How to Play Softball
The Coach’s Role

Often times, when finding information on how to play softball, the primary focus is on the advancements of skills of the players. Not often do you see resources attempting to help advance the skills of the coach. That is the point of this section of

It's not too often you find a good team and a poor coach. Usually a team is good because the coach is good. There are some who believe that knowing about the game of softball is sufficient. They would be woefully shortsighted. So how do you achieve that level of competency? Particularly when you are new to softball? Especially if you never played fastpitch? Get that insight from both this page and the linked pages below.

Let me be clear right upfront for all of the dads out there. Just because you played baseball growing up does not mean you can teach your team how to play softball. You have some of the basics, like the number of players on the field, the need for solid pitching, clutch hitting, and strong fielding, but the execution of these skills are in many cases quite different.

Experiencing PONY Nationals

But before we get into all of that, we need to understand your coaching psychology. How do you handle your players? What is your philosophy on winning and losing? Are you in this to TEACH or to WIN? Unfortunately, those things can be mutually exclusive at a given point in time. Eventually they will line up, but not necessarily right away. Is it about FUN at all cost or WIN (there is that word again) at all cost? How do you bring them into balance? How do you handle disappointment with the team? How do you handle success? How do you motivate the team?

Coaching youth softball is very rewarding and fun, but brings an awesome responsibility. You may be the first person to be teaching the young lady outside of what her parents may have shown her. How do you balance time between your top and lesser players? How do you teach a love of the game, so they want to come back again and again and can't wait to get to the field be it for a game or practice (especially practice)? How do you keep everyone engaged during the entire practice, balancing the too simple with the too complex? At what levels do you introduce different concepts of the game? Following the link at the start of this paragraph to get these questions answered

Hawaii Invitational Tournament

Dealing with teaching the players how to play softball is one thing, but how do you handle your biggest softball fans, the parents? Mishandle, and this will be your undoing. And you will get both ends of the spectrum, from the most engaged parent who believes their daughter will be an Olympic Champion to the parent who looks at your team as nothing more than a babysitting service. Learn how to set expectations with the parents and how to handle these delicate situations. If your parents are not engaged at the proper level, particularly if coaching a travel team, you will never be able to build a consistent roster that will allow you to continually build on your successes year after year.

For additional information on the various aspects of coaching fastpitch softball beyond what is provided in this section, check out our Teaching section in the left hand navigation column where the various aspects of the game are explained and drills provided or visit the Coach's Aids page. You will find books and DVDs that are broken down between coaching, pitching and catching, and hitting and fielding.

Let's hear from the experienced coaches, what are your thoughts on these topics?

Share Your Views on Handling the Team

What is your philosophy on running your team? What have you tried? What's worked and didn't? Share it!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Head Coach 
I am new to this... I was a very active girl and played many sports including slow pitch softball. I was on traveling teams etc.... However my daughter …

Coach Scalf 
Coaches are teachers. Sports are the best way to teach some of life's lessons. You must be a positive coach at all times.

Asst. Softball Coach 
Leading by example. I try to break the fundamental skills needed to be successful down into drills that will show the players how important it is to …

Keep Politics out of Softball! 
It doesn't matter who you are or how much money you make, each child in the softball field must always be treated equally. Each child must be given equal …

Assistant Softball Coach 
I believe in a formula, Teamwork + Accuracy equals Wins. The game is not all about winning, and there must be a passiom and love for the game, but …

Infield sharpness drill 
My favorite drill is more of a test than a drill. I do this drill at the end of practice right before a game day. I do this to determine if my infield …

Be prepared always, but be flexible. 
I always arrive at the field knowing what i want to work on. I don't show up and not have a plan. Showing up and winging it may work sometimes in …

I think that you should be fair with all your players. You need to utilize all the talent on your team. If you do not plan to use that player, don't …

U10 Fastpitch 
I believe coaches should focus on each player differently. Get to know the the player and treat them as your daughter, with lots of love. Most players …

Softball in Kansas 
The article above is not kidding when it talks about managing the parents on a softball team. From my experiences in Topeka, I’ve had all sorts of …

Assistant Coach Not rated yet
Hi: I believe the game should be played fairly but aggressively. Small ball, such as in great base running skills and bunting skills will allow a team …

how to motivate your team players Not rated yet
As a coach of softball your coaching philosophy should concentrate on motivating your players. You have to create a stress free environment and you …

Coaching youth sports is a challenge Not rated yet
I think it is the look on a kid's face when he executes a play like he was taught & it works. Another rewarding thing is when I actually get them to …

Flag Football Not rated yet
Coaching flag football is an amazing experience. It is all about making sure each player first and foremost has an enjoyable time. After that then …

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