When your basemen can coordinate to cover for each other, sliding onto base and tossing the ball between each other like some sort of pre-coordinated dance; it can be a sight to see — for you! For your opposing coach, they’ll be having nightmares! Communication is absolutely key, and practicing specific situations and teaching players what their appropriate reactions should be can make all the difference between having a decent defense and a great one.

softball drills
Shovel Pass to First

Shovel Pass to First/Third

If the ball is hit short up the first base line or a groundball bounces out foul, it will be your first baseman’s responsibility to scoop it up. Your second baseman should have started halfway between the 1st and 2nd bases, and will sprint to first as soon as they see the ball hit in one of those areas.   The first baseman will scoop up the pass, and throw it to the 2nd baseman at 1st.

This play is very similar on the third baseline, just with the 3rd baseman and shortstop instead.

Shovel Pass to Second

softball coaching
Shovel Pass to 2nd

With the shortstop in their traditional position and the second baseman playing off-base between 1st and 2nd, often times they’ll get a ground ball hit right at their feet.

If this happens, the shortstop should sprint over to second, filling in for the second baseman much like the same situation on 1st.

The shovel throw here technique is slightly different, and may take some getting used, but after a couple reps it becomes fairly easy.

Shovel Pass to Home

Softball Defensive Drills
Shovel Pass to Home

Reacting to the bunt is mainly the responsibility of your third and first baseman. If the pitcher can react in time, great, but the other two need to be proactive. In this situation there’s a runner on third, and the hitter has bunted to get the runner in. The third baseman has to chase down the ball, and ignore their glove hand, reaching down to scoop the ball up and throw it to the catcher all in one motion, saving precious time and hopefully a run as well!

Now that you understand the technique behind the shovel pass, where should we be using it? Well the double play and rundown for starters!

That’s it for today, but if you’ve got anymore questions or comments, make sure to let me know below!