List of Softball Skills
Softball is a highly technical sport. The basic skills for any player involved in softball are throwing, catching, hitting for contact, hitting for power, and running. They are often referred to as the “five tools” because they are the five things coaches and scouts look for in softball position players. However, numerous other skills can help softball players become the best they can be. Pitching is also an important skill in softball, but only one of the nine players on the field is a pitcher.
Softball Fielding Skills
One skill that sets softball apart as a sport is throwing. Throwing a softball is key for every position on defense. Since a softball is bigger and heavier than a baseball, having a strong arm is crucial to making accurate, long throws. One great way to improve your throwing is to play catch, especially long toss, where you and a partner throw the ball back and forth further and further apart.
Just like throwing, catching is another crucial defensive skill no matter what position you play on the field. In the outfield, you have to be especially good at catching high fly balls. In the infield, you have to be able to catch short throws from other infielders, especially at first base. The position where catching is most important is aptly named catcher. There, in a squat, you have to catch fast pitches from your pitcher.
Pitching is the most important skill that is not one of the “five tools.” Pitching is a very technical skill reserved for only one player on the field. Pitching is different from throwing in softball because it is done in an underhand motion. To improve pitching, you have to practice a lot. There are various drills as well, but the most important thing is to pitch frequently and take care of your shoulder strength.
Softball Batting Skills
Hitting for Contact
Another vital skill is hitting for contact. Put simply, this skill is your ability to make contact with the ball while hitting. As a softball player, you want to strike out as little as possible and get as many hits as you can. Hitting for contact is especially important for hitters who might not be as strong, as it is even more important to get base hits.
Hitting for Power
Hitting for power is the combination of making contact with the ball and hitting it as far as possible. This skill is one that not everyone has but is very coveted by softball players. Usually, only one or two players on a softball team will be power hitters, hitting home runs and driving in lots of runs. You can improve this skill by lifting weights and working on your swing.
The last of the “five tools” is also the most simple, running. This applies to both offense and defense, the only tool that does. Running especially applies to outfielders on defense, as they have to cover more ground to get to balls. It is especially important on offense when running the base. In softball, the bases are sixty feet apart, so being fast is a huge advantage, leading to more hits and more runs.
Bunting is an important skill of small ball softball. Instead of swinging and hitting the ball, you put your hand up on the bat and tap the ball, usually down one of the baselines. This is for fast runners to get base hits and also to advance baserunners.
Slap hitting is a batting technique specific to softball where you hit the ball directly at the ground, trying to create a big bounce so you can outrun the ground ball. This skill takes a lot of work to perfect but can be an important tool for any left-handed batter to get on base.
As with many different sports, hand-eye coordination is of the utmost importance in softball. Good hand-eye coordination allows players to more effectively see and hit the ball, make plays in the field, and even coordinate acrobatic slides to avoid being tagged out while running the bases.
Endurance is a critical skill to have in any sport. For softball, endurance is extremely important for performance and preventing injuries. Softball games can go on for a long time, and teams often play multiple times a week. Therefore, softball players should have excellent endurance to stay healthy and in top shape. Endurance training, such as cardio, should be included in every softball practice and workout.
Strength can be extremely useful in softball, especially for power hitters. While the power hitters are generally the strongest players on the team, every player needs to have enough strength to make long throws in the field. Getting stronger can improve many other aspects of your game, including hitting, running, and pitching. The best way to gain strength is to consistently work out and lift weights off the field.