Softball: How to Play Like a Pro
Team sports has always been popular back in the days and even at present. Somehow, individual players who are engaging in such activity find it both exciting and challenging all at the same time. Exciting in the sense that since there are a number of players, each team member is eager to show off their skills to be able to achieve the goal which is to win. It is, at the same time, challenging because playing as a team requires teamwork and excellent communication skills to properly convey specific strategies in a game.
And just like any other team sports, playing softball also became famous and played by athletes of different ages. But did you know that softball was originally made to be played indoors? The sport was conceived in Chicago in 1887 by George Hancock. Softball is somewhat like baseball but is played on a smaller field. Basically, there are three types of softball. First is the slow-pitch softball which consists of ten players at once and there’s the fast-pitch softball where the pitch is intensely fast and players are only up to nine. And lastly, we have the modified softball which restricts the windmill windup of the pitcher.
But so much for that. Let me now walk you through the basic mechanics of the game.
Also known as Mush ball or pumpkin ball, softball was a term coined by Walter Hakanson. The game initially requires a field with quadrilateral linings that will serve as the running path. There should be four bases which will look like a square tile which must be 45 to 65 feet away from each base. Almost near the focus of the field is a circular hallmark specifically made for the pitcher. The ultimate goal of the game is to achieve more runs, which is also the term for points in the game, by way of hitting more bats and being able to run the bases making an entire home run. The opposing team must do everything to stop the other team from being able to score by getting the ball after hitting it.
Primarily, the offensive team must send a batter to the home plate. Each player will not be allowed to bat out of turn. The defense team, on the other hand, must send their pitcher in the field who will throw the ball to the direction of the home plate in a downward motion. The offensive team must hit the ball to have his teammates rotate amongst the bases but if the defense team throws the ball three times without being hit by the opposing team, the team on the offense will be sent out from the field which can also be called as a strike out. There’s also what we call the runners. They are the ones thrown out once the defensive team involves two or more players. Their role is to try to advance to open bases but cannot run back to their original base once they’re almost on to the next base. Once the ball gets hit in the air and is caught right before hitting the field, the batter is then considered out of the game. There are three types of ball. The first one is the fly ball. It is a ball that is hit high and deep. The second one is the pop fly where a ball is being hit high but short. The third one is the line drive ball which hits close horizontally.
Offensively, the technique is to skilfully hit the ball, allowing the batter to reach a base and advances other runners to the following bases in their front. The number of balls and strikes signifies how assertive the batter must be.
Defensively, the strategy is not to allow the offense team to reach a home run.
In addition to what has been mentioned, the gaming field is divided into two territories and those are the fair and the foul territory. The fair territory consists of the infield, the outfield including the outfield fence. The foul territory, on the other hand, is the foul lines that meet at the home plate and the right angle. At the back of the home plate is the backstop which measures 25 to 30 feet in length. The home plate is the edge of the bases.
The equipment need for the game are a ball, a metal or wooden bat, pair of gloves, a uniform and most importantly, protective gears which include helmets, shin guard, chest protectors, cleats, sliding shorts , face masks, and knee sliders. These protective gears are very important to ensure the safety of each player.
Even when the sport is called softball, its ball is never described as the latter. The ball used in this sport weighs between 178 to 198 grams and are usually covered in yellow or white leather. The sport also makes use of a bat which is used to hit the ball. The bat can either be made out of wood or steel depending on the player’s choice. Gaming materials also include gloves to effectively catch and throw the ball with maximum grip. Protective gears, on the other hand, is a must because this sport is very physical and requires extensive running, sliding and at times, players might be injured trying to catch the ball or trying to run over bases.
The entire game is supervised by an umpire. An umpire is basically known as the referee of the game which oversees the fouls committed to and committed by the players. Their decision is always considered final and correct.
Players must be physically and mentally ready to endure the game which usually runs at about an hour or two. In other words, that will be 2 long hours of running and sliding to come out victorious. This game is definitely not for the weak of heart for it will entail endurance and mental decisions and even aggressiveness. Just a friendly advice, when joining such sport make sure not only to familiarize the entire game but to also be on guard and protect self at all times.