Find Your Best Softball Field Position
It’s softball season, and the teams are choosing sides. Whether it’s a squad of your buddies or your co-workers, you’re expected to be part of it. And while slow-pitch softball -- the type most commonly played recreationally -- is a casual sport, you don’t want to look like a dork out there. So how do you figure out which softball field position you’re best suited to play?
By taking our softball aptitude test:
Find the statements that best describe you, and our experts -- Glen Payne, regional commissioner with the Amateur Softball Association of America (and the coach for Wagner College), and Steve Shortland, coach for the U.S. Men’s National Slow Pitch team -- will assign you your position on the field.
This is you: I’m a big guy, but I’m kind of slow.
This is you on the field: “You’re going to play first,” says Payne. “Your major assignment is to cover the bag and catch the ground balls that are occasionally hit to you.” Being big/tall makes you a bigger target for the infielders -- making it easier for them to find you when they need to shoot the ball to you. And while there’s a skill to knowing how to best position yourself on the bag to take the throws, “you can learn how to do that,” explains Payne. “You don’t have to be the most athletic person in the world.”
This is you: I’m not big and strong, but I’m quick and I have a decent arm.
This is you on the field: Says Payne, “If I’m a smaller guy with good quickness and a good arm, I can play shortstop. If I have a weaker arm and good quickness, I can play second base because my quickness with the ball will allow me to cover ground and make the double play.”
This is you: I’m a take-charge guy who likes to be the center of the action.
This is you on the field: We’re handing you the ball. Pitching in softball -- where the idea is to let everybody hit -- is not about learning how to finesse the batter or record strikeouts. “The pitcher in softball is really the field general,” says Shortland. “He’s involved in every play.”
This is you: I’m easily distracted. I can’t really focus for too long on … what were we talking about?
This is you on the field: “Sometimes I watch these recreational games, and the outfielder is out there picking his nose,” says Shortland. “You need to stay alert.” Payne agrees -- and says if you have trouble focusing, the outfield is not the place for you. “I’ve got to put you at third base, where you’ll have to react,” says Payne. It’s not called “the hot corner” for nothing: Third basemen have to stay on their toes (not pick their noses).
This is you: I can run.
This is you on the field: “I’m putting you in center field, where your speed covers the most ground for me,” says Payne. “You’re going to close my gaps. I can have a guy in left field who can’t run. So I can give you that responsibility.”
This is you: I like to talk trash and have some laughs out there.
This is you on the field: “If you’re going to chatter,” says Payne, “the best place for you is as a catcher, behind the plate.” In part, that’s because there’s really not much else to do back there.