Plate Umpire Evaluations

APPEARANCE - Do you look good in a uniform are do you look like a FRUMP?  What is a FRUMP?  You know it when you see it.  To me a Frump is an umpire that looks like he just got out of bed in his uniform and looks like he has never cleaned it or washed it.  Are you athletic looking and appear in good physical shape?  Is your uniform clean/pressed, shoes shined?  Do you have good posture?  Do you use professional mannerisms?  Do you exhibit good body language?  What is good body language?  You stand erect and don't lean to one side, your arms are not folded across your chest, your hands are not consistently on your hips, etc.  You look confident but not arrogant.

MECHANICS/STYLE/FORM - Do you give clear and authoritative signals or are they incomplete and non-authoritative?  Do you look smooth and relaxed or do you exhibit choppy and uncoordinated movements?  Do you project your confidence?  Do you coordinate your voice with your signals or do you use your voice and then give the signal.  Most professional umpires that are respected coordinate their voice with their signals.  Are you a showboat?  Remember the game is about the players and not about you.  Do you change your mechanics during the game or do you do the same mechanic each and every time you have the same play.  If you need to change the mechanic you do so only on the ones that are in need of selling.

USE OF VOICE - Is your voice loud enough to be heard (ASSERTIVE) or does your voice draw undue attention (AGGRESSIVE).  In other words does your voice match the situation.  A ball call should be heard in the dugouts and the strike call should be heard in the stands behind the dugouts.  Obvious balls have less emphasis than the close pitches.  A called strike three has more emphasis than a called strike one.

JUDGMENT OF THE STRIKE ZONE - Do you interpret and call the strike zone as it is written in the rule book?  Do you call strikes on "unhittable" pitches?  You shouldn't.  Do you call borderline pitches strikes?  You should.

CONSISTENCY OF THE STRIKE ZONE - Do you maintain the same zone throughout the game?  Do the late innings stay the same as the previous innings?  Are you a 5 inning umpire as opposed to a 9 inning umpire?  We need 9 inning umpires.  Is the strike zone the same for both teams throughout the game? 

TIMING ON PITCHES - Do you anticipate the pitch?  No, that is good.  Do you allow everything that can happen, to happen before making a decision and then make the call?  If so, that is good.  Do you make the call as the pitch is approaching or just crossing the plate?  If so, that is too quick.  In other words do you SEE IT, DECIDE IT, AND THEN CALL IT?  If so, you are using good timing.  This means you are using your eyes properly.

FEET, BODY, HEAD POSITIONING - Do you establish a "LOCKED IN" position.  Do you drift side to side or up and down with the pitch?  If so, this is not good.  Do you flinch on pitches during swings, foul tips or check swings or balls in the dirt?  If you do, you need to learn to not flinch and that can come from practice in batting cages or in your games when you don't have good catchers to work with.  Stay in their and let your equipment protect you.  Do your feet remain stable throughout the pitch?  Do you have a solid base in your stance?  Do your eyes remain horizontal with the ground?  Are you square to the pitcher or are you tilted sideways somewhat?  You need to stay square to the pitcher.  Is your head height in the correct position allowing for an unobstructed view of the entire plate?  Do you work in the "SLOT" and not over the top of the catcher or to the outside?  In the SLOT means you have your eyes in the middle of the slot.  This is where you must get your feet into proper position for that pitch.  Each pitch has its own correct position and you must learn to relax between pitches and step back after each pitch and don't get locked into the same foot position for all pitches.

HUSTLE/MOBILITY; COORDINATION -  Do you move from behind the plate when the ball is hit?  Do you remove your mask with your left hand properly and not dislodge your cap?  Do you give up on routine plays?  You should not because there are no routine plays.  Do you get into position to make calls?  Do you show good agility and coordination?  Do you have smooth and fluid movements?  Do you over hustle to draw attention to yourself?  Do you move back to proper position after plays?

REACTION TO DEVELOPMENT OF PLAYS - Do you show good baseball umpiring instincts?  Do you know where plays are going to happen and get in proper position before the play happens?  Do you rotate and stay home at the appropriate times?  Do you establish proper angles for each play?  Do you make adjustments for bad throws or unusual situations?

CREW COMMUNICATION - Do you use the proper verbal and non-verbal communications - red book language?  Do you show good eye contact with your partner between hitters and during developing plays?

CREW MECHANICS - Do you show good knowledge of proper mechanics - Red Book Mechanics?  Do you rotate in the proper situations?  Are you alert enough to adjust if your partner misses a coverage?

CHECK SWINGS - Do you have good judgment on check swings?  Are you assertive when you make the call on a checked swing?  Do you use proper appeal mechanics, Red Book Language?  Do you use your voice properly here?

GENERAL DEMEANOR BEHIND THE PLATE - Do you have a commanding presence?  Do you project confidence?  Are you assertive?  Do you show a strong, confident and in charge of the field presence?

ON-FIELD ATTITUDE - Do you portray a professional attitude?  Do you appear focused on the game?  Do you show that you are alert?  Do you show game intensity?  Do you exhibit Positive Body Language?  Fraternization (too much with teams and partner is not acceptable).  You do need to be approachable but also firm.

OFF-FIELD ATTITUDE - Eagerness to learn and improve.  Willingness to accept constructive criticism.  Relationship with your partner.  Interaction with your evaluator and others.  General appearance.  General conduct.

HANDLING SITUATIONS - Calm, professional, firm demeanor.  Good verbal communication.  Does not get rattled or adjust calls because of comments from the dugout(s).  Proper use of warnings (probably not going to happen in fall baseball often).  Does not demonstrate / excessive use gestures.  Able to control the situation and take action without becoming aggressive (assertive is better).  Does not have a "quick trigger", but knows when to eject (again in fall baseball there probably will not be any situations where this will become anything that you will do).  Able to resume focus of the game after the situation.

KNOWLEDGE AND APPLICATION OF THE RULES - You have a solid knowledge of the rules (sometimes in games there are really no rules to actually apply).  Familiar with the 'actual' rules and their interpretations.  Applies the rules with common sense and fair play/not overly technical.  Applies the appropriate penalties/awards.  Understands the concept of specific rules.



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