Softball is a fast-paced game full of bang-bang plays and moments that come down to less than a second. A great example of the speed at which the game is played can be seen in a ground ball hit in the infield. Infielders must track, field, transfer and throw the ball to first base all before the sprinting runner reaches the bag safely. This is why crisp, quick transfers and releases are not only desired, but necessary for softball infielders to master. Professional softball player Delaney Spaulding has a few tips and tricks that can help you get the ball out quicker and delivered to your target faster for shutdown defense.
STAY SWIFT, YET COMPOSED
A quick transfer can’t happen if you don’t have control of the ball, so make sure to practice proper fielding fundamentals before worrying about getting the ball out of your glove and thrown over to the next bag.
Spaulding notes to stay low and locked into the approaching softball. Staying low can not only make for an easier catch, but can also secure a solid base for your quicker transfer and release. “When we transfer and throw the ball to our target, we want to stay low. That will give us the quickest possibility to get the runner out,” Spaulding says.
Want to get a jump on the batter and prepare for the oncoming grounder? Learn to anticipate the ball with these softballs fielding tips.
THE TRANSFER AND RELEASE
After fielding the ground ball cleanly, Spaulding says you can then begin your transfer. “From here I’m going to place my hand on the ball and grab it out of the glove and transfer right from there with our elbow and the ball down, our elbow facing toward our target.”
While your arms move into position, you should also be moving your feet from a fielding stance to an athletic throwing stance in line with your intended target. Keep low, as stated previously, and shift your weight to your back leg. “That’s how we’re going to get the power and velocity on our throw toward our target,” Spaulding says. Finally, fire away with a toss on target and send the baserunner back to the dugout.
A quick transfer and release can help your softball team keep opponents off the bases and off the scoreboard. Use these ground ball fielding tips from Delaney Spaulding and move your defense into the fast lane.