There are nine positions in the sport of softball, and they are the same as in baseball. The Softball Positions are always played by the team on defense, and the players spread from the infield to the outfield.
All of the positions on the field also called the diamond, have specific names and tasks for each position. There are outfielders, infielders, and basemen. The different locations of each position mean different jobs for the players.
In this article, I will break down each softball position and their job. By the end, you will be able to name and play every softball position on the softball diamond!
List of Softball Positions
- The Outfielders
- Left Field
- Center Field
- Right Field
- The Infielders
- First Base Player
- Second Base Player
- Third Base Player
Who Are The Outfielders in Softball?
The outfielders are stationed in the furthest reaches of the softball diamond. They are the ones who are responsible when the ball is hit high into the air and travels to the back of the field. The specific names for each of the three outfielder positions are left field, center field, and right field.
Outfielders need to be quick-witted, fast on their feet, with powerful throwing arms to cover the distance from one end of the field to the bases or even the pitcher or home base. Players in these positions must be able to catch pop-flys, and other hits while on the run.
These positions are filled by players who can make quick decisions about what is best for their team. They must be able to tell whether they will be able to catch and throw the ball back to the pitcher fast enough so that the base runners are not able to get the bases loaded.
Let’s break down each position in the outfield and discuss what they do, what their strengths are, and how they do their jobs.
What is Left Field?
The position of the left-field player is in the third of the outfield that is to the left of the home base, facing the pitcher. The left fielders have to have a keen eye for scouting where the best location is to throw the ball once they catch it.
Left fielders are often weaker distance throwers than their center and right field counterparts because they do not have to throw the ball as far as folks who play center and right field do. Often, the left fielder can get the ball to the pitcher or home base relatively easily.
What is Center Field?
Center fielders are softball players who have the best coordination of the outfield players. They must be able to protect and cover the biggest section of the softball field by themselves. They must be able to run great distances and throw even further.
The reason they have to have great throwing arms is because of the size of the section of the field they are protecting. If the ball is hit to the back of the field, the defensive center field player must be able to run back, catch the ball, and throw it to a base player or the pitcher before the hitter can cover too much ground.
The most common types of balls that are caught in this zone are fly balls. Fly balls travel high, fast, and far. To catch these types of hits, center fielders must be able to successfully position themselves underneath the ball This must happen very quickly.
Yet, all that said, it is important to know that playing center field is one of the easier outfield positions. When the ball is hit into the center field zone, the ball typically travels straight, rather than curving or changing course, which balls tend to do when hit into the left or right field.
The centerfield is located straight out behind the pitcher’s mound and has a direct line from the defensive player to the batter at home base.
What is the Right Field?
The right fielder’s position is played by the members of the softball team that have the strongest throwing arms. Right fielders are stationed approximately 250-300 feet away from the home base, so for them to be successful, they must be able to throw that ball.
Besides being powerful throwers, they must also have a perfect aim. The distance is large, the ball is small, and the stakes are high, so they cannot panic and miss the first base or home base.
Right fielders protect the right foul line and are usually the ones who make the call about whether the ball is inbounds or out of bounds. This means they must be able to accurately predict the trajectory of the ball after it is hit.
Besides making the call about the boundaries, right fielders support the first base player from throws from the pitcher or the catcher, as well as supporting the second base player from throws from left field.
Who Are The Infielders in Softball?
Several more players play the infield positions in softball. Six positions are filled by defensive players. These positions are catcher, pitcher, first base, second base, shortstop, and third base.
These are the players who often get their opponents out by tagging them or catching the ball while touching their plate.
Let’s explore these different positions!
What is a Catcher?
The catcher is a player who squats behind the home plate and communicates with the pitcher about what sort of pitches they should throw. Catchers have lots of protective padding because their job is to catch aby balls that the batter from the opposing team does not hit.
If they do not catch the ball in their special catcher’s glove, they could be hit with the ball. Without the padding, I think that would hurt, a lot! They also have special helmets with face guards to protect their faces.
Catchers use hand signals to communicate different plays to the pitcher. Catchers are also the players who could receive a throw to home plate by another defensive player so that the catcher could tag out an opposing team member running for home.
What is the Pitcher?
The pitcher is one of the most important positions on the softball diamond. The pitcher controls the plays that happen, the speed of the ball, and lastly, how the batter swings. Depending on the strength and speed of their pitch, the batter could hit it very far or only tap it.
This means that the rest of the players on the pitcher’s team have to be adaptive, while they determine the course of the ball.
The pitcher is always in the middle of the diamond, on a small dirt hill called the pitcher’s mound. They are often tall, flexible, and strong in their arms, shoulders, and core. They must be able to rely on their teammates to know what is going on.
Pitchers also rely heavily on the catcher, who is another team leader playing the infield. Catchers often relay information to the pitcher about how many outs, strikes, balls, and walks there have been in the inning so that the pitcher can try to help their team.
What is the First Base Player?
The first base player is an essential role in the game of softball. First base players must be attentive, focused, and quick. Often, they will receive throws from the outfielders so that they can get an opposing team member out.
Because the first base is the first place that any opposing team hitter will go to, the first base player is involved in almost every single play that happens on the diamond. For this reason, they must be energized and aware of all the plays that are happening.
What is the Second Base Player?
The second base player works in between the first base and the physical second base. They do this so that they can either get the ball to their base faster, or they can receive the ball and throw it to the first base player.
Second base players are often involved in shorter hits since they have jurisdiction over the closer infield zone that is smack in the middle of the home plate and the center fielder who is playing the outfield.
These plates also make the calls about whether to hold the ball at second base if they think the hitter might try to run a double or throw the ball to third or first. They must beagle to predict the movement of the opposite team member.
What is Shortstop?
Shortstop is one of the most crucial positions on the diamond because they are the ones who protect the vital area of the infield between the second base and the third base. Without the shortstop guarding that zone, a ball that is not hit into the outfield would have a completely open space to go.
That would make it much harder for the team playing defense to get opposing team hitters out.
Shortstop players are versatile players. They cover for the second base player if a base is getting stolen, and they cover for the third base player if a player tries to steal home plate. They work very closely with second base players, third base players, the pitcher, and the catcher.
They will typically throw the ball to the second base player if there is any chance of the hitter or a runner getting to second base. If not, then they will throw it to the pitcher.
When there is a chance for them to throw to home plate and get someone out, then they will do that.
What is the Third Base Player?
The third base player is a player who guards the third base and works closely with the catcher and the shortstop. The third base player is usually the one who goes after the bunts and will go after them more often than the pitcher or catcher does so that the pitcher and catcher can be available to catch the ball to either end the play or get someone out at the home plate.
Third base players are always at third base unless they are needed to field a ball. When that happens, the shortstop will slide down and cover the third base while the second base player will return to their base.
In a general sense, every single one of the positions on a softball diamond is important. There is no way that one player could cover all the zones on the field, or even two! That is why it is so important that all of the positions work together to win over the other team! Regardless of the position that a player plays, they must be able to work with their teammates.