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offensive signals

May 22, 2008
NW Pennsylvania
does anyone have any pointers on a simple but effective set of signals for offense. we are working with 12u & 14u rec ball teams here & dont want to get so complicated that we confuse our own players.
Dec 12, 2008
Albany NY
I tried this in rec and then moved it to travel - it's simple and effective - but depends on how many signals you want to communicate - all they have to do is count. and switch on/off.

When they look at me, I'll touch any number body parts - shoulder, elbow, hat - only one of them matters - say the hat - if they see me go to the hat, there is a signal 'on'. If they never see it - there is no signal on - they nod their heads and swing away.

Once the signal is on, they count the number of touches after it. 2 = bunt, 3 = fake bunt (that's our take sign) - doesn't matter where I touch, just how many touches. If I go less than 2 or more than 3, they swing away.

My fellow coach thought this would be too complicated for the rec players but they picked it up quickly - only thing to remember is 'on' and count.

I also use an 'off' switch - swipe across the leg sometimes.


Softball fan
Feb 28, 2008
Montreal, Canada
I like this system too where you count touches to body parts - I find it flexible, easy to learn and almost undetectable because there is no clear pattern the other team can follow.

In my system, for the various strategies, a number of touches are associated with it. For example:

1 touch - drag
2 touches - slap
3 touches - steal and protect
4 touches - sac
5 touches - hit & run

I also use...

A key = it means that after I touch it, you start counting the # of time I touch any body part after. The ear could be the key. Anything I do before the key doesn't count. So players have to worry about seeing the key and then counting touches.

Wipe-off = a very useful signal I use that means anything I did before is off. We erase everything. Clean slate. This is great if a player looks confuse or lost and to mix the other team even more. Then you can give them a new signal or not (meaning they swing away in this case). A Wipe-off signal could be sliding my hand on my thigh for example.

Something else I like to use is a silent steal signal. I like to be able to tell the runner to go without having the batter worry about it (like in a 2-strike situation) or when I pick up a change-up grip for example from the pitcher. It is usually a body position that I have along with a specific gesture that I do like adjusting my sunglasses in subtle manner. The runner just glances at me and is gone if they see that silent steal sign.


Crazy Daddy
Oct 31, 2008
Our 14U team uses a similar "code" to Steve. The "on" signal is when I touch the bill of my cap and my nose. I give a different signal for a play, for example rub my belly for a specific play, touch my shoulder then my wrist twice for a different play, drag hand across belly with a number of fingers out for a different play.

The girls have a lot of fun knowing the secret. It adds a whole new dimension to our offensive game.
Dec 3, 2008
This probably isn't relevant at early levels, but if a team is trying to steal your signals you can do a "first touch" indicator. Typically, someone has an indicator they use all the time whether they use a touch system (counting) or a more traditional system... they use the shoulder, wrist, hat, etc.

For teams that are adept at picking out the indicator, one way to get around it easy is to have a "first touch" indicator. That is, whatever body part I touch first in the sequence becomes the indicator the next time I touch it.

EXAMPLE: Let's say "bunt" is the belt. My signs go Wrist, Hat, Nose, Knee, Wrist, Belt, Hat, Chest. Because I started with my wrist, the next time I touch my wrist it becomes the indicator, so I follow that with the belt to give the bunt sign. Next pitch I still want bunt so I go Nose, Hat, Wrist, Leg, Wrist, Nose, Belt, Hat. The nose became the indicator that time.

This works with a touch system, too... as long as you either 1) stop after the amount of touches you want or 2) have a "close" indicator to complete the sign.