to see (not sense) the outside corner and the knees Visualize the bottom of the zone from the knees over to the outside. Doing this becomes a check you can, in fact, see both the knees and the outside edge.

11 The Set Position Must be Balanced Must be Comfortable But it is Not a Relaxed position –You Relax Between Pitches

12 Tracking From the set position observe the release and the entire flight of the pitch… Until right before it reaches the zone Switch focus to the four sides of the zone you have set up Follow the ball with your nose - head movement is natural…It is not a location indicator.

13 Timing Ensures the pitch is completely over before a decision is made Giving yourself time to accurately assess all the merits of the pitch Change your timing – You Create Doubt

14 Rhythm Consistent timing A dedicated routine Sets the tempo Reflects your control Inspires confidence of teams & fans

15 Parts of Rhythm Same stance Same set All balls the same All strikes the same Timing & Rhythm stay the same Only the Emphasis changes

16 Calling Strikes Be Aggressive in calling strikes Assume the pitch is a strike Make the pitch convince you it is a ball

17 Mechanics of the Strike Final decision after catcher catches Verbalize, stand & signal OR Stand, verbalize/signal (same time) Either is acceptable – do the same thing all game long Verbal to hammer should flow with no perceptible break or pause

18 Mechanics of the Strike Catcher and batter hear the verbal only a second or so before the whole world sees the hammer This is not a place for individualism nor is it acceptable – there is no advantage or reasoning for being slow or spacing out the two parts of a single mechanic.

19 Check Swings Always go for help on a checked swing (required by rule) To open side Umpire if both are on the line To Umpire on the line in all other situations This is not something that can be changed in Pre-game

20 The Timing Between making the decision and the final hammer must be –Precise stages –Flow smoothly - not too quickly nor too delayed –Consistent throughout game

21 The Feet Stand straight up (big as you can) DO NOT move your feet until the hammer is over After the hammer, step back (out of your stance), relax, prepare for the next pitch Maintain this rhythm throughout the game

22 The Hammer Minimum Preferred The strike signal may be out in front, slightly off to the side or may be more directly in front It seen by everyone It is strong It shows conviction The importance is that:

23 The Left Hand/Arm Does it have to be here? No! Just… under control in close to the body not dangling out there no distraction from the strength of the hammer

24 90º or Better 90 Degrees Better than 90 Degrees

25 The Strike Zone

26 1.108 Strike Zone The area above home plate between the bottom of the batter’s sternum and the top of her knees when she assumes her natural batting stance. When the top of the ball is on or within the horizontal plane and either side of the ball is on or within the vertical plane of the strike zone, a strike is called unless the ball touches the ground before reaching home plate. “the strike zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.” That is to say, not when the batter first stands at the plate (folded in like an accordion attempting to convince the umpire how short he is), and not when the batter is in the act of swinging at a pitch. Note: Home plate is the white rubber plate and does not include a black border. See diagram at the end of Rule 11.)



29 Top of Front Knee Top of Back Knee

30 Sternum Top of Zone Top of Back Knee Bottom of Zone

31 The Zone The strike zone is not just a two-dimensional rectangular frame (as depicted in the rules book). The “STRIKE ZONE” is a living/breathing, three-dimensional zone. You must determine the top and bottom of the zone with each new batter that enters the batters box. The top and bottom of the zone will float conforming to each batter’s height and knee level, and follows the batter’s stride until she is prepared to swing.

32 The Zone The zone follows the upward projection of home plate, all five sides. Using the “sheet hanging on the clothes line” metaphor, if the sides of the strike zone are the edges of your sheet and any pitch direct from the pitcher’s hand making any contact with the sheet is a strike. The strike zone has only one shape and one width but a variety of heights. How well we adjust to the different heights is the determining factor of our success or level of difficulty behind the plate. As an umpire you will develop your comfort level with balls and strikes over time.

33 The Zone It is NOT okay to call a pitch a strike that is really a ball even if you do it every time…or vice versa “I’m consistent” is a COP-OUT for umpires who cannot or will not call an accurate zone

34 Comments on the Strike Zone The public's perception/evaluation/judgment of a plate umpire is the strike zone. The plate umpire has a million other things to do - like manage the game. The participants and spectators see and remember is the strike zone. If an umpire does everything else perfectly, but has a wide or low or small or inconsistent strike zone - the poor strike zone is all that will be noticed and remembered.

35 Comments on the Strike Zone Those millions of other things that plate umpires do have to be second nature and fully integrated into their umpiring personality. Then, an umpire can truly focus on the strike zone - pre-game and during the game. All of the different facets of umpiring can be broken down into 1) Priorities 2) Focus - Generally, when one is the plate umpire, the overriding priority is Strike Zone.

36 Comments on the Strike Zone An accurate strike zone is a function of proper stance, plate mechanics and actually seeing the entire zone. Being consistent is a function of focus and concentration. Focus and concentration come from conscious decisions to focus. Pre-game -the umpire should consciously think about the strike zone. He/She should visualize an accurate zone from his/her plate stance - This should be done considering different batter's sizes and stances and different catcher styles.

37 Comments on the Strike Zone The umpire should take the time to visualize different pitches coming through and around the zone. Often people don't take the time to close their eyes and visualize because they think they should be "doing something." Active visualization IS doing something - probably the best something an umpire can do to prepare for a plate game.

38 Comments on the Strike Zone During the game, the plate umpire must consciously work one pitch at a time. Some may like to think of themselves as a computer. -After each pitch, do a soft reset. One pitch at a time. When the pitcher is on the rubber, getting ready to deliver, the only priority is that pitch. One pitch at a time.

39 Some Common Goofs Holding the pitcher when there is no need This is your STOP sign. Save it for when you need it Could go a whole game and never have to use it

40 Some Common Goofs The Point is one of your strongest most valuable signals Do not waste it Do not point at a batter who swings through the pitch - even if it is the 3rd strike Do not point at a batter who is obviously bunting/slapping

41 Some Common Goofs This STOPS everything - both arms, up high, be big Use good verbal Hesitate slightly after the signal before making your ruling (ensures you have their attention)


43 Trailing the batter-runner: Only when the play will go to first base. Trail no more than 15 feet up the line. Be on the line in fair territory.

44 Trailing the batter-runner:

45 Front of the Circle Holding Position

46 Secondary Holding Position

47 Point of-the-Plate Holding Position This is the area where the umpire sets up to read how the play at the plate will develop prior to choosing a calling position -either the traditional default position or third base line extended. This is not a calling position. This holding position is only to be used when the plate umpire has no responsibilities at third base.

48 Point-of-the-Plate Holding Position

49 reverse traditional default position eight feet point-of-the-plate eight feet not a calling position third base line extended eight feet traditional default position eight feet Positioning for Plays at the Plate:

50 Random Guidelines for Plate Umpires Plate umpire has all Fair/Foul decisions unless a base umpire chases This includes ground balls and bounding balls over first or third base This is not an option to be to be changed in a pre-game discussion

51 Plate umpire initiates or wipes off the infield fly signal each time a new batter steps into the box or wipes it off if necessary Plate umpire initiates timing play signal each time a new batter enters the box Random Guidelines for Plate Umpires

52 On an out-of-the-park home run when teammates converge at or around home plate to congratulate the hitter Plate Umpire should move inside the diamond between the plate and the circle to see the runner touch home while watching for any touching of the runner by her teammates Once the runner has touched home plate, give a new ball to the pitcher and prepare to resume play. Random Guidelines for Plate Umpires

53 Do not trail unless the play is going to first base. Do not needlessly Hold the pitcher. Most pitchers wait until the batter is ready. Use the Hold signal to control a situation that needs controlling. Random Guidelines for Plate Umpires

54 Write down all conferences. Report changes to the official scorer and to each dugout without disrupting the flow of the game. Do not point at your partners to see if they are ready prior to start of the game or an inning. Look at them. If they are in position, then play ball. Random Guidelines for Plate Umpires

55 Thank You The bulk of the information provided within this presentation has been sourced from Emily Alexander’s original “Working the Plate” presentation. There have been slight adjustments made to accommodate changes that were made within the NCAA Umpire Manual pertaining to approved stances. “Thank You Emily”

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