Notes from Kleiner's Korner
Week 8: Importance of Good Timing

March 27, 2023

This week, we talk about the importance of timing.  Everyone is in the home stretch to get out on the field and we have several scrimmages over the next 10 days.  I hope you take advantage of getting in some pre-season work.  Please focus heavily on your timing.  This very important aspect of umpiring and can really separate you from “an umpire” to “elite umpire”.
If there is only one thing that I can share with an umpire to help him or her become good at calling balls and strikes, it is slow down your timing. See the pitch all the way into the catcher’s mitt, make a decision, and then make your call. If you think of those three steps as separate and distinct aspects of calling all pitches, you will likely find that your timing will improve. On pitches that are not strikes, but rather close to the strike zone, making yourself stay down in your stance a little longer will help your timing and promote the appearance that you are very sure of yourself and your call. It also will help you avoid the infamous “stee-ball” call or “umpire balk” where everyone thinks you are coming up to call a strike, but instead you flinch as you change your mind.
Good timing can also help you avoid many other mistakes. You’ll be better at judging checked swings, foul tip, batter interference and catcher obstruction plays. Those plays all take normal human beings time to process and rule on. Don’t be afraid to take the time that you need to sort out what just happened so you can rule accordingly. One of the best bits of advice I ever received from one of my umpiring mentors was this: “If you are in the middle of what you think is a great game calling balls and strikes, tell yourself to slow down.”

Let the pitch POP into the mitt – now PAUSE to be clear what you saw – now make the CALL

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