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Making the switch

Nov 28, 2019
13
3
I’ve coached baseball at the Middle/High School level for the last 17 years. The last couple of years I’ve really gained interest in Fastpitch and I’m considering making the switch after this season. I have three daughters so I don’t think it will be to big of a transition for me as far as going from boys to girls. There are certainly parts of the game that I’m somewhat ignorant on and that is what brings me here. Things like bunt defense and cuts/relays I can really use some help on. And I’m sure lots of other things. I will explore this forum and other resources I can find. Any advice I can get will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 
May 16, 2016
593
43
Illinois
Baseball does not have a "look back rule" make sure you understand what the "look back rule" is.

The pitcher does not cover first base on a ground ball to the left side.

On a bunt, it is very common that the 2nd baseman covers first base if the corners are crashing on the bunt. If there was a runner on 1st and the bunt was laid down the pitcher or 3rd baseman has to get back to third base to prevent the runner taking 3rd on the play. Some teams might even have the catcher take that responsibility but I prefer the pitcher or 3rd baseman getting back to the bag.

Much more common in softball for the SS to cover 3rd base on a steal in some situations. Any time a batter shows a bunt with a runner on 2nd base your SS should be ready to cover 3rd base on the steal.

Infield play is a lot faster in softball. Your infielders do not have as much time to get the ball to first base.
 
Nov 28, 2019
13
3
Thank you Gambler Bob. I’ve seen the look back rule with the younger girls. Is that rule the same for NFHS (HS rules)?
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,688
113
Florida
I’ve coached baseball at the Middle/High School level for the last 17 years. The last couple of years I’ve really gained interest in Fastpitch and I’m considering making the switch after this season. I have three daughters so I don’t think it will be to big of a transition for me as far as going from boys to girls. There are certainly parts of the game that I’m somewhat ignorant on and that is what brings me here. Things like bunt defense and cuts/relays I can really use some help on. And I’m sure lots of other things. I will explore this forum and other resources I can find. Any advice I can get will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Lots of differences you need to be aware of especially for the older girls. A lot are related to the speed of the game and the shortened base distances. There is a lot of info on this site you will find. Here are some highlights:

#1 difference for baseball coaches coming to softball: Substitutions, reentries and the DP/FLEX rule.
When you sub someone, they can come back in ONCE. This great because you can get more players in the game but it also means strategically you have WAY more options as you can bring someone back into play. It is the #1 mistake baseball coaches who come over to softball make - they forget they can sub and reenter a player. A simple example: Power hitter but slow runner; 2 inning she gets on base. In baseball, you leave the power hitter in to run because if you pinch-run, they are done. In softball, you can bring in a pinch-runner and sub yor power hitter back in later and do it once more later in the game!

- UNDERSTAND DP/FLEX: There is a LOT you can do with DP/FLEX. You should ALWAYS have a DP/Flex on bracket games and often in pool games. Learn how the rule works. At its core it means you an extra fielder in the game who isn't batting. DP & Flex can field together but only the DP hits. On bracket day this is critical because even if you bat 9 you have 10 players playing. The best use is to field for a hitter who is terrible in the field or for fielding for a resting pitcher who you still need their bat. More importantly, when you have weaker talent at the bottom of the lineup you are not choosing one girl over another for the last spot - you can have one field and one hit! This doc is a good explanation: http://www.psal.org/PDF/Softball/2015_Clinic%20-%20Understanding%20the%20ASA-NFHS%20DP%20-%20Flex%20Rule.pdf

Here are some other things. You have girls who sound like they play, so you will know most of these:

- Heavily reduced time in the infield to make your throw. There is no fielding it, taking a step or two and throwing the girl out at first like baseball. Field the ball and throw it... You hesitate on what base to throw to, it will cost you.
- 2nd covers 1B on bunts or if the 1B needs to field the ball unless you decide to keep your 1B back (then you move your 2B forward or rely on your pitcher). I only play 1B back if she is a terrible fielder/thrower. Also because of this, SS covers any steal of 2nd 99% of the time.
- Pitcher CANNOT cover 1B like in baseball. They will never get there before the batter-runner.
- If you have the team or players for it, the small game is WAY more effective. Add in a slapper if you have one with elite speed and defending your team can be a pain in the butt.
- SLAP defense - if the girl can only slap and is really not capable of hitting the ball out of the infield slapping, move everyone up, keep 1B back and remember to move your outfielders way in.

- Relays start to disappear as they get older. With 200' fences your best 14U OF can throw it straight to home on a line and if it needs to be cut, cut it.
- Look back rule (this is a bit of a non-issue once the players understand it - but yes it is in NFHS and all softball sanctions rulebooks)
- No leads for steals, so no pickoffs
- Softball pitching is a LEARNED motion - so you can't just take anyone and have them throw it over the plate. Pitchers are like gold.
- Double plays are WAY more rare than in baseball; not saying you shouldn't practice them, but you shouldn't spend too much time on them. Again a factor of 60' bases.
- Your corners will play in front of the bag the majority of the time. 3B can be scarily close to the batter at times. You play your 3B behind the bag and I will bunt on you with even average speed players.
- The 'check three/throw one' play with a runner on third... Be careful. Fast batter-runners will mean you can't do it if you want an out. Also because of 60' bases, even if you DO check the runner, there is a still a VERY high chance she will still head for home on the throw to first.
 
May 29, 2015
1,972
113
The Look Back Rule is simple ... once you leave baseball and come to softball, you never look back. ;) 😁


- UNDERSTAND DP/FLEX: There is a LOT you can do with DP/FLEX. You should ALWAYS have a DP/Flex on bracket games and often in pool games. Learn how the rule works. At its core it means you an extra fielder in the game who isn't batting. DP & Flex can field together but only the DP hits. On bracket day this is critical because even if you bat 9 you have 10 players playing. The best use is to field for a hitter who is terrible in the field or for fielding for a resting pitcher who you still need their bat. More importantly, when you have weaker talent at the bottom of the lineup you are not choosing one girl over another for the last spot - you can have one field and one hit! This doc is a good explanation: http://www.psal.org/PDF/Softball/2015_Clinic%20-%20Understanding%20the%20ASA-NFHS%20DP%20-%20Flex%20Rule.pdf
If I were reading this for the first time and literally only knew baseball and nothing about softball ... this sounds like I get to put a tenth fielder on the field. Trying to simplify that made it more complex.

I’m not sure why everybody tries to make DP/Flex so mystical ... it is essentially the same as the Designated Hitter in baseball with some mild differences which you learn along the way. With the DH change in NFHS baseball this year, they will be much more similar (though they did it in an odd way).
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,688
113
Florida
I am going to add something controversial here.

If you are a good coach and have kept up with coaching trends and techniques over the years you can coach girls the same as boys.

There is a common phrase people use "Girls must feel good to play good, boys must play good to feel good'. It is total BS and mainly used as justification for the old style football coach who screams and yells and humiliates. If you coach on the calm, instructional, expectational side, you can coach any team this way and be just as effective without everyone thinking you are an A$$ no matter the makeup of your team.

I have taken a lot of formal coaching courses - even through various colleges that have classes on it. NEVER have they ever separated the genders out on coaching the latest techniques and theories.

What is true however, is that boys do adjust better to being screamed at - at least on the surface. The majority of girls will just shutdown. So if you are a screamer/yeller you are going to run into major issues on the girl's sports side.
 
Jul 31, 2019
218
28
Girls
I am going to add something controversial here.

If you are a good coach and have kept up with coaching trends and techniques over the years you can coach girls the same as boys.

There is a common phrase people use "Girls must feel good to play good, boys must play good to feel good'. It is total BS and mainly used as justification for the old style football coach who screams and yells and humiliates. If you coach on the calm, instructional, expectational side, you can coach any team this way and be just as effective without everyone thinking you are an A$$ no matter the makeup of your team.

I have taken a lot of formal coaching courses - even through various colleges that have classes on it. NEVER have they ever separated the genders out on coaching the latest techniques and theories.

What is true however, is that boys do adjust better to being screamed at - at least on the surface. The majority of girls will just shutdown. So if you are a screamer/yeller you are going to run into major issues on the girl's sports side.
If you are starting out with a younger team, be prepared for emotional swings, especially as they go through their womanhood changes.

Absolutely on the yelling post. They do NOT like to be yelled at or embarrassed in public. They will play hard for you. They tend to be pleasers

Once you change, you will find baseball to be very slow and boring.
 
Nov 28, 2019
13
3
Thanks everyone for your replies. I really appreciate it. I live in a house with 4 females (5 counting the cat) so I understand the emotional side of things. Well, not really understand but you get the idea. Lol.
 
Nov 28, 2019
13
3
Lots of differences you need to be aware of especially for the older girls. A lot are related to the speed of the game and the shortened base distances. There is a lot of info on this site you will find. Here are some highlights:

#1 difference for baseball coaches coming to softball: Substitutions, reentries and the DP/FLEX rule.
When you sub someone, they can come back in ONCE. This great because you can get more players in the game but it also means strategically you have WAY more options as you can bring someone back into play. It is the #1 mistake baseball coaches who come over to softball make - they forget they can sub and reenter a player. A simple example: Power hitter but slow runner; 2 inning she gets on base. In baseball, you leave the power hitter in to run because if you pinch-run, they are done. In softball, you can bring in a pinch-runner and sub yor power hitter back in later and do it once more later in the game!

- UNDERSTAND DP/FLEX: There is a LOT you can do with DP/FLEX. You should ALWAYS have a DP/Flex on bracket games and often in pool games. Learn how the rule works. At its core it means you an extra fielder in the game who isn't batting. DP & Flex can field together but only the DP hits. On bracket day this is critical because even if you bat 9 you have 10 players playing. The best use is to field for a hitter who is terrible in the field or for fielding for a resting pitcher who you still need their bat. More importantly, when you have weaker talent at the bottom of the lineup you are not choosing one girl over another for the last spot - you can have one field and one hit! This doc is a good explanation: http://www.psal.org/PDF/Softball/2015_Clinic%20-%20Understanding%20the%20ASA-NFHS%20DP%20-%20Flex%20Rule.pdf

Here are some other things. You have girls who sound like they play, so you will know most of these:

- Heavily reduced time in the infield to make your throw. There is no fielding it, taking a step or two and throwing the girl out at first like baseball. Field the ball and throw it... You hesitate on what base to throw to, it will cost you.
- 2nd covers 1B on bunts or if the 1B needs to field the ball unless you decide to keep your 1B back (then you move your 2B forward or rely on your pitcher). I only play 1B back if she is a terrible fielder/thrower. Also because of this, SS covers any steal of 2nd 99% of the time.
- Pitcher CANNOT cover 1B like in baseball. They will never get there before the batter-runner.
- If you have the team or players for it, the small game is WAY more effective. Add in a slapper if you have one with elite speed and defending your team can be a pain in the butt.
- SLAP defense - if the girl can only slap and is really not capable of hitting the ball out of the infield slapping, move everyone up, keep 1B back and remember to move your outfielders way in.

- Relays start to disappear as they get older. With 200' fences your best 14U OF can throw it straight to home on a line and if it needs to be cut, cut it.
- Look back rule (this is a bit of a non-issue once the players understand it - but yes it is in NFHS and all softball sanctions rulebooks)
- No leads for steals, so no pickoffs
- Softball pitching is a LEARNED motion - so you can't just take anyone and have them throw it over the plate. Pitchers are like gold.
- Double plays are WAY more rare than in baseball; not saying you shouldn't practice them, but you shouldn't spend too much time on them. Again a factor of 60' bases.
- Your corners will play in front of the bag the majority of the time. 3B can be scarily close to the batter at times. You play your 3B behind the bag and I will bunt on you with even average speed players.
- The 'check three/throw one' play with a runner on third... Be careful. Fast batter-runners will mean you can't do it if you want an out. Also because of 60' bases, even if you DO check the runner, there is a still a VERY high chance she will still head for home on the throw to first.
Thanks. Lots of info there. FYI the substitute rule is the same in baseball if I understand you correctly. A starter can be subbed for and re enter one time. A sub can not re enter.
 
Nov 28, 2019
13
3
The Look Back Rule is simple ... once you leave baseball and come to softball, you never look back. ;) 😁




If I were reading this for the first time and literally only knew baseball and nothing about softball ... this sounds like I get to put a tenth fielder on the field. Trying to simplify that made it more complex.

I’m not sure why everybody tries to make DP/Flex so mystical ... it is essentially the same as the Designated Hitter in baseball with some mild differences which you learn along the way. With the DH change in NFHS baseball this year, they will be much more similar (though they did it in an odd way).
HaHa. I can see that.
 

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