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Defensive Game Situations


There are a number of factors to consider in every defensive situation:

  1. What's the score?
  2. What inning are we in?
  3. How many outs are there?
  4. Who is on base? Which base?
  5. How fast is the batter-runner?
  6. How fast are the runners on base?
  7. Does the situation call for a bunt?
  8. Is the hitter a slapper?
  9. What are my defensive players strengths and weaknesses?
  10. What are the playing conditions, is the ball slippery?
  11. Where is the sun?
  12.  What situations have we practiced?
  13. What has the team at bat done against us in the past? 
  14. And more! 

 

Be careful shouting instructions while the ball is play. Before a pitch it is ok to remind players of the situation; "One out runner on first. Infield get the runner at 2nd if you can, if not take the sure out at 1st. Outies - shooting 3!" Your directions will obviously differ depending on the age and development of your players. Eventually a player on the field should be making the call, preferably the catcher. Whoever is making the call should be Clear, Concise, and Loud.

Allow the players to make the play they intend to make and then discuss any other options between innings. Too often coaches, teammates, and parents yell conflicting directions. This only confuses players. Practice the defensive situations appropriate for your age group, use experiences from games to inform future practices. Do not lose patience with a player if they do not know what to do in a situation you have not drilled. 

USA Softball has produced a playbook of defensive situation. You may use these as a beginning and modify them as works best for your team. Be sure to practice the situations you want your team to execute. You can download the document here: 
USA Softball Playbook of Defensive Situations

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