How to Improve Your Players’ Outfield Play

softball fielding techniquesToday, I want to share with you some ideas on outfield play, along with some excellent softball fielding techniques to go over with your players. I want to provide you some information on basic mechanics, throwing, and movement to the ball.

Let’s Talk About Ball Grip

The first thing I always teach when I’m discussing my outfielders is the grip on the ball.

Outfielders should take what we call a four-seam grip–or you can call it the long seam. We call it a four-seam because when it’s rotating in the air, there’s one, two, three, four seams that you’re going to see.

That’s opposed to a short-seam grip, also called a two-seam grip. Because when it’s rotating in the air, you see one, two, one, two–two seams.

I want my athletes from the outfield taking a four-seam grip because I think there’s more control with that ball and it has a smoother sinking rotation if they’re able to do that. And the air can hit that seam every few inches as opposed to hitting that seam and then there being nothing else for the air to grab for a while.

When you’re teaching your players to take that four-seam grip, you want to make sure that the pads of their fingers are behind the seam that they’re taking. This way, when they press, that ball rolls off, they have some of that seam until the very last second. If they put the fingertips on that ball, their fingers will be off the seam before they get their full release point.

So here’s what we’re talking about: a four-seam grip with three fingers and space between the ball and the hand. You should be able to pick this ball up and look right through the palm and between the ball.

Throwing the Ball

Now when they throw this ball, they will push the palm forward and release with the fingers as the last thing they do. When they release, they should press down with the palm and release by flipping the fingers.

How can we tell if our athletes are getting that spin on the ball? There are some different ways.

If you use a yellow ball with the red seams, it’s fairly easy to see. And the athlete that’s catching the ball will look for the rotation this way on the ball.

We mark some of our balls with a line that goes right around that long seam. This way, when the ball’s coming toward the partner, the partner can just see that nice little strip. She knows that her partner is throwing it with the proper release and probably the best mechanics. And the partner can see the travel of the ball leave her hand, and she will know also. So this is an immediate feedback drill, just by using a couple of old balls, marking with a circle around.

If you use white balls, and the seams don’t show up very well, it’s more difficult for your athletes to pick that up. So again, you can mark a white ball so that they can see that circle. Or you can mark the ball with a long seam. Just color it blue, green, pink, purple, you know, whatever will show up.

Do you think your players will learn from these softball fielding techniques and will be able to improve their game? Share your thoughts and comments below.

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Category: Softball Coaching

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