Today, we are going to continue our discussion about a very important part of a softball practice: hand signs and hand signals. If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can read it here: Tackling Signs & Signals for Enhanced Communication
We are going to pick right up where we left off in the previous article….
Descriptive Hand Signals
The second way of communicating in baseball or softball is by descriptive hand signals. And there are a lot of hand signs that we do just quickly on the spur of the moment that communicate to our players and we’ll go through a list of those here.
First is the palm over the head. If I do this to a base runner, I’m telling him, reminding him, make sure that a line drive goes through the infield before you take a step towards the next base. It means freeze on a line drive. It means when the hitter hits the ball, let’s not have any outs on the bases. Let’s make sure that the ball gets through before you attempt to move over.
I might clap to the hitter. I might give a sign such as a hit and run. And let’s say that the pitch is fouled off, and then let’s say the runner returns to first base on a hit and run, the batter gets back to his original position, and I don’t want to give the sign again. And so, if I don’t do anything, if I just clap, same sign is on. I don’t have to show the opposition what the hit and run sign is again. So that could be a sign.
I might give a fist on fist. If I have a runner on third base particularly and I want him to go on first contact and react and try to score, I might use this hand signal. And that means that we’re going on contact.
If I’m coaching first base particularly, or third base, and it could even come from the dugout, and I see that the pitcher continually just takes one look at the base runners, either at first or second, he’s a one-looker, I might give a signal. And that’s a sign to the base runners that, hey, if you’re stealing, you can go after he takes his one look because he’s probably not going to look twice. And that’s a fault that a lot of pitchers have is they fail to look twice. So you can give a quick hand signal to a base runner to tell him that’s the type of pitcher that this is.
I could signal to a base runner that we want him to stay in a rundown. So we might have a steal sign on and follow it with this, that we want him to stay in a rundown between bases and we want to try to get another run or to score while he’s in that rundown.
This is kind of a hang loose sign. It could mean a pitcher is doing the third to first pick move, where a pitcher would fake a throw to third base and pick the first base. And that’s another hand sign that could be used.
I might also point my finger to the chin. And this could be done as a first base coach with a left-handed pitcher, where he is a, we call him a head guy. He will look to first base and throw to home almost every time. In fact, probably every time. Or he will look to home and throw to first. And so a quick point to the chin might mean that this pitcher, he only does the opposite of what his head is doing. And that’s a quick way to communicate there.
Be sure to watch for the next installment of this series on hand signals as we continue to break down some key communication hand signals that you can incorporate into your own game! And don’t forget to Become a Fan on Facebook, whereI will be sharing more great hand signals, drills and practice plans!