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The Chief Umpire will be holding free training workshops for the Spring 2024 season at Fort Scott Field in the Presidio on the following dates:

Sunday, February 18, 1:00-3:00P 
Sunday, February 25, 1:00-3:00P 

Training workshops are open to both new and returning youth and adult umpires.  Please email the Chief Umpire at [email protected] to sign up.



Online Umpire Quiz - Can you make the right call?

Little League University - Videos for beginning umpires

Little League Umpiring 101 - Best site for beginning umpires - Newsletters & guides for baseball & softball

Useful Reading

Baseball Rules Primer (pdf)

Little League Rules Myths 

Umpire Positioning Diagrams (pdf)

Little League Rules Instructions Manual (pdf)


1. Do your best.  We all make mistakes, but fewer when you pay FULL attention to your game.  Hustle, but do not be in a hurry to call a pitch, catch, tag, forceout. PAUSE!

2. Beginners, you can do it!  90% of calls are not close. 90% of plays involve rules you already know. 90% of plays you can call even if not in best position. 90% of calls you get wrong will be accepted by coaches if you act confidently and look like you know what you are doing.

3. Meet with head coaches before game starts. Discuss ground rules (mainly balls going into dead ball areas).  Agree on when the umpire(s) will end the game. 10 minutes early is good to minimize contact with teams showing up for next scheduled game.  If working solo, have coaches agree that ball is dead anytime you turn your back to return to position behind plate.  If working alone from behind mound, remind coaches you will hustle to get best look possible to make difficult fair/foul determination.

4. When you have a partner, work together.  Arrive early before the start of the game to discuss and agree on who is responsible for what plays. On the small diamond, plate umpire gets catch/no catch on all fly balls, popups, line drives. All fair/foul decisions.  The base umpire gets forceouts and tagouts at all 3 bases.  When pitch is hit into outfield, BU should hustle into infield grass, then turn around to face outfield, to get view of all runners from middle of action.

5. Keep the game moving. Get game started on time.  Usually, no need to chat with your partner between innings.  Give pitchers 5 to 8 warmup pitches. Have next batter get in box promptly.  When ball is fouled out of play, quickly give catcher another game ball.

6. Plate umpires, trust your gear.  Try not to flinch.  Adjust straps so that mask is snug- not tight, not loose.  Plate Umpire needs long pants, protective jock equipment, baseball or soccer shoes (no metal cleats), official umpire shirt (provided by league) to go over chest protector. Base umpire needs cap.

7. Plate umpires should get into "slot" position, using "heel/toe" to get proper distance from catcher. If you put both hands behind your back, your torso will lean forward, exposing your throat to bounced pitches.

8. When a coach asks for "time" to question your call, treat them with respect.  Stay calm, remember it is not personal.  Listen to what the coach has to say.  Then, you can confer with your partner in private.  Use your baseball smarts to figure out how to interpret a rules situation, best you can. Then, let the coach know your decision. If you change your call, also briefly inform the other coach.  Say "let's play" to cut off any more discussion with the coaches.

9. Know where the ball is at all times.  Keep your eyes alert to surprise plays, especially when the play seems to be finished, but ball is still live.Practice using your ball/strike indicator WITHOUT looking away from play.  You do not need to keep eyes on the ball.  There are many situations where your main responsibility requires you to watch/glance at the runner(s), instead.

10. For your strike zone, have a consistent WIDE zone.  But, do not call strikes above armpits, nor below the knees.  If you call a shoulder-high pitch a strike, especially early in the game, you can tell the batter and catcher that the next same pitch will not get the same call.  For a slow pitch that crosses the knees, then bounces before catcher gloves it, call "ball."

11. Use a LOUD, clear voice to announce your calls. But, never say 'fair'; just use your right hand to point towards fair territory on ball hit to left side of field; L hand for 1st base side. Similarly, signal 'foul' with left or right hand, and say 'foul' only when it is a dead ball.  Know when to say 'time' or 'play.'Announce the count when it reaches three balls (with left hand) or two strikes (with R hand). For newer umpires, better too much voice, rather than not enough.

12. Be alert to safety issues.  Call 'time' to remind coach that on-deck batter is not allowed (except for Juniors and Seniors divisions).  Call 'time' LOUDLY to stop play, when pitcher starts to pitch when batter is not ready or when fielder is not ready (like tying shoe laces).

13. Have fun out on the field.  Relax when you can.PAUSE to appreciate the game. (Again, PAUSE to avoid blown calls!)  You are an important part of the San Francisco Little League community.  Thank you for umpiring!


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