How To Become a Dominant Softball Fielder | Check Out the Top 3 Drills
Much of the success of a softball team and of individual softball players is the ability to field. This is true despite the star pitcher or the clutch hitter often receiving much of the post-game accolades.
A common softball saying is that the team that makes the fewest errors will be the one that wins. How can you be the best fielder possible to help your team win?
Of course, speed helps, especially for outfielders, but so many other aspects also go into what makes a good fielder.
How to field ground balls in softball
With how little time you have to whip the ball over to first or whichever base is appropriate given the circumstances, you must field a ground ball cleanly and quickly.
- Prior to every pitch, be mentally prepared for the ball to be hit in your direction. Practice this mindset every repetition.
- Physically, you should be on your toes with slightly bent knees, ready to quickly move to the left or right, if necessary, as well as snapping your glove into the air to snag a line drive.
- One of the ways to quicken the play and improve your odds of throwing a runner out is by if the ball is hit slowly, charging it.
- You want to reduce its number of bounces, if possible. Another decision that you want to practice making is deciding whether you can get in front of a ball or if it would be best to field it to the side. Of course, the former is preferred, but it’s not always possible.
How to track the ball in the outfield in softball
Tracking a ball in the outfield is a skill that’s often overlooked and simply assumed, but it is not always an easy one to master. Yes, it does come naturally to some, but it doesn’t to others.
It’s also one of the most important skills to master. Although it doesn’t receive the applause that diving catches do, being able to quickly track a fly ball often allows fielders to not need to make a diving catch in the first place.
- As you learn this skill, initially take a partial step back when you see the ball heading in your direction.
- As your skills improve, you won’t need to do this and can immediately rush in if it’s a bloop that might fall in front of you. Doing this as a beginner is important because it’s better to miscalculate by moving back too early as opposed to moving forward too early and having it go over your head and to the wall.
- As you practice this, work on getting to where the ball is falling in as direct a path as possible. You want to reduce any zig-zag moves that you make to that spot.
How to catch fly balls in softball
Once you’ve reached where the ball is falling or flying towards, you need to catch it. Of course, you always prefer settling under a fly ball, but this is not always possible.
As a result, you will sometimes need to open up your body as you reach for the ball, at times with your glove hand reaching away from your body and at times with it crossing your body such as a right-handed player running to their right to catch the ball.
- It’s important to practice all three of those types of catches as well as diving catches.
- You should also practice using what’s known as “soft hands.” This means that you’re allowing the ball to settle into your glove as you slightly move it towards you as you make the catch.
- Doing this reduces the chances of a ball going into and immediately out of your glove and hitting the ground.
Daily softball fielding drills for beginners
Take advantage of these softball fielding drills for beginners to improve your skills.
- For both infielders and outfielders, receive all types of balls hit to you. These can include ground balls, line drives, and pop ups.
- It’s important to keep this varied and to ensure that you don’t know what’s coming next. This will help you quickly adjust to these various situations.
- One drill that helps outfielders better play their position is to have balls hit hard off of the fence and practice reading how it ricochets and how to best cut down the amount of time that it takes to field it in order to keep a single from becoming a double or a double from becoming a triple.
- Another drill that’s important to do as far as the entire team goes is to have balls hit between fielders. Practice determining who will call for it and take care of it.
- The last thing that you want is to have neither player going for it or to have both go for it and possibly injure themselves as well as allowing the ball to drop between them.