Umpiring a softball game is no easy feat. There will always be someone griping about your calls, simply because it's tough to call an entire game without displeasing at least one person. Don’t let this stand in your way! If you have what it takes — comprehensive knowledge of the game, patience, and poise — you can be one of best umps around.Get Certified
Before donning that powdered blue umpire shirt, you have to be certified. Certifications offer several benefits — classes, training, and shadowing, to name a few. Softball Canada, softball’s governing body, offers certification courses for any aspiring umpire. Pass the test and you’re in.
If an umpire is recognized to be one of the most elite Amateur Softball Association umpires, he has the opportunity to be recruited by the International Softball Federation (the world’s governing body for softball). This will allow him to umpire international competition — the highest accomplishment among umpires.Umpire Responsibilities
On the field, there are two umpires: The plate umpire and the field umpire. The plate umpire calls the pitches, and the field umpire calls the plays around the bases. Once the game starts, their responsibility is foremost to work together to call a fair game. However, it’s not that easy.
To be able to call a fair game, an umpire needs to know the rules and regulations [in-link], and he needs to know how to apply them to every situation. Below are some of the main attributes an umpire will need to be successful:
There needs to be ample communication before and during the game. Prior to the coin toss, for example, the plate umpire needs to make sure everyone is introduced at the plate: Coaches, umpires, and team captains. The umpires should cover all field rules and conditions. It would also benefit the pre-game conference if both umpires walk the field beforehand to find the dead-ball areas — such as under a tarp roller or a hole in the fence — so that it’s easier to discuss in the conference.Equipment & Uniform
Yes, even umpires have to wear uniforms. They also need a few pieces of equipment to be safe on the field. The list of what an umpire needs is short, but necessary:
The plate umpire also needs a few more items:
Above all, just remember two things. The first is that umpiring is a job; you should act friendly, but you aren’t there to make friends. The second is that coaches know their stuff; they’re not always wrong, which means you won’t always be right, either! Everyone is capable of error on the field — mistakes are part of the game. You can only help what you control — and that’s calling the game as honestly as you can.
Be decisive and unbiased, and never play favorites. Likewise, never hold grudges — against teams, coaches, or individual players. You can never let a disagreement on the field get personal. Now that you know what it takes to be an umpire, check out iSport’s guide, Umpire Signals in Softball, to make your desire of becoming an umpire a reality.