Is the Slot the safest place??


You have many responsibilities protecting the integrity of a game. Your personal safety should be first and foremost because if your hurt, you cannot work and if you cannot work, you cannot be seen in order to be considered for post season.  Home plate stance can be challenging when asked to see and track pitches that span the 17" inch surface.

Your challenge is to provide as much safety from injury and good sight lines.

Head blows should be your main prevention of a proper plate stance.

Research has shown that sometimes it is not the severity of a single blow, but the frequency of glance blows that attributes to Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

An illustration of what has been researched and confirmed is shown below which speaks to the safety aspect of your plate stance. Be cognizant of stance behind the plate in addition to head height.

 *Reverse the order for a left handed batter.

Beginning from the outside "blue zone" or "flopping to other side" you will not have any protection working in concert with the catcher. You chance grave injury in this position.

NEVER work in the blue zone.

Working our way into the batter, the next zone "red" or "over catcher" represents the next area of potential injury, primarily to the head. You are in an area that should a foul tip occur- the ball will accelerate off the barrel of the bat up and into you. Another possibility is if the catcher is wearing a "hockey style" mask a ball may deflect up into you.

NEVER work in the red zone.

The next zone, "yellow" is less likely to cause you harm as the bat barrel is less thick, so the ball will not have the ability to accelerate as much as in the red zone if a foul tip were to occur.

While is it not recommended to work in the"yellow" zone, even the best of the best umpire wanders into that area occasionally to track a pitch.

OCCASIONAL work in area, caution, may lead to hard and soft tissue injury.

The last and safest of all plate areas is the " green" or "slot" zone. On a swing the bat handle's thinness will tip the ball more often down on a foul tip not up into you.

SUGGESTED work in this area, but be aware you may still suffer head or soft tissue injury.

There are varying opinions on where the umpire head height should be with regards to the catchers’ set- up position. Without jeopardizing your ability to call the pitch correctly, give yourself enough height for proper sight lines while allowing for as much protection from a blow.

Your style of plate stance should allow for ample sight and tracking lines while providing you with safety.

 Thank you for allowing Tips from the Athletic Trainer and Rod Walters Inc.
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