Plate and Field Mechanics (eng)


  • Position yourself in the “SLOT” behind the catcher and slightly on the inside corner of home plate. Feet are shoulder width and the inside foot slightly forward. It is very important to stay in balance.
  • Bend your knees while keeping your back as straight as possible
  • Your eyes are lined up on the inside corner of home plate and the top of the strike zone. This position allows the catcher to move free up and down without obstructing the umpires view
  • PRIOR to assuming set position. Assume the ready position by properly placing the feet and waiting relaxed and standing up.
  • The proper time to drop in the set position is depends on the speed of the pitcher. Guideline: drop in the set position immediately after the pitcher has started the wind-up, but prior to the release of the ball. Make sure that you can see the ball the entire way, from the point of release to the plate. If you cannot see the release, the ball seems to explode in your face when it crosses home plate. So you deflect a moment your concentration and will loose the strike zone


  • It is important that the umpire develop proper timing and rhythm in making ALL CALLS. That rhythm should not vary, only the emphasis of various calls will change
  • The plate umpire sets the tempo and controls the game. If he is going to do so, he must first be in control of himself. The first step is to develop a sense of timing and rhythm.
  • An umpire, who makes calls quick on every pitch, will appear to be guessing. Call every time in same rhythm so that – should you be in doubt – no one will notice.
  • Timing must be slow enough, yet deliberate and consistent. Look to every play like a photographer making a picture. Stay still, don’t move, the picture must be sharp! Develop it, watch it again and than take your decision.
  • Allow the pitch to cross home plate. Do not make a call until the catcher has touched the ball.


  • In making a strike call, your first move may be back with the lead foot while coming up to a standing upright position. Now make the strike call. This gives a little distance between you and the catcher should he suddenly throw to a base. Make the proper mechanic procedure for showing every body that it is a strike.
  • Should the pitch be a ball, make a crisp verbal call. Step back with the lead foot while coming up to standing upright position. Drop your arms to your sides, relax and wait for the next pitch. Balls should always be called from the down or set position and before any move is made toward the upright position.


  • The plate umpire is responsible for keeping the proper count. Relay the count periodically by giving the number of balls with the left hand and the number of strikes with the right hand. In addition give the count verbally, always with the number of balls first. To prevent questions, signal the count when the pitcher is looking at you.
  • How often the count is given:
    –> When requested
    –> After a delay in the normal flow of the game
    –> Whenever the next pitch could end the batters time at bat (after three balls or two strikes). The next pitch might result in base on balls or a strike out.


  • Softball –> Fly balls are called by the plate umpire, infield fly by all umpires.
  • Baseball –> Fly balls are called by the plate umpire and base umpire depending on the situation, see 2 man system explanations


  • On fly balls near the base lines, the priority is always fair or foul, then out or safe.
  • If you do not think in terms of these priorities and a ball near the base line is dropped, everyone knows that the batter is safe, but no one, including the umpire will know whether the ball was fair or foul.
  • The plate umpire must go out as far as possible and get the best look at the ball.
  • Batted balls that are obviously fair or foul only needed to be called foul or called out or signaled fair.
  • A batted ball near the foul line should always be called in a very decisive manner:
    –> All foul balls (except if caught): the dead ball signal precedes the foul ball signal. The foul ball signal in an extension of either arm away from the foul line.
    –> On all caught balls, the ball remains alive and a clear out call and signal is all what is needed.
    –> On all fair balls, the umpire only indicates the ball fair by pointing into the fair territory. No voice is used.
    –> Batted balls hit out of the park near the foul line should also be called very decisively together with the proper signal.

Leaving the plate area and moving towards first base;

  • Always leave the plate area to the left. This avoids collision with the catcher who will normally leave the plate area to the right side to back up.
  • With no runners on base or a runner on first base only, leave the plate on the left side and follow the runner towards first base in fair ground. Ideally you should go about half way to first base and come to a stop slightly inside fair territory. Then observe the play. Always think that your first priority is the fair or foul call.
  • This will enable you to make the call or to assist the base umpire in following situations:
    –> 1) Collisions by the catcher and the batter-runner
    –> 2) Tags made by the catcher or any infielder on the batter-runner. This play is the responsibility of the plate umpire when it occurs prior to the three-foot line.
    –> 3) Assisting on a possible swipe tag by the first baseman.
    –> 4) Violation of the three foot lane
    –> 5) Overthrows and blocked balls
    –> 6) A pulled foot
    –> 7) A juggled catch
  • After moving to first base with a runner on first base, be aware of a possible play at third base as that is the responsibility of the plate umpire.