Tournament season is only a few weeks away, and now is the time when you should be physically refining mechanics, and mentally preparing for the postseason.
Among the most important things you should be doing in this time leading up to the first game of district play is familiarizing yourself with the tournament rules.
These rules can be found in the tournament section in both the Little League Baseball® and Little League Softball® Rulebooks. Be very careful when reading the rules because there are certain rules that are specific to different divisions of baseball and softball. Make it a habit to review the tournament rules before each game so you are familiar with the rules specific to the division of play you are officiating.
Each year, prior to the start of the District Tournament, District Administrators are strongly encouraged to hold tournament-related meetings where any rule changes, and various points of emphasis can be openly discussed. Volunteers invited and attending this meeting include; Tournament Directors, Managers, Coaches, Umpires, and any other volunteer participating in the tournament. Tournament procedures, including the rules and regulations, are to be covered at these meetings. Contact your District Umpire-In-Chief (U.I.C.) and find out when and where these meetings will be held and make it a priority to attend.
If you reach out to your District U.I.C. or District Administrator and find out that no such meeting is planned, stress how important it is to the operation of the tournament for everyone involved to get in a room and establish a plan. Without having a discussion, and addressing the basic operations of the tournament, the event may not be as successful as it could be.
Little League has worked diligently in the past year to provide umpires with the information needed to improve. From new training techniques available through clinics, to online materials, and other related opportunities, volunteer umpires have the means to confidently walk on to a field and do right by the children. All of Little League’s tournament resources are available on the Tournament Toolkit website.
Little League requires that at least two volunteer umpires be scheduled for each tournament game. In some cases, three and four umpires are scheduled. You should be familiar with three- and four umpire mechanics for the 60- and 90-foot diamonds. Remember, an effective pre-game meeting with your partners will reduce the guesswork, limit the possibility of protests, and go a long way toward keeping control of the game.
There’s not much time left, so read up on the rules now and get ready for this summer. The more that you know, the better your games will be for yourself and the players. Have a great tournament season!
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Fairball | May 2015 | URC | Registry