The snow is melting, the weather is warming, and the local parks are starting to thaw. It’s almost time for slow pitch softball!
Softball is one of the easiest sports to start but a tough one to dominate. Wondering how you can have more success this year in your adult softball league? Use these simple tips and this might be a trophy year for your team…or maybe it will be the year you get to .500!
How to Dominate Your Adult Softball League (Or At the Very Least, Not Get Dominated)
When Setting a Lineup, Focus on On-Base-Percentage, Not Home Runs
As much as some guys want it to be, softball is not baseball. It might sound blasphemous, but home runs don’t matter as much in slow pitch softball. Here’s why: in baseball, the average batter gets on base about three or four times out of ten. If one of those successful at bats is a homer, it can make a big impact on the game.
In softball, however, a player gets on roughly seven or eight times every ten at bats. This means a home run is less important, because that player is more likely to get on base and score, with or without the homer.
Bottom line: a swing-for-the-fences batter who hits lots of fly-outs but the occasional home run is great for baseball, but a lineup-killer for softball.
When Batting, Scan the Field for Weak Players
Even at the elite levels of softball and baseball, errors are common. In the adult leagues of America, errors are a way of life, and the best teams know to exploit the weaknesses of another team.
When you step up to bat, search the field for the people who were called to fill in. These are usually girlfriends, roommates, or coworkers, and they’re often found on the right side of the field, including right field, second base, and first base. Of course, you need to master the basics of hitting before you become a place hitter, but it never hurts to try.
The Worst Player is Your Catcher
If Johnny Bench played slow pitch softball, he’d be an outfielder. You don’t need an elite catcher in slow pitch, all you need is someone to stand behind the batter and throw the ball back to the pitcher. Honestly, that’s pretty much their entire job. And for God’s sake, don’t let them get in a catcher’s squat!
The Second-Worst Player Plays First Base (or Second if They Can’t Catch)
A first baseman will occasionally have to field the ball, especially if the other team is loaded with lefties, but for the most part, it’s really just a matter of run to the bag, catch the ball, throw back to the pitcher, repeat. If, however, your first baseman can’t seem to master the art of catching a ball, swap them out for second base, where there’re more likely to field a grounder but less likely to ruin your entire infield.
Don’t Embarrass Yourself
It’s amazing how the sport of slow pitch softball turns reasonable, well-adjusted adults into tantrum-throwing toddlers. Amazingly, there are no scouts from the Royals clocking sprint speeds, gauging home run distance, and looking for the next sensation.
There are, however, young children in the stands and teammates (likely family members and coworker) on the field, so if you find yourself arguing with a ref, throwing bats, and berating teammates, it’s time to quit softball and take up relaxation yoga.
Keep these practical and simple tips in mind, and you’ll have more success in your adult softball league and infinitely more fun this summer!