National Umpires Association

Attributes of Great Umpires


The relentless pursuit of perfection can be applied to five skills areas if an individual is determined to achieve distinction as an umpire.

1. Rules Knowledge

  1. An intimate knowledge and understanding of the rules and their accurate and clear implementation.
  2. You're strong in some areas of the rules, not so strong in other areas, it's a fact of life with each of us. Pick those rules where you are weakest and learn them cold. Remember learning the rules and gaining a thorough understanding takes patience and time.
  3. Adopt a working knowledge of the rules in terms of advantage\disadvantage. Understand the intent of a rule not just the ability to recite it word for word.
  4. Avoid third world calls, they make you look like an amateur.

2. Timing and Judgment

  1. Make a conscious effort to slow down, make this a part of your pre-game check off list.
  2. Read, pause, react - allow plays to develop and come to a end before making your decision.

3. Mechanics

  1. Are all about your behavior and your willingness to put forth a focused, continuous, effort for the entire game.
  2. Be crisp in all of your actions.
  3. Hustle all the time. This always overlooked behavior on the part of umpires creates respect from all and keeps coaches in the dugout on close calls.
  4. Hit your spots on the field (positioning) with accuracy, know where you are supposed to be and where your partner is supposed to be. Learn to make immediate adjustments when your partner is out of position. You can talk about what should have been done when you and your partner do a post-game review.

4. Game Management:

  1. You are the final authority on the field, this means you have a duty to remain calm and in control at all times.
  2. Learn to be professional and approachable but not fraternizing.
  3. Raise the level of awareness in your game. Defuse potential situations before they have a chance to develop.

5. Appearance: It is your game to run! Run it!

  1. Dress impeccably as an umpire, it speaks volumes about how you accept your professional duties. If you look rumpled you will be treated with disrespect, you single handedly compromise your own authority. Fact: The higher the level of play the more profound this becomes. You earn respect by dressing the part.