Being Ready for the Plays

Softball season is nearly upon us and with training about to go underway – one thing that should be concentrated on from everyone is when to do your thinking.

It happens a lot at the start of the season that you get the ball and being a bit rusty you dither slightly and wonder where to throw it. It doesn’t matter that the pitcher has shouted 2 and 1, as although you heard it, your brain takes a while to warm up at the start of the season. So here are some tips to start the season with a bang and take those early points when the other teams are still recovering from the winter hibernation.

Know what you are going to do

Before the ball is pitched, take a look around and see where people are. Know already in your head that there is a runner on one therefore on the next play there are two possible outs on 2 and 1.

weigh up the opposition

You will get to know your opposition and you will get to know how hard they can hit it, where they can hit it and how fast they can run. Use this information to your advantage. If there is a very fast runner on one base and a much slower runner on another base, you could make a fielders choice to go for the slower runner, this puts you at a slight advantage of getting an out. Also if you know a batter hits straight up the center everytime, structure your play around it; if you are in rightfield, come in a bit and wait for the ball.

You are always involved in a play

Even if the ball is nowhere near you, you should be moving and getting involved in a play.

  • A pitcher covers a lead runner and also home plate or dead balls
  • A catcher covers home plate but can be ready for duff hits that hardly move
  • First base can cover second base if they end up moving outfield a bit and also can cover catcher
  • Second base and shotstop interchange constantly with both rotating as neccessary
  • Third base covers 2nd when necessary and also outfield for long relays
  • Outfield these should cover the whole infield, especially for fast ground balls that ‘escape’ the infielders – they should be prepared to relay the ball back quickly and also possibly come further infield for smaller hitters.

Listen to the plays

The plays sound a bit mad if you don’t understand what is being said so here are some examples:

Eyes on Mandy – this means that the play is on Mandy. If you get the ball then you need to get it to Mandy immediately (this is interchangeable with the base number too)
Plays on 1 – this is the base of where you can get an out
2 and then 1 – this means that essentially you could get a double play if you can quickly get it to 2nd base and then to the 1st base
tag on 3, runner on 1 – this would mean a person is on 2nd base and therefore is not forced to run but if they do you must tag them. The pitcher (or whoever is calling the plays may ignore this runner and concentrate on getting the 1st base out instead).

Mistakes will be made at the start of the season but that doesn’t matter if you have fun and learn from them. GO RIPPERS.