Slowpitch Softball Second Base Tips
A second baseman in slowpitch softball has many duties. She must cover most of the area between first and second base. And she must have enough range to drop back and catch fly balls, cover the bag on force-outs and turn double plays. Second basemen are among the quickest, slickest-fielding players on their teams.
Fielding Ground Balls
Second basemen join first basemen, shortstops, third basemen, catchers and pitchers to make up an infield. A second baseman must be ready to field a hard-hit ground ball or line drive at any time, especially when a left-handed hitter is at the plate. No matter how hard the ball is hit, it's essential that the second baseman stay down on the ball, keeping her chest down, glove tip touching the dirt, body squared with the ball. This way, if the ball takes an unexpected hop, you have a chance to knock it down with your body and prevent a base hit.
Catching Fly Balls
The second baseman is often called upon to roam into the outfield and catch shallow-hit fly balls. Communication is key here, because if a second baseman or outfielder doesn't clearly and forcefully call for a ball in his vicinity, collisions can occur. On deep fly balls, it's often the second baseman's duty to race into the outfield deep enough so that the outfielder can field and throw the ball to the second baseman, who then turns and fires the ball to the appropriate base. This is known as a relay play.
Manning the Bag
A second baseman must also take responsibility for the second base bag. When a ground ball is hit and a runner is occupying first base, the runner has no choice but to try and advance to second. That's when the second baseman must quickly race to the bag, place her back foot on it and extend her glove toward her teammate who's fielded the ball. The foot closest to the player making the throw and gloved hand should be extended as far as possible, so as to get the ball into her possession quickly. If the play develops swiftly enough to attempt a double play, the second baseman must pivot and throw the ball to first base before the batter arrives there.
Getting on Base
As with any other player on the team, the primary hitting duties of a second baseman are to get on base. But because second basemen are often small and speedy, they're usually used as No. 1 or No. 2 hitters who are supposed to get on base before the power hitters come to the plate. When this is the case, a second baseman should focus on keeping a level, compact swing and aim for line drives rather than swinging for the fences.
Jeff Herman began his journalism career in 2000. An experienced, award-winning sportswriter, his work has appeared in "The Washington Post," "ESPN the Magazine" and the "Boston Herald," among other publications. Herman has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from West Virginia University.