Softball Fielding Skills – Ready Positions and Approaches

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 74,520
    Softball coach Suzy Willemssen demonstrates softball fielding ready positions and approaches.

    Suzy Willemssen

    Suzy is an instructor at the Frozen Ropes Baseball/Softball facility in Chantilly, VA, the head coach of Blue Jays Gold, an 18u ASA junior olympic team and is also the Varsity Softball Head Coach at Chantilly HS. Prior to the Chantilly position, she was the Assistant Varsity Softball Coach for West Springfield High School from 2003-2005 and the Assistant Junior Varsity Softball Coach in 2002. In 2004 Suzy was awarded the Patriot District Assistant Coach of the Year. Suzy played softball at the University of Iowa where she majored in physical education. She has worked numerous softball camps and clinics throughout the Northern VA area and is known for her knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for the game.

    Hi. I'm Susie Willimson. I'm a Travel Ball and High School Softball coach. Here with me, I have Aaron and we are going to be talking about some basic fastpitch softball skills, in particular, fielding the ground ball and we are going to be discussing our ready position and different approaches that you can use when you want to secure the ball as well.

    Before we get to that segment though, I would like to discuss a little bit about a proper glove. Often people will buy their youngster a glove hoping they will grow into it. That's probably not the best idea or the best way for a player to learn the proper fundamentals. I recommend around a 12-12 inch glove, that's a good starting point, kind of a general rule of thumb. You want to make sure that if they can actually manipulate the glove when theyre learning these fundamentals. So, without further due we will talk about our ready position and our approach. First of all, we will talk about our ready position. You want to make sure you are ready to go when the pitch is ready to hit the zone and you want to have a little bit of movement because we don't want to start from a dead stop and so Aaron will first show a more static type of ready position. She is ready to go, but you can see she is rocking side to side a little bit. Also when Aaron is in this position she would make sure that she is square to the play because we want to be able to go four directions be it forward, backward, or side to side. We don't want to be in a staggered position. So, her ready position has her going in a static side to side and she is square to the play.

    Another ready position that you will see many players use is more dynamic, and they actually, almost do like a step in. Some people do it a little sooner, some people little later, but again, they are ready to go when their pitch hits the pitching zone and they are square to the play and again they have got a step in move and they are ready for the ball to be hit in any direction and so they can go and get it fielded.

    Now, we are going to talk about approaching the ball and the best way to do that. Aaron is in a ready position. The ball is hit. Now, Aaron wants to almost be as if she is an airplane coming down for a landing, rather than a helicopter that's hovering and then coming straight down. So, as you can see, as Aaron is going through her different motions, she is starting low, and she is staying low, and she is coming down as if she is an airplane gradually blowing her center of gravity. If you also pay attention to the positioning of Aaron's glove, it is out in front of her and she is trying to get the ball central left. This will enable her to keep everything nice and relaxed. Some players get the ball off their right side, if they are right handed and that's a very tensed position for the glove.

    So, Aaron has her glove out in front. She is trying to be center left. So again, we want to be an airplane, lower at center of gravity, get the ball out in front. Also, going back to a little bit about the ready position typically middle in fielders you want to be like a tennis player and you want to be more up in this position. At corners you can be a little lower, we don't want you to get down in the death squad but you can be a little lower, you are going to be more for reaction. So, we have talked about the approach, how we want to come down slowly like an airplane. I will talk a little bit more about now the footwork.

    A ball hit directly towards Aaron. An easy way to get it is, as she is coming down, she is going to actually get the ball in front, and she is going to step in front, turn and throw. So, again I'll go one more time Aaron, she is coming down, secures the ball in front, step in front, turn and go. Now, the next one she will do is going to be when she has to be a little quicker and she will be again -- will always going to be aggressive to the ball, being attacking so she is going to go towards the ball, she is going to replace her feet. So, she is getting the ball, its out in front, see how she replaces her feet, she has everything lined up, and then she makes her throw. So, that's the second way.

    The third way is, lets say Aaron is playing shortstop. She is being pulled away from the target, so she is having to go deep in the whole behind second base, she is going to get to the ball and then she is actually going to come and step behind and this is the quickest way to enable her to get her body lined up in a position to make the throw to first base. Another thing I haven't discussed when you are securing or fielding any type of ball a catch, a glove is just used to redirect the ball. We don't want to be closing. Again, we just have in front and we always want to take our hand to the glove and we want to be redirecting the ball that will give us a quicker transfer.