Basic Softball Rules

Basic Softball Rules

New players as young as 8 and up to seniors years old need to know some if not all of these basic softball rules.  Print out this information sheet and hand it out to your players or send it in an email.  This will help them not only to follow what is happening in a game but also to understand the game better.

Basic Softball Rules

What is an Overthrow?

An overthrow is when the ball is thrown over the head or out of reach of the person who it is being thrown to. This mostly happens at first base which is why we need to throw accurately. on an overthrow that goes out of play the base runner advances one base plus the one they were going to at the time of the throw.

What is a Lead Off?

A lead off is when the runner at any base leaves the base before the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. When this happens, the runner is called out automatically.

What is a Foul Ball?

A foul ball is a ball that is hit out of play, either passed the right side foul line or the left side foul line. If the ball is hit and goes out of bounds and then goes back into bounds without touching anything before it goes past first or third base, it is a fair ball. If a foul ball is in the air (above the batter’s head) and the fielder catches it, the batter is out. If the fielder catches a foul ball and carries it out of play with runners on base then all base runners advance one base.

What is the base path?

The base path is the path between the bases including home to first and is 3 feet wide. If you go outside of the base path when you are in a run down or a “pickle”, or if you go outside the base path when a defensive player has a ball and is attempting to tag you, you will be called out by the umpire.

What is the strike zone (where is it on our body)?

The strike zone is the area over the plate that is generally between your knees to your armpits or sometimes the middle of your torso and the width of the plate. Sometimes the ball seems high or low, but if any part of the ball is in the strike zone, it is a strike. If you are behind the plate and the call is decided at the plate and not where you are standing.

When do you look for the third base coach when you are running the bases?

You look for the third base coach about half way between first and second when you are running the bases.

You also look for the third base coach after you get to 1st base so you know what the batter is going to do.

What is a Force Play?

A force play is when the runner has to go because the batter hit the ball and the base behind them is occupied.  First base is always a force play.  If the defense gets the ball to the player at the base before the runner gets there, the runner is out.

What is a Tag Play?

A tag play is when the runner does not have to advance but does anyway so the defensive player needs to tag them out instead of just touch the base to get them out.

A steal is also a tag play

What is a run down?

A run down is when a base runner is caught between two bases and the fielders are trying to tag her out by throwing the ball back and forth to each other and sometimes chasing her.  If the runner goes out of the base path during a run down she is out.

What is a double play?

A double play is when the defense gets 2 outs in the same play.

What is a sacrifice bunt?

A sacrifice bunt is when the person up to bat is going to bunt the ball on purpose so that the base runner gets a better chance of getting to the next base.

What is the batters box?

The batters box is a rectangle that is 3 feet wide by 7 feet long that the batter has to be in before she can hit the ball. If she hits the ball and any part of her foot is outside of this area, she is called out by the umpire.

Also, if the batter touches home plate with any part of her foot when she hits the ball, she will be called out by the umpire.

What is the bunt line?

The bunt line is the base path between home and first base that is on the foul side of the line where you must run when you are going to first base after you bunt. If you do not and you are touched by the ball that is being thrown to the first base player, you will be called out by the umpire. If this happens and you are running in the bunt line, you will not be called out.  Some umpires will call you out for not running in the bunt line after a bunt.

What is a tag up play?

A tag up is when there is a fly ball and you have to wait until the fielder either catches it unless it drops to the ground before you can leave the base. If you do not wait and you leave the base before the fielder catches it, you will be called out by the umpire if the other team says you did not “tag up”.

If you are at third base, you would listen for the coach to let you know when to go.

Where does the plate umpire stand and what does he/she do?

The plate umpire calls all balls and strikes and any calls at home plate. She/he calls foul balls and balls that go out of play. They do not yell out fair balls so we need to play every ball like it is a fair ball until we hear the umpire tell us to stop by calling a foul ball. If it is fair he/she will point to the inside of the field.  He/she is kind of the boss of the field and we have to listen to them all the time.

Where does the base umpire stand what does she/he do?

The base umpire calls all the plays at the bases and also calls a base runner out who leaves the base before the ball leaves the pitchers hand (a lead-off)