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Sports / Outdoor Physical Games Category: Softball

Hobby / Travel:

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!

  1. How to Play Softball:

    1.   The following is a list of equipment you will need in order to play the game:

    ¨      Softball bat

    ¨      Softball

    ¨      Four (4) bases

    ¨      Softball gloves

    ¨      Safety gear (i.e. softball batting helmet, jock straps and protective cups, etc.)

    1. 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.

    1. Assemble two teams, each consisting of nine (9) players.

    1. Assign an umpire behind home plate, who will be in charge of calling strikes, foul balls, outs, etc., throughout the game.

    1. 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 innings).

    1. 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) team.

    1. Assign each player on the fielding team a position (first, second, and third basemen; pitcher; catcher; shortstop; and, right, center, and left fielders).

    1. Assign a batting order for each player of the batting team.

    1. 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.  

    1. 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. 

    1. 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 reaches it.

    1. Players of the batting team continue to line up at-bat as long as three (3) outs have not yet been called.

    1. 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).

    1. After three (3) outs, the teams switch positions: the batting team becomes the fielding team and vice versa.

    1. Continue 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.

Helpful Tips: 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 simple,


    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 (i.e. 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 Life Water).

  • 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.

  • Stretch and 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. 

  • Keep an 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.

  • Should any 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 touch!

  • Keep a 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.

  • Prevent 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.

  • Avoid pesky 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.

  • Keep allergies 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 congestion; sneezing, 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.

  • Set Realistic 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!

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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