When a ground ball is hit toward you, you should be ready to field the ball and then make the throw to first.
This process, known as your exchange, is a fundamental defensive skill on the softball field. Junior National Team Gold Medal-winning Softball Coach Pam Newton says one of the keys to success on defense is to work on these types of foundational skills.
“Consistent fundamentals in fielding will help you to make more outs,” she says.
When fielding a ground ball, you must:
- Stay low.
- Approach the ball, starting with your right foot followed by your left foot.
- Field the ball in the center-to-glove side of your body.
- Point the inside of your throwing-side foot toward your target as you transfer to throw. This helps gain momentum toward the bag.
You can run through this drill in practice to help improve your exchange-to-throw movement:
- Start off in an athletic position and have a teammate or coach roll you a ball.
- Run through the steps above without a glove to focus on your feet and gaining momentum.
- Move to a flat paddle glove to help you use two hands.
- Finally, go back to using your regular glove after several reps.
“Doing these basic fundamentals can lead to more accurate and stronger throws,” Newton says.
By working on your exchange to throw, you can be ready to make the throw to first and help your team keep the opposition off the bases.
An effective exchange is also important when turning two in the infield. Pro softball player Delaney Spaulding offers some tips on how to start a double play.