While softball is a relatively new sport, its principles have been around for a long time. The first softball leagues were formed in the late 1800s as a way to pass the time. It has evolved a great deal since then and today is a competitive sport that can be played by men and women alike.
People find softball fun, especially within a community. You can gather into different groups, design uniforms, and get custom softball bags.
If you want to be competitive, you need to learn about the fundamentals of the game. The following are a few tips and pointers that can improve your game and increase your softball playing experience.
Softball vs. Baseball
Softball and baseball are very similar that people sometimes confuse them. Before you can understand how to improve your softball game, you need to understand several things between the two sports.
Both baseball and softball require that a player bat, throw, or catch during the game. They also share a home plate, which must be used by one of two teams. The pitchers throw to the catcher or sometimes the mound. When a player steps into the home plate, he must slide to one side of the plate or over the bag.
The main difference between softball and baseball are the size of the field and tools used in a game. In an Olympic stage, the distance between bases is about 90 feet in baseball and only 60 feet in softball. For the balls, a softball measures between 11.88 and 12.13 inches in circumference and weighs at most seven ounces. Baseballs are smaller, only around 9 and 9.25 inches, and lighter at around 5.25 ounces. Baseball bats are longer at 42 inches long compared to softball bats that are only 34 inches.
Another difference between the two is that baseball pitchers pitch from an elevated mound while softball pitchers pitch inside a designated circle. Aside from that, baseball pitchers throw the ball faster at 90 miles per hour, while softball pitchers only pitch at around 60 miles per hour. Lastly, baseball games have nine innings, while softball games only have seven.
Drills to Improve Softball Skills
By knowing the differences between softball and baseball, you’re now ready to improve your skills. Similar to training like a major league player, softball requires players to practice drills on pitching, catching, throwing, and batting. To have a good softball game, you need to improve on these fundamental skills:
A proper softball warm-up contains a few minutes of running to increase your core’s temperature, a few stretches to slowly warm muscles, and some simple throwing drills before moving on to harder throws.
A good place to start when doing this is with a light jog. This will also help increase your metabolism and get your heart rate up. If done right, it will help you feel pumped up, even if it’s only just a small amount of work. If not, make sure that your warm-up routine includes stretching exercises. Make sure that your equipment is comfortable and that your cleats are fitted properly.
2. Pitching Drills
Pitching drills focus on mechanics. For example, some drills are designed to teach players to keep their arms down while pitching the ball. If the pitcher keeps his arm down during a pitch, the ball is pitched faster and with more velocity, which is ideal.
Other softball pitching drills concentrate on keeping the arm high throughout the pitch. This results in more power for the pitcher and the hitter. When the arm is not kept up during a pitch, the ball is pitched slower and will fly further than a normal pitch.
3. Catching And Throwing Drills
Catching drills are very important in softball because the outcome of the game depends on the player who catches the ball. The pitcher throws to a certain location to get the batter out. The batter is usually safe when he/she manages to step into the plate before being tagged by the baseman using the ball. So, catching and throwing should be practiced by everyone on the team. The better the players catch and throw the baseball, the faster they can take a batter out of the game.
Some softball catching and throwing drills include practicing how to throw the ball to an outfielder or an infielder. To effectively throw the ball, you need to throw your shoulders back and practice good timing so you can send the ball to the designated person on the field.
When it comes to catching the ball, you need to be quick. Aside from that, you should observe proper form when catching the ball. You should bend your knees and flex your waist a little so you can move quickly without losing balance.
4. Batting Drills
Hitting the ball on target is an art, but it can be learned. It all starts with proper form. As with everything in softball, you must find the proper balance and posture. Make sure that your grip is steady on the bat, and that you are relaxed before and during any toss. Practice these techniques and you will begin to hit the ball off the tee consistently.
5. Practice Defense
When it comes to the defensive side of the game, you must learn how to protect yourself. When playing softball, you have to be able to run and catch your own body. You also have to know how to play defense at the plate or on the wall’s base. When protecting the bases, make sure that you know the rules before throwing the ball as you don’t want to mess up and get called out.
Other Helpful Tips
Aside from mastering the basics, here are other softball tips you should follow to improve your game:
- Never second guess your swing.
- Always swing with your hips.
- Shift your position whenever you see the ball coming to you and never just reach for it with your arms.
- When holding the bat, make sure your wrists are loose so you can have better control.
- Whatever position you hold in the game, always keep your eyes on the ball.
Softball is a fast-paced sport, and you must remember to keep your body under control so your legs don’t tire out too quickly. If you want to become like Christian Yelich, you should work on improving your softball skills and master the fundamentals. Don’t be discouraged if things look slow at first. Even if it takes you a while to master each tip, you will be able to make big gains over time. Remember that it’s worth it once you feel more comfortable on the field.