Umpire FAQs

Updated Wednesday January 11, 2017 by North Lake Little League.

Serving as an Umpire for North Lake Little League


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Are Umpires paid?

NO! Umpires serving with North Lake Little League are volunteers like the majority of other leagues around Seattle. Most are parents of players in the league, but many umps serve without having children playing. Playing baseball/softball without an ump is challenging for players, coaches and spectators. In order to assure everyone interested in playing  in NLLL  can play, and in order to invest in gear and play fields, there are no future plans to pay for umpires.


Do I need to have an exceptional knowledge of baseball rules to effectively serve as an ump?

No. While it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the rules, as a new umpire there are four key jobs an ump needs to perform that you can do.

  • You need to control the game. Hold coaches and players accountable to the spirit of play, starting on time, keeping the game moving and using best judgment about safety issues on and off the field

  • You need to call balls and strikes. This does take some practice but is not difficult to learn

  • You need to make calls on the field, particularly regarding play around the bases, caught balls, fair/foul and the like.

  • And then there are those rules to figure out. Many rules you know if you are even a casual fan of baseball. Others can be learned a little at a time, and there are always other folks (including the coaches) who know the rules


    Is Umping stressful?

    There is no reason for umping to be stressful. In fact it is usually very fun and without a doubt being behind the plate is the best seat in the house from which to watch a game!


    Do I need to be behind the plate?

    No. Although the league’s greatest need is for plate umpires, the job of field umpire is also important. On the 60 foot diamond, the field umpire stands behind the base path and watches specifically for caught/dropped balls and safe/out on the bases.


    Is it safe to be an umpire?

    Yes! We can teach you all the basic skills and you will have all the right equipment. The strength and level of play in the introductory leagues is such that it is difficult to get hurt.


    Can I umpire my own kid’s games?

    Yes. In the regular season games (not playoff) you can umpire. If you like to follow your child’s game; the umpire has the best seat in the house. 


    What training is offered?

    The best training is to be mentored (on field) by an experienced umpire. There is also district classroom and on-field trainings as well as training resourcesand field training  through the league. 


    How do I deal with conflict?

    This is a great question. For the most part our record at Northlake Little League is very good. Because we don’t have legacy teams; we mix and match our kids on teams every year and have a great community of players and parents that know and care about each other. On the occasion of the controversial call or a situation with a coach or parent becoming upset; the bottom line is that the ump is in charge and if necessary the NLLL board executive committee will become involved in these situations and it gets handled.  While there are rules of the game; there is a strong league ethic of competing with class, having fun and continuous learning. This ethic extends from the players to the coaches to the umpires; we are an instructional league and are all learning.


    Cody Painter

    Umpire in Chief, North Lake Little League   Cell: 206-399-0593

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