Postioning of Player

by Matt Kayser
(Denver, CO - USA)



We are in our first year of girls stealing bases and playing dropped third strike. The first game saw a total of 4 hit yet 35 runs were scored. Girl walks, steals second, steal third, and then scores on passed ball. Since none of the girls swing the bat and wait for the walk, my question is can I play my center fielder behind the catcher to prevent (or at least delay the inevitable walking the batter with bases loaded) the runner to score from third.

Do you have to play your fielders in the field or can you play them anywhere?

Do the fielders have to be in fair territory?

Thanks

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More fundamental question
by: Coach Dan

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your question. I believe there is a more fundamental question here. This is not a question of positioning players but of teaching sound softball. Is this really being achieved here the way the league (and I assume it is a recreation league) is choosing to have its rules and the inordinate pressure being put on the catchers?

In most of the recreation leagues, where it is the first time to allow stealing of bases, the girls ages are around seven or eight; maybe even up to nine. I have seen the leagues limit the number of bases that can be stolen in an inning. In addition, they have also limited or eliminated the abiliy to steal home. And, they have eliminated the ability for the base stealer to take an extra base on an over-throw to second. Why? Because they want to encourage the girls to play catcher and attempt to do the right things and get the girls playing in the proper positions (if you play the centerfielder behind the catcher, who backs up the throw to second?)

There seems to be a need to have a discussion with the league commissioner about the workability of the rules. Also, as far as waiting on walks, would it serve anything to extend to five balls for a walk (seen that put in place for early in the season until the pitchers got comfortable). Somehow, the league has to encourage the girls to start learning the game the right way versus "winning" by means attributable only to their age. Are the current 18-16 or 20-15 games teaching the catchers and pitchers anything? Is it teaching the hitters how to have a discerning eye for balls and strikes?

As far as moving a player behind the catcher, I am not sure how far your backstops are, but it would seem to be a safety hazard for your centerfielder turned back-up catcher. Will you put her in full catcher's equipment as well? And on the pass ball, does your pitcher cover home (that is the normal procedure)? Before moving players around, I would look to gain agreement from the other coaches and league commissioner around altering the rules to fit the situation.

I certainly welcome other views on this.

Kind regards,

Dan

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