The Important Things to Know in Playing Softball
Softball is the only game which allows people from all ages to participate in. In fact, a lot of kids are already well-versed in the sport. This sport doesn’t require a top-notch coach or mentor to be able to have a full grasp of the game. Learning the basics is a lot helpful to be able to play the game easily and enjoyably.
This article is your best access to know everything about the sport. This is intended for all the beginners who seek guidance in learning the basics and everything that there is to know about softball. We have also indicated specific steps for beginners and even those who want to widen their knowledge about it.
Differentiating Softball and Baseball
Softball and baseball are two sports which have almost the same rules and equipment but have notably few differences. The most prime difference between the two is the way the ball is being pitched. In softball, the ball is pitched underhand which is the total opposite in baseball. Softballs are larger in size and a lot heavier compared to baseballs.
The softball fields are also smaller compared to baseball fields and the inning is only seven instead of the baseball inning which is nine. The bats being used in softball are a little shorter and have a wider barrel than the bats in baseball.
Gears and Equipment
- Mitt is the glove one wears when not batting. Mitts are made of leather and should be worn by the secondary hand. For the newly purchase mitt, breaking it is very recommended to be able to remove the stiffness of the fresh leather. One can do this by baking it in the oven using special oil, drying it up in the sun and using it in playing catch.
- Bats are necessary in playing softball as it is the main equipment for the sport. Softball bats should match the player’s size and strength. Thus, the length, size and style should be considered.
- Batting Helmet is very important when playing softball to ensure the safety of the players.
- Getting a pair of cleats is also recommended when playing softball just like any other sports.
Slow Pitch and Fast Pitch
There are two types of Softball pitches which differences may not be obvious on the first look but still need to be discussed as they also indicate importance. Slow pitch, as the name implies is typically pitched by flinging it slowly into the air. Fast pitch is primarily intended for women players and is usually done by throwing the ball very rapidly with a large wind-up.
The Softball Rules
All softball games have seven innings and include two halves. The first half is when one team, usually known as the away team goes up to bat. The second half is when the other team, usually called as the home team takes the position of the away team to go up to bat. The half of an inning is continuously played until the team in the field makes three outs.
Rules to remember:
The pitcher will pitch the ball to the player who will bat until the following happens:
- When they get three strikes. This usually happens when the pitcher throws the ball into the strike zone and the batter doesn’t swing or if they swing, they miss hitting the ball.
- When four balls are thrown. This is when bad pitches are done outside the strike one.
- They walk the batter which is the result of hitting him or her with the ball.
- There are few ways to get a batter out. First, the pitcher can throw three strikes. Second, the field players can also get a batter out by catching a fly-ball mid-air which he or she has hit. Once this is done, the batter will be automatically out regardless if it was a foul ball.
- To get a runner out, the fielders should get the ball on time and tag the runner out by physically hitting him with the ball on the fielder’s hand while running between bases. Another option is to do a forced out. Forced out is done by throwing the ball on the base which the runner is heading to.
- Getting a “run” or a score is done by those players who are up to bat. They should go to home plate, hit the ball and run all the way around the bases.
- After the seven innings, the team with the highest number of runs will be declared as the winner. If there is a tie, a decision to end the game as a tie or play additional innings until one of the teams score more runs.
Getting Familiar with the Positions in the Field
The players on the field will need to take specific positions on the field. These players should not move around unless instructed by their coach. These positions also are expected to come with different functions.
- Infield is the most active section in the field. Here, one can find the catcher, pitcher, first base, second base, shortstop and third base.
- Outfield composes three primary positions; the left field, center field and the right field. There are leagues and games that also divide the center field into two positions: the left and right center.
- The catchers and pitchers are considered infielders and they are tasked to perform specific and specialized positions that require additional field practice.
Learning to Bat
Softball requires all the players to know how to bat since this will definitely make a difference when scoring. The following are the things which one needs to know when batting:
- Keep your feet on apart and even. Bend your knees and lean forward to execute the “ready position. Upon swinging, the weight should be on the back foot.
- Hold the bat in the right position which is basically the portion between the base of the bat and the metal at the top.
- Preparing to swing includes the bat being held properly and the knees bent.
- Upon swinging, the bat should be leveled and the player should not reach for the ball to avoid committing strikes or bad hits.
Throwing the Ball
Playing softball requires practice and discipline to be able to perform properly and ensure winning. Throwing the ball is not as simple as it sounds. The following are things which should be religiously done while throwing the ball:
- Stretching and warming up.
- Practice throwing at a possible distance.
- The correct stance in throwing is to throw facing away from the target and standing perpendicularly to the line of throw.
- Grip the ball properly by holding it with the fingertips lying over the seams.
- Aim for the target.
Everything is already covered in this article for one to be fully prepared in playing the sport. The steps are already presented and the rules are discussed. This article hopes that after reading this, you are now all set to win your first softball game. One thing that should be remembered is that there is always a room for improvement. Thus, continue reading. Learning and practicing.