Playing the infield in softball requires players who are quick and alert as well as capable of throwing accurately. Above all, infield players must be paying attention to the every player on the team, including those in the outfield. Infielders function to defensively prevent the opponent from reaching the bases but also to relay balls that have been hit in the outfield. The infield consists of the following player positions: first base, second base, third base, short stop, catcher, and pitcher. Every one of these positions sees a lot of action during the average softball game. The following steps are a must to follow for being a better infielder. While they seem basic, it’s important to note that many long-time players lose their ability to play quickly and efficiently when they don’t apply the basics of infielding. Communication among infield players is the key to having a successful defense in softball.
Never run to catch a ball with your glove down. The time it takes your to turn your glove upright is just enough time to keep you from catching the ball. So keep that glove up for quicker catches. Plus, you’ve got the added advantage of being able to catch a whiz ball hit directly to you while you are manning first, second or third base.
Always use one hand to close your glove. Have your ever seen fans grab their heads in frustration when a ball hops out of glove? Use your other hand to seal the deal by closing your glove. Basically, catch every ball possible using both hands.
Position your body in an alert position when playing the infield. Stay low with bent knees and your head up. Pay attention to where the runners are and always be aware of what your pitcher is doing.
Remember that you may need to cover another position. If you’re positioned at third base and the shortstop goes back to catch a fly ball, you’re now responsible for third base and any relayed balls. Another example is when the second baseman is playing halfway between first and second base, the shortstop moves to cover second base if necessary.
Prepare for the ball to hop. Even the best maintained field could be hard and rocky at times. It’s no fun getting pegged in the face with a softball and much worse when you get whacked in the ear. Bounces on fields are never predictable so keep your glove up and protect your body.
Read up on your league rules. There’s no use getting angry with the referee if you have no clue what the correct softball rules are. Ask your coach for a copy of the league rulebook for a refresher course.