How to play right field in softball
So you have been assigned the dreaded right field. I feel you, not the easiest position in the world, and certainly not the most appreciated!
But let’s make the best of it and be the best player possible and learn how to play right field properly in softball.
When young softball players first learned the game, the outfield was where the weaker players went. Since so few girls under the age of 10 could hit to the outfield, the best players were pitching, catching, and playing first base and shortstop.
But, as girls improve and learn to hit and field, the outfield is no longer relegated to players who prefer to pick dandelions rather than field a ball. Instead, speedy girls with a solid knowledge of the game get to play right field.
Unfortunately, because those speedy girls spend most of their time learning the game in the infield, they do not learn much about playing right field.
Right field is incredibly important, because the person who plays it not only has to cover their own position in the grass, but they also have to back up first base.
What do I need to know about the position?
This position covers a lot of ground!
Right fielders can also cross the foul lines to catch any ball that stays inside the fence and within reach.
Acting as a Backup
They also have to back up first base, if the first baseman has to go after a ball. They also will help out second basemen – but usually not second base, as the center fielder usually does that.
Along with helping the infield, right fielders also help center fielders and act as back-up if the center fielder has issues fielding a ball, too.
Right fielders have a big position to fill, especially if they want to help their teams get a win.
Which hitters to look out for
As hitting to the opposite field is a desirable quality in a batter, right-handed batters who learn this skill will hit to right field instead of left.
Along with the right-handed batters who hit “oppo” left-handed batters usually hit to the right side of the field. So, right fielders have to continually pay attention to all batters.
Is right field a tough position to play?
It can be, especially against a team that can hit. Right field is usually a busy spot in the outfield. Good right fielders are always on the move and they are always watching the ball. They know where the right-side of the infield is playing and they pay close attention to the handedness of the batter.
To add to the difficulty of the position, many fields are installed with right field facing the sun. So, during certain times of the day, right fielders also have to deal with having the sun in their eyes. In many cases, the best player is put in right field simply for this reason.
Skills to play right field in softball?
The best right fielders are often the best players on the team.
Consider these MLB right fielders: Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew McCutchen. What do these players all have in common? They are strong and speedy.
Of course, in baseball, right field is significantly larger, but fastpitch players need to have a similar skill set.
Catch and Throwing
Along with being fast, they need to be able to catch a ball and throw it to the cut-off. Catching a ball is not a one-size-fits-all task, so outfielders need to know how to catch pop-ups, fly balls, hard line drives, and ground balls.
In some cases, a right fielder will need to throw to third base or to home plate. They also need to be able to read the softball to predict where to catch it and when to cover first base. Most people think that center field is the home of the fastest player on the team, but right fielders are usually just as fast – because they have so much space to cover.
- Related: Best Gloves for Outfielders
Seeing the Ball in Difficult circumstances
It is also important for right fielders to have a high quality pair of sunglasses. They will need to be able to see the ball, which can easily get lost in the sun during certain times of the day.
Right fielders also need to know how to communicate with other ball players, especially the second baseman and the center fielder.
As second basemen are usually going backwards to catch a ball that is in shallow right field, the right fielder has a better field of view. So, the right fielder needs to know when it is best to call off the second baseman and make the play.
The same goes for balls in the right-center gap. Along with calling off a player, the right fielder also needs to be able to listen to other players doing the same thing (to avoid situations like this).
How can I be better in right field?
One area that most right fielders need to improve upon is leaving their feet.
Jumping to catch a ball is difficult, simply because of timing. Diving to make a catch is also difficult for the same reason. Right fielders also need to learn how to make catches against the fence. These are all skills that separate the best from the rest of the field.
Right fielders can’t just dive once and figure out the skill. It takes practice to simply master the dive without getting hurt. Since right fielders are usually running prior to diving, the motion needs to be automatic. And, diving for a ball can create problems for the defense if the outfielder does not make the play, especially if no one is backing up the right fielder. Practicing on a mat is helpful, but diving plays should only be attempted if there is no other option.
Practicing against the Fence
Making plays against the fence is a skill that can be practiced safely.
Right fielders need to first run to the fence, find the fence, then look for the ball. All too often, player on the corners will run, while looking for the ball, then miss it because they do not know where the fence is.
It is easy to practice this skill with someone hitting pop flies at the fence. Like other defensive moves, the act of making a play at the fence needs to be practiced to the point of becoming automatic.
Jumping to catch a ball is another skill that can be practiced. A coach can hit high fly balls and the outfielder should try to catch them while jumping. If the outfield fence is short enough, the right fielder could also work on robbing home runs, but most softball stadiums have tall fences that make this nearly impossible for most players.
Since the struggle usually involves timing, the coach should hit balls at varying speeds so the outfielder can practice different running jumps.
Most right fielders also need to figure out where to play during different plays.
For example, if a ball is high to left field, then the right fielder needs to get close to second base, because the center fielder will help the left fielder.
Most ball players, whether they play softball or baseball, can simply improve their game by watching more experienced players. Watching where they go during different plays is a learning experience that cannot be replicated.
Conclusion on playing Right Field in Softball
As you can see, playing rightfield is a lot more complicated than many people believe. The position has evolved over the last few years to require more athletic ability and overall adaptability. We hope this guide has helped you learn how to play right field in a more efficient manner. Best of luck!