Softball is a great game in that it lets you have fun, learn team play and maintain good health all at once. However, like any other game, softball has its own set of rules and norms. If you are about to start playing softball, knowing these rules and norms will help you. Everything from equipment to positions is governed by rules. If you know these rules, this will give you an edge over most beginners. Following is a quick rundown of the rules and other important considerations for softball beginners.
Get the Equipment
You can play softball without proper equipment but that is not the right way to go about it. Equipment is important for many reasons. It helps you participate and perform in the game better. It also protects you physically so that you don’t incur any serious injuries. Protective helmet and chin guards are essential pieces of equipment for batters and catchers alike. Since the catchers are at a greater chance of facing high-speed hits, they should also wear chest protectors. Wearing this equipment will also boost your confidence and let you participate in the game more effectively.
Understand the Positions
A typical softball game has nine positions on the field. Each of these positions comes with its own set of rules. The player on each position must abide by the rules of his or her position. This is important because if you don’t know the position rules, you may not be able to follow the game properly. As a beginner, it is alright if you don’t know all the rules. Just start slow and gradually learn about all the positions. Better still, switch between different positions frequently so you can get a more hands-on understanding of them. This way, you will also be able to decide which position best suits your skills.
You may be tempted to go directly to a softball game and participate but that may harm you. Warming up is critically important because it tones you up physically and prepares you for the game. Without warm up, you may end up with a pulled muscle or stiff tendons during a game. This may, in turn, force you to leave the game and rest. On the other hand, if you warm up, you will be able to participate in the game with more energy.
There is a lot of throwing in a softball game. And if you want to be a good player, you must practice being good at throwing. Again, it’s understandable if you can’t throw well right away. It takes practice and patience to reach a level where you can throw accurately and powerfully. The best way to achieve that level is to simply practice throwing. Collaborate with your team members and practice throwing over 10 meters, 20 meters and 30 meters. Bend your knees slightly and focus your eyes on the target just before you throw the softball.
Know how to baserun
Baserunning is a crucial part of softball. This is what lets you garner scores during the game. Baserunning may seem like a lot of fun but again, there are a lot of rules to be followed during baserunning. The most basic rule is that when you are baserunning, you must run to the first, second and third bases before returning to the plate. And you are required to touch the first, second and third bags as well in order to score. Another vital rule to consider is that you can’t pass another runner who is in front of you. So even if you are tempted to overtake a slower runner, you shouldn’t.
Forceouts are when you are able to force out a runner who hasn’t yet made it back to the plate. A force out simple means that you are able to toss back the ball to the diamond ahead of a runner. For instance, if the runner is on first base and your throw reaches the second base, this forces out the runner. The important point to consider here is this: always try to maintain some margin. For instance, if the runner is on first base and you aim for the second base, there’s a very narrow margin. The runner may reach the second base in time and your throw will be wasted. So instead of throwing to the second base, aim for the third base. That way, you will have a better chance of forcing out the runner.
Softball is all about team play. You can’t wing it solo in a softball game. Besides, an important part of the game is to teach you how to collaborate with other people. Make some efforts of establishing a good relationship with your team members. When on the field, play collaboratively. All good players are also good team members. So if you are just beginning softball, know that team work matters a lot.
Just like throwing, pitching is also an important part of the softball game. Pitching is when a player throws the ball across to the batter on the plate. The aim of the pitcher is to try and make the batter miss the ball. Alternatively, the pitcher tries to throw a ball which the batter can’t hit very well. The best way to do so is to maintain maximum speed and throw the softball towards the inner or outer corners of the plate. The throwing action also matters. In softball, the pitcher typically brings down the throwing arm in a rolling motion and releases the softball at hip level. You may not be able to throw well in this motion but practice will help you get better.
Apart from your team members, you will also interact with others such as opponents, coaches and umpires on a softball field. You must always respect others and get respect in return. Do not ridicule or mock anyone and instead focus on improving your game. This will go a long way towards helping you become a great softball player.