Fastpitch softball coaching is about having your players ready for most any eventuality. Teaching proper fielding is done at really two levels. The first is the basics. How to field grounders. How to field pop ups. How to properly throw the ball. The other category has more to do with where and why to throw the ball to get the "right" out. This will likely take the longest of all of the necessary skills to hone. A true understanding of the game. This is because of the sheer number of permutations. Number of outs, where the ball may be hit, number of runners on base, what inning, what is the score and so forth. We covered a great deal of this at the link above. We are not, however, naïve enough to think we covered all of the situations (or even scratched the surface), or, most importantly, the situation you are about to face.
When teaching fielding, start with the basics around feet positioning, and proper glove work technique. Other things to focus on are to turn the shoulder to the side the ball is going to, be it pop up or grounder, and not try to back pedal. Most times, back pedaling leads to nothing but a fall on the backside. Other things include calling for the ball, who is the primary on a ball in a given area (i.e. pop ups around the pitcher mound, etc.). All of these things may seem like very basic, but you would be surprised how often these simple things are forgotten and lead to the circus inning. At the risk of being overly simplified, it is always better to go over even the simplest of softball rules to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Below you will find some great tools to help you teach the basics of fielding and catching the ball and also get an understanding of additional possible scenarios and how you might want to deal with them and, most importantly, how you might want your players to react to the situation. A true understanding of the game comes from playing. So be patient when running through the fielding scenarios and watch your team mature over time.
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