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David W. Rainey and Janet D. Larsen

This study investigated the use of normative rules by baseball umpires. Normative rales are informal standards of conduct that deviate from the official rules of sport. Sixteen umpires, 25 coaches, and 27 baseball players defined the official upper and lower boundaries of the strike zone, marked these official boundaries on a Strike Zone Form, and marked where they actually call, or believe umpires call, the boundaries. Umpires were significantly more knowledgeable about rales than players were. Umpires reported setting the upper boundary of the strike zone significantly lower (an average of 2.64 inches) than the official rule specifies. Coaches and players reported that umpires lower the boundaries, but players overestimated how much umpires deviate from the rule-book boundaries. Results suggest that umpires consciously violate official rules. The ethical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Nathan Elsworthy and Ben J. Dascombe


The main purpose of the present study was to quantify the match running demands and physiological intensities of AF field and boundary umpires during match play.


Thirty-five AF umpires [20 field (age: 24.7 ± 7.7 y, body mass: 74.3 ± 7.1 kg, Σ7 skinfolds: 67.8 ± 18.8 mm); 15 boundary (age: 29.6 ± 13.6 y, body mass: 71.9 ± 3.1 kg, Σ7 skinfolds: 65.6 ± 8.8 mm)] volunteered to participate in the study. Movement characteristics [total distance (TD), average running speed, high-intensity activity (HIA; >14.4 km·h–1) distance] and physiological measures [heart rate, blood lactate concentration ([BLa–]), and rating of perceived exertion] were collected during 20 state-based AF matches.


The mean (± SD) TD covered by field umpires was 11,492 ± 1,729 m, with boundary umpires covering 15,061 ± 1,749 m. The average running speed in field umpires was 103 ± 14 m·min-1, and was 134 ± 14 m·min-1 in boundary umpires. Field and boundary umpires covered 3,095 ± 752 m and 5,875 ± 1,590 m, during HIA, respectively. In the first quarter, HIA distance (field: P = .004, η2 = 0.071, boundary: P < .001, η2 = 0.180) and average running speed (field: P = .002, η2 = 0.078, boundary: P < .001, η2 = 0.191) were significantly greater than in subsequent quarters.


The results demonstrate that both AF field and boundary umpires complete similar running demands to elite AF players and are subject to physical fatigue. Further research is warranted to see if this physical fatigue impacts on the cognitive function of AF umpires during match play.

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Jeremy R. Dugdale and Robert C. Eklund

Two studies grounded in ironic-cognitive-processing theory were conducted to determine (a) whether ironic errors may be associated with efforts to exert mental control that typically occur in sport settings and (b) whether these potential ironic effects could be negated through the use of a task-relevant cue word to refocus one’s thoughts during suppression. Participants were asked to watch a videotape of a series of clips of Australian Rules Football players, coaches, and umpires. Study 1 revealed that participants were more aware of umpires when instructed not to pay attention to them. Contrary to expectations, however, ironic effects were not significantly magnified by the combination of high cognitive load and the instruction not to pay attention to the umpires. Results from Study 2 indicated that potential ironic effects could be negated when individuals were given a task-relevant cue word to focus on when suppressing unwanted or negative thoughts. Overall, support for ironic processing theory was found in Studies 1 and 2 in this investigation.

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Lynn L. Ridinger, Kyungun R. Kim, Stacy Warner and Jacob K. Tingle

Australian basketball referees: A preliminary study . Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 25 , 97 – 103 . Kellett , P. , & Shilbury , D. ( 2007 ). Umpire participation: Is abuse really the issue? Sport Management Review, 10 , 209 – 229 . doi:10.1016/S1441-3523(07)70012-8 10

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Janet D. Larsen and David W. Rainey

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David W. Rainey, Nicholas R. Santilli and Kevin Fallon

This study examined baseball players' conceptions of umpires' authority. Eighty male players, ages 6-22 years, completed an abbreviated Inventory of Piaget's Developmental Tasks (Furth, 1970), which was used to measure cognitive development. They then heard recorded scenarios describing conflicts with an umpire and a parent. Players indicated if they would argue with the authorities, why they obey the authorities (obedience), and why the authorities get to make decisions (legitimacy). Obedience and legitimacy responses were categorized into Damon's (1977) three levels. Measures of arguing, obedience, and legitimacy were analyzed for four age levels and three levels of cognitive development. Older and more cognitively developed players were more likely to argue with authorities. Conceptions of obedience and legitimacy were positively associated with age, though they were not related to scores of cognitive development. The positive relationship between age and authority conceptions and the absence of a relationship between cognitive development and authority conceptions are both consistent with Damon's position.

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Bruce Elliott, J. Robert Grove and Barry Gibson

Eight international baseball pitchers were filmed in a laboratory while throwing from a pitching rubber attached to a Kistler force platform. Following a warm-up, all subjects threw fastballs (FB) until two strike pitches were assessed by an umpire positioned behind the catcher for both wind-up and set pitching techniques. Subjects then followed the same procedures for curveball pitches (CB). Both vertical (Z) and horizontal (Y) ground reaction force (GRF) data were recorded. A shutter correlation pulse was encoded so the temporal data from the film could be synchronized with the kinetic data from the force platform. Analysis of variance was used to analyze differences in force data at selected points in both pitching actions for both techniques. Vertical and horizontal GRFs increased from the first balance position to maximum levels at the cocked position for both techniques. Nonsignificant changes in GRF then occurred between the cocked position and front-foot landing. The Z GRFs were similar throughout the pitching action but higher in magnitude for the CB compared to the FB. Mean resultant forces were similar for the three fastest FB pitchers when compared to the three slowest pitchers. However, the slower group produced their peak resultant force earlier in the action, thus reducing the ability to drive over a stabilized front leg.

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Page B. Walley, George M. Graham and Rex Forehand

In response to a local youth sport organization's request, this study was designed to assess and, if necessary, modify the verbalizations made by adult observers of youth league (i.e., T-ball) baseball games toward the athletes, officials, and other observers. In a multiple baseline design across the observers of three teams, verbalizations were rated for content (i.e., positive, neutral, negative), target (i.e., child's team, umpire, opposing team, fan), and precipitating event (e.g., homerun, fly out) over a six-game season. Baseline results revealed that 3.42% of the observed intervals were composed of positive verbalizations, 7.50% of neutral, .28% of negative, and 88.80% of no statement. Following baseline, a self-instructional treatment utilizing a series of leaflets distributed across games was implemented to increase positive verbalizations. Treatment did not increase positive verbalizations; however, a follow-up questionnaire indicated that adult observers believed the leaflets had resulted in their increasing their frequency of positive verbalizations. Results are discussed in terms of the role of adult expectations of performance, attention given to low frequency occurrence of negative verbalizations, and future intervention strategies.

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Bart Roelands and Kevin De Pauw

important training and game statistics, the Hawk-Eye system in tennis helps umpires make the correct decisions, and the video assistant referee in soccer does the same—all indicators of how emerging new technologies optimize performance. For disabled athletes, specialized equipment or assistive technologies

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J. Montez de Oca

but did not instill individuality and liberty in citizens. Sport, on the other hand, is crucial to citizenship and democracy because it teaches self-control and self-regulation even when tenaciously pursuing one’s own goals and passions. Griffith calls this “umpired competition” where individuals