Softball Fielding Ground Ball Analysis

Basic Softball Rules

As with other skills, in order to be able to fully help your softball players to be good ground ball fielders, it is beneficial to have a thorough understanding of the skill from as many angles as possible. Following is what can be referred to as a referent model or softball fielding ground ball analysis that will give you some ideas on how to improve small specific pieces of the skill that need to be refined.

Softball Fielding Ground Ball Analysis

The best way to analyze softball skills is with video analysis.  The ability to slow the motion down and see specific movements by the player will allow you to not only take not of the refinements but also allows the player to see it as well.  This will be useful in the development of kinesthetic awareness.

Technical / Tactical Skill Factors

We don’t always consider it but fielding ground balls is a technical and tactical skill.  How and when the player fields the ball will determine the ultimate success.

Some Technical Errors for Fielding Ground Balls

Technical Errors

Improvement Strategies

poor reaction time

start far and move closer drills

slow to the ball

reaction drills staying on toes

not reading the ball off the bat

drills with colored softballs

fielding behind knees

draw a triangle in dirt in practice



Some Tactical Errors for Fielding Ground Balls

Tactical Factors

Improvement Strategies

poor positioning

use scenarios to practice

inability to read the batter

watch games & observe batters

lack of experience

game play and observation

thinking about the runner

narrow focus drills



Psychological Requirements

Softball is a game that has a lot of psychological barriers for athletes during competition.  The psychology of fielding ground balls requires skills that are going to have a

  • Narrow focus – keeping the eye on the ball
  • Confidence – feeling capable of clean fielding
  • Emotional Control – not worried about the outcome
  • Concentration -knowing where the play is

Some Psychological Challenges for Fielding Ground Balls

Psychological Factors

Improvement Strategies

Afraid of making a mistake

visualization / affirmations

Importance of the play

emotional control / relaxation

Many distractions

focus / refocus strategies



Physical Requirements

Softball is a power sport that requires the following biomotor skills:

  • Narrow Focus – focusing on the ball off the bat to the glove
  • Confidence – not afraid to take risks in getting the the ball
  • Emotional Control – not worried about the outcome of the play
  • Concentration – able to concentrate through distractions

Some Physical Challenges for Fielding a Ground Ball

Physical Factors

Improvement Strategies


ladder drills


specialty balls


wind sprints / plyometrics



Performance Outcome Factors

Every softball skills is executed with a desired outcome.  That outcome however can be broken down just as the skill itself is.  Here are some expected outcomes that you might have.

Expected Outcome

Mechanics / Biomechanics

clean reception of the ball

both hands on the ball

keeping eyes on the ball

square to the ball

good transition to throwing

good position to throw

feet in good position

good movement to the ball

knowing where to throw

good ready position




As coaches, error detection and correction is what we do.  There is a time and a place however for that activity to occur.  During competition is generally not the time.  Following is a few recommended paths you can take to help your players improve their skills.



Break down the skill

During practice

Kinesthetic feedback

During practice

Skill instruction

During practice

Provide a mentor

During practice