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How to play softball.
A sister of
America’s favorite pastime, baseball, is softball! Americans love to
watch and play softball, from the little leagues to the major
leagues, which have recently developed.
In the U.S., perhaps
the most popularly watched baseball game is the final game of the
World Series - an annual postseason tournament that takes place in
October, involving the top teams of the two major baseball leagues
(American League and National League) vying for the crown of
national champions. Like baseball, as of publication, softball is
also an Olympic sport played in the summer version, which takes
place once every four years. In addition to baseball, the Summer
Olympics have included as many as 32 kinds of sports representing
teams from different countries all around the world.
If you have a big
backyard, the game of softball is a fun and popular American sport
you and your guests can play at your leisure. The following include
the basic rules of a backyard version of softball. Play ball!
How to Play
1. The following is a list of equipment you will need in order
to play the game:
Four (4) bases
Safety gear (i.e. softball batting helmet, jock
straps and protective cups, etc.)
Create a makeshift softball
field in your backyard. Arrange each of the four bases
(first, second, third, and home plate) on the ground,
marking four corners in the shape of a diamond.
Assemble two teams, each
consisting of nine (9) players.
Assign an umpire behind home
plate, who will be in charge of calling strikes, foul balls,
outs, etc., throughout the game.
A game of softball consists
of seven (7) innings. An inning represents a period of the
game in which each of the two teams has had their turn
at-bat and three outs. Whichever team scores the most runs
after seven (7) innings is the winner. (Note: If the game is
tied after seven (7) innings, then proceed with extra
Flip a coin to decide which
team will bat first. The team at-bat is fittingly called the
batting (or offensive) team; conversely, the other
group of players, positioned on the field, is likewise
appropriately called the fielding (or defensive)
Assign each player on the
fielding team a position (first, second, and third basemen;
pitcher; catcher; shortstop; and, right, center, and left
Assign a batting order for
each player of the batting team.
Standing on the mound, which is
located in the middle of the field, is the pitcher who
throws the ball with an underhand (a.k.a. “windmill”) motion
toward his/her teammate, the catcher, who is squatting
behind home plate and the batter of the opposing team. The
catcher is ready to catch the ball if the batter fails to
hit it. The goal of the batter is to hit the ball within the
first and third base lines. The batter has three (3)
attempts to hit the pitched ball within the foul lines. If
after three (3) tries the batter is unsuccessful at hitting
the ball, the batter is out. As the saying goes, “Three
strikes and you’re out!”
Note: The pitcher must throw the ball within an area above home
plate called the strike zone. If the pitcher throws a foul ball,
that is, the ball is thrown outside the strike zone, and the
batter does not swing at it, it is called a ball. If a
total of four (4) balls are thrown by the pitcher, before
three (3) strikes are called, the batter is given first base,
which is called a walk.
If the batter successfully
hits the ball, he/she attempts to run counterclockwise from
home plate to the first, second, and third bases, and
finally, back to home. When the batter hits the ball, he/she
runs to first base. If the batter hits the ball far enough,
he/she can run to second, third, and even home plate to
complete a home run.
Meanwhile, the fielding team,
attempts to catch the ball and tag the player with it. If
the ball is caught in midair (without it touching the
ground), it is an out. If the player of the batting team is
tagged by a fielder before he/she reaches a base, it is also
an out. Furthermore, an out is called if a fielding team
member tags the base before the player of the batting team
Players of the batting team
continue to line up at-bat as long as three (3) outs have
not yet been called.
After each batter
successfully hits a ball, the players of the batting team
continue to move counterclockwise, touching each base until
they reach home plate and score a run. At anytime, players
can advance on the bases at their own risk. (If a player is
off a base, he/she can be tagged with the ball by a fielder
and declared out).
After three (3) outs, the
teams switch positions: the batting team becomes the
fielding team and vice versa.
to play the game until seven (7) innings are reached. If the
game is tied after seven (7) innings, then proceed with
extra innings until a winner is declared.
No matter what sport or physical activity you and/or your guests
decide to participate in, this section provides useful information
and tips for optimal performance and enjoyment:
Stay Hydrated! If you and/or
your guests engage in outdoor physical activities, especially
during hot weather, remember to drink plenty of fluids! Drinking
pure water is a great option to replenish your fluids
during and after exercising. Most tap water is excellent.
However, if you are still concerned about lead content and other
potentially harmful particles in your tap water, using a water
filter or purifier is one way to go. A water filtration system
Brita, Culligan or Pur) can keep vital minerals in the
water like fluoride, while filtering out any contaminants or
pollutants that may be in your tap water.
While exercising, perspiration allows your body to cool off as the
sweat evaporates from your skin (a natural cooling mechanism), but
in the process of this thermoregulation you loose electrolytes in
addition to H2O. Therefore, if you’ve been especially
sweating a lot, you need to replenish your lost electrolytes.
In this case, sports drinks - fortified with electrolytes - (i.e.
Gatorade, Powerade, All Sport, Recharge, Extreme Ripped Force and
Champion Nutrition Revenge Sport) are good choices.
There are also other energy drinks available on the market, such as
vitamin-fortified water (i.e. Glacéau (a.k.a.
Glaceau) Vitamin Water, Glacéau Smart Water, Glacéau
Fruit Water, Glacéau Vitamin Energy, Propel Fitness Water and SoBe
Play it safe!
Wear the appropriate safety gear for each sport or activity you
engage in. Also, make certain that you have all the necessary
equipment for the sport or activity. Visit your local sporting
goods store for assistance.
warm-up! It’s important to stretch and warm-up before
participating in any physical activity or sport. Stretching has
many benefits: It allows your muscles and joints to relax, it
improves your range of motion and it may prevent injuries.
Before starting any sport or physical activity, consult your
physician and get a physical exam.
over-the-counter pain reliever handy! Don’t let minor
aches and pains slow you down or prevent you from participating
in a sport or physical activity you enjoy at your outdoor
barbecue event. Over-the-counter pain medication (i.e. Tylenol
(Acetaminophen), Motrin (Ibuprofen), Advil (Ibuprofen), Anacin
(Aspirin), Bayer (Aspirin), Aleve (Naproxen), etc.)
work great at relieving minor muscle and joint pain. Note:
Always consult your physician before taking any medication, and
use as directed.
emergencies arise, keep a cell phone handy, or even a
walkie-talkie! A walkie-talkie is a two-way radio transceiver,
which is convenient, portable and handheld. It allows you to
communicate with another person that is located at a reasonably
close distance to you (i.e. if you are in the backyard, you can
easily communicate with someone that is inside the house if you
are both using walkie-talkies). It’s a great way to keep in
first-aid kit handy! Accidents happen, so, for minor scrapes,
cuts, etc., readily have available bandages; gauze; adhesive
tape; sterile swabs; antiseptic (i.e. hydrogen peroxide topical
solution, antibiotic ointment (i.e. Neosporin), alcohol pads,
etc.); tweezers; anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone); etc.
Seek medical attention if necessary.
sunburn! Protect your skin from the sun’s potentially harmful
rays, which may cause premature aging (i.e. wrinkles) and skin
cancer. So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at
least 15 and one that offers broad spectrum protection against
both UVA and UVB rays. If participating in outdoor sports or
activities, consider wearing a sunscreen that is waterproof.
bug bites! Keep a bottle of bug spray handy. If you do get bit,
use anti-itch ointment (i.e. hydrocortisone) to help relieve the
sting of the bite.
at bay, and enjoy your time outdoors!
If you suffer from allergies, have readily available an
over-the-counter allergy medicine - (i.e. Claritin (Loratadine);
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine); Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine); Zyrtec (Cetirizine
HCl); Zyrtec-D (Cetirizine/Pseudoephedrine); etc.) - to relieve
allergy symptoms, such as red, itchy, watery eyes; nasal
etc., due to the increased levels of pollen, dust, mold,
etc., in the air. Note: Always consult your physician
before taking any medication, and use as directed.
Goals! Don’t overexert yourself, especially at an outdoor
get-together where the idea is to relax and have a good time.
Remember, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect!
So, if you’re really interested in a particular sport or
activity, practice it often, and you’ll be sure to impress your
friends and family at your next outdoor event.
Most of all...Have Fun! Whether you’re a competitive athlete or
an amateur, playing sports and exercising should be about
enjoying yourself, spending time with friends and family,
getting in touch with the great outdoors, teamwork, the spirit
of the game, stress-relief, and good health!
Handyman Zone Team