Umpire Training

In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of umpiring softball games in accordance with United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and the Adult Softball Association of Irving (ASAI).

Softball Basics

Softball Basics

Knowledge Check 1

The (position) plays between the 2nd and 3rd base.

Knowledge Check 2

  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 9
How many defensive positions are there in softball?

Classifications of Umpires

General Umpire Responsibilities

Umpiring

Umpires, oversee the game to ensure fair and safe play. Umpires use hand gestures and verbal calls to signal their rulings on the field. In this section, you’ll learn the general rules of being an umpire and the types of umpires and their responsibilities

Umpire in Chief

Umpire in Chief 

The umpire in chief (i.e., plate umpire) is positioned behind the catcher and has several important duties. In addition to being responsible for the proper conduct of the game as a whole, the plate umpire: 

  • Declares when a game is forfeited 
  • Calls "play ball", to signal that it is time for the pitch


Click on the hot spots below to read more of the plate umpire's duties.

Umpire in Chief Duties

Click on the Hot Spots below to read the umpire in chief's duties.

Knowledge Check 1

  • Call infield fly balls
  • Make base decisions
  • Determine whether a runner leaves the bag before the pitch
  • Declare a ball bunted
  • Determine if non-hit pitches are strikes or balls

Which of the following are responsibilities of the umpire in chief (plate umpire)?
Select all that apply

Base Umpire

Base Umpire

The base umpire (i.e., field umpire) has a variety of responsibilities on the field. Primary calls include calling base runners safe or out at one of the bases. In order to fairly determine if a player is safe or out, the base umpire must watch for:

  • Runners leaving the base(s) early 
  • Tag-ups (after a ball is caught, a runner can tag the base they're on and attempt to advance to the next base)

Click on the Hot Spots below to read the field umpire's duties.

Base Umpire Duties

Click on the Hot Spots below to read the base umpire's duties.

Knowledge Check 2

  • Determine whether a ball hits or goes over the fence in the outfield
  • Judge non-hit pitches as strikes or balls
  • Make the primary call at all of the bases.
  • Keep track of time during the game
  • Call an infield fly
Which of the following are responsibilities of the base umpire (field umpire)?
Select all that apply

Shared Authorities and Solo Umpiring

Shared Authorities

The plate and the field umpire have a few shared authorities that can be exerted when necessary. These authorities are: 

  • Call a base runner out for leaving too soon
  • Remove a player, coach, manager or fan for violating USSSA or ASAI rules
  • Call, "Time" when a play should be suspended


Solo Umpire Responsibilities

Solo umpires are responsible for almost every aspect of a game. When officiating alone, the umpire must take on the jobs of both the plate and the field umpire. 

Positioning

A solo umpire starts out positioned behind the catcher to call balls and strikes. When a ball is hit, they relocate to a spot on the field where they can give their best judgement when carrying out their miscellaneous duties until the play is over and the ball is not in play. 


Quiz Question 1

Match each responsibility to the correct umpire(s).
  • Umpire in Chief
    Call a foul tip
  • Base Umpire
    Determine whether a ball hit or cleared the fence
  • Solo/Both Umpires
    Call "Time" when a play should be suspended

Quiz Question 2

the authority to call a base runner out for leaving too soon.

Quiz Question 3

Match each responsibility to the correct umpire(s).
  • Field Umpire
    Render base decisions at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base
  • Solo/Both Umpires
    Remove a player, coach, manager or spectator if they violate USSSA or park rules
  • Plate Umpire
    Render base decisions at home plate

Quiz Question 4

The is responsible for making sure infielders are not obstructing the runners path.

Common Calls and Signals

Introduction to Common Calls and Signals

Making the Call

Umpires use hand gestures and verbal calls to signal their rulings on the field. Gestures are combined with vocalizations to more clearly convey information to the players and audience. 

In this section, you’ll learn when and how to make the appropriate call during a game by utilizing the proper hand signals and vocalizations.

No Pitch

How to signal No Pitch

Extend your right hand towards the pitcher with your palm facing outwards.

Safe

Calling a runner Safe

1.  Extend both arms together in front of you 

2.  Give a quick, sweeping motion outward, roughly parallel to the ground, palms down. 

On close plays, you can verbalize the call.

Knowledge Check 1

What is the proper signal for calling a foul ball?

Fair Ball

How to call a Fair Ball 

1. The plate umpire should come out from behind the plate and up the foul line to better visualize the ball. 

2. He should then straddle the line and stop as the ball approaches the bag or the line.

3. Point into fair territory with either your left or right arm to indicate that the ball is fair. 

A fair ball is never verbalized

Strike & Strikeout

How to call Strikes and Strikeout

1. Raise right arm to shoulder level 

2. Bend the elbow at 90°

3. Hammer fist down 

Only verbalize the strike if the batter doesn't swingOn a Strikeout, add vocal emphasis to your call and say, "three" or "strike three"


In Field Fly

How to call an Infield Fly

1. Make a fist with the right hand

2. Extend your right arm above your head

Yell, Infield Fly, while making the call.

Foul Tip

How to call a Foul Tip 

1. Extend you left arm and brush the back of your left hand with your right hand, 

2. Signal the strike with the right hand. 

Never verbalize "foul tip" because this could be confused with a call of "foul."

Knowledge Check 2

What is the proper signal for calling an infield fly?

Count

How to deliver the Count

Show the number of balls using the fingers on with left hand and the number of strikes with the right. 

A verbal report is made usually after the second or third pitch and from then on.

Play Ball

Play Ball

Wave or point to the pitcher, using the hand that is closer to him or her. 

“Play ball” should be announced.

Out

How to call an Out

1. Form a fist with the right hand

2. Deliver a quick, sharp blow. 

Vocalize, "Out" while executing the hammering motion



Knowledge Check 3

Select the appropriate signal for calling Play Ball

Quiz Question 1

Drag to match the appropriate call to it's signal.
  • Safe
  • No Pitch
  • Fair

Quiz Question 2

  • True
  • False
True or False: While delivering the count; the right hand is used to express the number of strikes

Quiz Question 3

  • Called Strike
  • Fair Ball
  • Swinging Strike
  • No Pitch
Which of the calls always require the umpire to vocalize the call in addition to making the signal?

Quiz Question 4

  • Foul Ball
  • Out
  • Foul Tip
  • Infield Fly
In the video below, what call is made?

Quiz Question 5

Which image correctly displays how to deliver the Count if the batter has 3 balls and 2 strike?

Quiz Question 6

Fill in the blanks below to complete the instructions on how to call a Foul Tip.

1. Extend you arm and brush the back of your left hand with your right hand

2. Signal a with the right hand.