How to Field a Ball on the Run in the Outfield in Softball

As a rule, outfielders shouldn’t take their time getting to the ball and making the throw, especially in those moments when the game is on the line. But at the same time, out-running the ball does no good either. So for outfielders looking to gain some fielding confidence, keep reading! This softball guide will teach you how to field the ball on the run so you can quickly make the play.

Sprint to the Ball

You won’t be able to throw a runner out if you take your time getting to the ball, so always sprint. However, you should never run directly at the ball. Instead, round the ball and sprint to where it’s headed. By doing this, you will be able to field the ball as you are running forward, toward your target. This will make your crow hop and throw more efficient.

Below is the general approach to take when fielding ground balls on the run:

  1. Round the ball and field it as you are coming forward.
  2. Time your steps, stutter-stepping if you need to, so you field the ball immediately outside of your glove-side foot. Make sure to stay low and bend your knees.
  3. As you scoop the ball up, immediately transfer the ball to your throwing hand and go into your crow hop. Essentially, you are going to be fielding the ball as you transition into your crow hop. Make sure you keep your eyes on the ball! You don’t want to go into your crow hop without it!
  4. Once your front foot lands, throw the ball! Remember, a throw on line that bounces to your target is more efficient than a wild throw in the air. (For pointers on throwing from the outfield, check out our guide, How to Throw from the Outfield)

Hot Tip: Stay Low

Always stay low and bend your knees as you approach the ball. Standing up or straightening your legs are recipes for disaster! When the play is on the line, you never want the ball to roll under your glove!

Know Where to Throw

Before the pitch is even thrown, you need to be aware of where you are going to throw the ball if the ball is hit to you. A good “rule of thumb” to follow is to always look to throw two bases in front of the lead runner. Unless you field the ball close to the infield, trying to throw a runner out at the next bag may not be the smartest decision.

Here are some quick tips on how to throw ahead of the lead runner. If the lead runner is at third, you may want to go after the second runner on base.

  • Runner at first: Throw to third.
  • Runner at second: Throw home.
  • Runner at third: If you are close enough to the infield (only a few feet away from the dirt), you can try to throw her out at home. If you are deep in the outfield, you probably won’t be making a play at the plate. To keep the hitter to the least amount of bases, throw the ball to second base.

Do or Die

These types of grounders are often called “do-or- die grounders.” The reason is simple: You either do everything perfect and get the runner out, or you don’t and the play dies. Keep these tips in mind and practice charging ground balls, crow hopping, and throwing them perfectly on target. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to throw out anyone on the diamond!

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