One of the most important things you can do as an athlete is figuring out the role or position that works best for you, and that’s true when it comes to softball — it’s a part of your identity! When someone asks you what sport and position you play, there’s typically a lot of pride that goes into the answer, especially the second part of it.
If you’re just about to get immersed in the softball world, or you’re already a softball player and don’t think your current position best suits you, then this post is for you. We’re going to spend some time briefly talking about each position and the particular traits/skills that are needed to be successful over the long haul.
Pitchers are essential to a good softball team because it’s incredibly hard to be consistently successful without a skilled pitcher, as they’re in control of the game’s pace. Some skills and character traits shared by many pitchers include the following: mentally tough, good under pressure, ability to have an athletic delivery that’s repeatable, and they’re very competitive with natural leadership tendencies.
Being a catcher is mentally and physically draining, especially during the middle of summer. Catchers must have strong legs that can withstand constant squatting throughout a season, hitting skills is a plus but less of a requirement because they must be in sync with the pitcher, they need to have a strong arm to go along with excellent hands and receiving technique, and they must have tight footwork as they maneuver themselves behind the plate.
Typically, first basemen are the best power hitters on a team, and while they don’t have to make long throws consistently, they need to be adept at picking throws out of the dirt and creating a good target for fellow infielders. Beyond the good fielding skills, they need to have quick reflexes, and while it’s not mandatory, being a left-handed thrower makes life a little easier over there.
Due to the short throw to first base, second basemen are typically very good fielders and don’t have a cannon for an arm, although it’s adequate. They’re also typically fast, agile, and quick while being a skilled contact hitter at the plate.
Similar to baseball, shortstops on a softball team are usually the best athletes on their respective squads. It’s a must for them to have a strong throwing arm and excellent defensive skills, along with the range and agility to move around the field easily. As the de facto leader of the infield, they also need to have strong leadership skills.
The skillset for a good third baseman is similar to a shortstop, although they have an even stronger arm because they must whip the ball across the diamond, and they typically hit for more power at the plate. They also need to be fearless in the field because the ball comes in fast. After all, it’s not called the “hot corner” for no reason!
Throws from left field aren’t usually too long, so it’s not necessary to have more than an average arm, although it is important to be a good fielder. Speed also isn’t a huge factor, which means there’s more of a focus on being one of the team’s better power hitters.
Great center fielders have a lot of speed and are very good at tracking down fly balls since they typically have the most ground to cover. A strong arm is necessary and because of their speed, which means they may also turn into successful slap hitters in the batter’s box.
Right fielders are typically known for having the strongest outfield arm because they need to toss the ball all the way to third base. They’re typically not as skilled as the center fielder, but they are still skilled at tracking down fly balls. There’s also an expectation for having decent speed and modest power at the plate.