How to Set a Softball Lineup
Setting a lineup in softball can be instrumental in the outcome of any game. Because your team is likely full of players of varying abilities, a successful lineup has to blend players who hit for average, those with power and those with speed. Having the right blend of players in your lineup can keep your team rallying on offense. An effective coach will strategically master her 10-batter lineup so that it is cohesive and strong.
Place your best contact hitter in the leadoff spot in your lineup. You want your leadoff hitter to find a way to get her bat on the ball and hit line drives. She does not have to be a power hitter. She should have an excellent eye at the plate so she can discern balls from strikes and get on base.
Insert your next best contact hitter into the second place in the lineup. The second-place hitter should be selfless. If the leadoff hitter gets on base, you may ask your second-place hitter to bunt the base runner to the next base. Your second hitter must do this willingly.
Insert your best offensive player in the third spot in the lineup. A skilled hitter can drive the ball for power, hit hard line drives, get important base hits when the game is on the line and use her eye to discern balls from strikes.
Place your top power hitter in the fourth spot in the lineup. Your fourth-place hitter should be almost as proficient as your third-place hitter. When she gets her pitch, she can drive it over the fence. She may strikeout more than most of the other hitters in your lineup, but she comes through with big hits in clutch situations.
Insert an experienced hitter in the fifth spot. This is a key run-producing spot in the lineup. If your lineup is working well, your fifth hitter will come up in situations with runners on base. She will see how the defense is situated and hit the ball in the gaps. Excellent fifth-place hitters relish the pressure that comes with producing key hits in the clutch. Use a similar clutch hitter in the sixth spot in the lineup. She may not be as proficient as the fifth-place hitter, but she is the same type of hitter.
Use a power hitter in the seventh spot. She may not be a great contact hitter and she may swing at some pitches that are not strikes, but she will hit the ball for power on occasion.
Place hitters who are skilled at getting on base in the eighth and ninth spots. Those hitters won't have the same kind of talent as the rest of the hitters in your lineup. However, they should have good skills for getting on base. They should both be able to bunt and not swing at poor pitches. Neither hitter will have much power, but the eighth-place hitter will have a bit more than the ninth-place hitter.
Use a speedster in the 10th spot in your lineup. Think of your 10th-place hitter as a second leadoff hitter. You want her to get on base and run well when she gets the opportunity.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.