new coach

by Tim
(Nicholasville KY USA)

When should I have my 3rd basemen play in? Have seen alot of teams play their 3rd basemen all the time with shortstop playing in too. Seems to me leave a big hole for short to cover.

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My preference is ...
by: Dan

Hi Coach,

Thank you for your question. I would play my third baseman a few steps in front of the bag. That is because small ball (bunting, slapping, and dragging) is such an intrical part of the game of fastpitch softball. If I could take away small ball, that would put my team in a better position.

As far as the shortstop, I usually had her a few steps behind the base path so that she could get anything that got past my third baseman on the short stop side. It is very important, with the base paths being only 60 feet (vs. 90 in baseball) that the third baseman cut off as many balls as she can to get the out at first. Because I played my third baseman up, with a runner on second, the short stop has responsibility for covering third on a steal attempt. Better for a player to be moving forward and towards the base in the path of the thrown ball, then retreating and also trying to put a tag on (by spinning around). This means it is a foot race between the shortstop and base runner, so the shortstop will have to cheat a little.

Reason for playing the third baseman up is I wanted to take away the short game, especially from their fastest runners, usually leadoff, second, maybe third and ninth hitter. Yes, ninth hitter ... unlike baseball, the ninth hitter is not your weakest hitter, as I would put that person in the eighth spot. The ninth hitter is someone with good speed but is not as consistent a hitter as your leadoff. This way, it is like having two leadoffs in a row to get on base before the heart of your order.

So if I could take away the short game, that would force the other team to try and hit the ball past my infielders, putting my team in a better position.

Hope this helps. Any other thoughts welcomed.

Coach Dan

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