Basics for Softball Infielder Drills

Competitive softball demands great fundamental play and that includes infield defense. Fast-pitch softball is dominated by pitchers who can throw the ball at 70 mph and have an array of pitches that include a riser, a drop, a change and a curveball. Runs are almost always at a premium and that means the defense cannot be giving the batting team extra outs to play with. They need to drill their defensive plays and become an asset to the pitcher.

Infield Grounders

It’s the basic way many coaches start practice. Defensive players line up at third base, shortstop, second base and first base. If there is more than one player at each position, they will each get a chance. The coach hits a groundball to the third baseman and she gets in front of the ball, catches it and throws it to first. Then all players follow in this manner. Infield practice gives all players a chance to field hard hit ground balls and throw accurately.

Double-Play Ball

Your team will need to turn the double play if it is going to be proficient on defense. Start by hitting a grounder to the third baseman. As the third baseman prepares to fielder the ball, the second baseman runs to second base and gives the third baseman a target. The third baseman throws the ball to second and the second baseman catches it and throws to first. This is the proper form for a double play on a ball hit to the third baseman. Then hit a grounder to the shortstop and one to the second baseman. On the ball hit to the shortstop, the second baseman covers the base and the ball hit to the second baseman the shortstop covers the base. When the first baseman gets a grounder, she can throw to second, then return to first base to accept the double-play throw, or she can step on first and throw to second base, where the shortstop must tag the runner because the force play has been removed.

Bunt Play

The bunt play can be confusing for the defense, but each player has a responsibility. On a sacrifice bunt, the first and third basemen will charge the plate in an effort to pick up the ball quickly. If the bunt is hit with some pace, either infielder (or the pitcher or catcher) can pick up the ball and throw to the shortstop covering second and get the force play. If the bunt is executed well, the fielder will pick up the ball, then throw to first to get the batter. Give each fielder a chance to pick up the bunt and throw the ball to first or second.

About this Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who’s Better, Who’s Best in Football — The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.