Seeing the pitches from an umpire's perspective

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Aug 1, 2019
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Tuesday night I umpired my very first fastpitch game. HS rec level as a last-minute replacement. The biggest takeaway I had was it's not easy. Calling ball/strike is not easy because you have to imagine the borders of the zone floating in space.
I had a bit of an epiphany that when I work with pitchers and catchers, if there are multiple catchers, I'm going to have them take turns standing in as umpire when someone is practicing pitching. Then they can see the effect of catchers blocking the umpire's view if they don't get low, move around unnecessarily, or pop up early to throw down to second. They can also see the foolishness of a catcher trying to pull a pitch into the strike zone.
The umpire is calling ball or strike, so why not have the catchers see pitches from that perspective. Maybe that can help them become a little bit better catchers instead of just throwing up their hands when their coach asks "where was that pitch?"
 
Oct 1, 2014
1,776
113
USA
Makes sense to give your catchers that experience. Where appropriate, getting them to work behind the dish for scrimmages or even younger age group games would help also IMHO and who knows, they may even develop a future interest in becoming an umpire.

Yes, being able to convey meaningful info to the pitcher/coach about that umpires zone is critical.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
6,124
113
California
Good Topic! @Northball 🏆

Tuesday night I umpired my very first fastpitch game. HS rec level as a last-minute replacement. The biggest takeaway I had was it's not easy.

Calling ball/strike is not easy because you have to imagine the borders of the zone floating in space.
Especially when most pitches are to be on the edge of the strike zone is why what the catcher does is critically relevant to the outcome of numerous pitches!

Catchers body frames the plate and glove frames the pitch.


I had a bit of an epiphany that when I work with pitchers and catchers, if there are multiple catchers, I'm going to have them take turns standing in as umpire when someone is practicing pitching. Then they can see the effect of catchers blocking the umpire's view if they don't get low, move around unnecessarily, or pop up early to throw down to second. They can also see the foolishness of a catcher trying to pull a pitch into the strike zone.
The umpire is calling ball or strike, so why not have the catchers see pitches from that perspective. Maybe that can help them become a little bit better catchers instead of just throwing up their hands when their coach asks "where was that pitch?"
Use this for years to help catchers understand the importance of body position and glove work.

It is also good for the entire team (including coaches) to take a look at that so they can see the prospective the umpire is seeing the game from.
 
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Sep 29, 2014
2,405
113
At lower levels with inexperienced umpires this is pretty easy but most umpires that have experience and are good at what they do which unfortunately is not the majority have their strike zone pretty well locked down doesn't mean you can't get one or two calls but I think the idea that the catcher with their actions is getting tons of calls that aren't strikes called is exaggerated.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
6,124
113
California
1 or 2 calls an inning can be impact full!

Especially Pending the pitchers best location pitch and the mechanics used by the catcher can make a difference.
Most of the time pitchers are not aiming to throw a fat meat pitch, they are throwing to the edge and outside the strike zone. Pitch starts in the strike zone and moves away.

Think there can be a better/best combination of pitcher and catcher.
Vs
a combination that seems not to get the same strikes.
 
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