It’s Getting “Hot” Out Here!

May 01, 2014

Article by Doug Cundall, Softball Canada Officials Development Committee

Coaches will disagree with calls! That is stating the obvious! It isn’t a case of “Will it happen?” but rather a case of “When will it happen?”  As a coach you have to be prepared.  There are several basic rules of working with a situation where a call has not gone your way. 

  1. Be prepared to make sure that it is a one-on-one conversation.  Have your fellow coaches and players understand that when you arrive to discuss the call with the umpire they will move away. 
  2. Always be a good listener!  Consider what is being said.  Make eye contact! Let the umpire explain the call to you and ask for rule references if it is a rule call.  He just might have a good point to make. Ask the umpire to check with his partner(s) on a rule call or if you think that the umpire had a bad angle or a long distance call.
  3. Be alert and relaxed. Try not to clench – teeth, arms, body or facial expressions. Body language is very important and it tells a story all on its own.  You want to appear receptive to the umpire’s message. Stay calm!
  4. Initially move quietly and at a reasonable speed towards the umpire out on the diamond. It sends a good message. Once you meet with the umpire be sure to be firm in approach and posture.  Not aggressive but firm! Be calm and explain your points and explain why you think the call is incorrect. Be ready to end the conversation once the umpire has explained his reasons for making the call.
  5. Keep your hands down and not waving around.  If you are one of those people who “talk with your hands” then practice in front of a mirror without moving your arms. Never touch an umpire with hands, body or even your hat peak.  That is grounds for immediate ejection!
  6. Respect gains respect!

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