For many newcomers, the hand signals made between the coaches and players can seem like complete gibberish. Unfortunately, it can also be like that for the very players communicating!
While hand signals have remained a cherished part of softball and baseball culture, it can also lead to miscommunication and errors.
So what’s the solution? Many softball teams have started using softball wristbands instead. These wristbands contain personalized team charts that the coach can call out to avoid any visual confusion.
It’s a creative solution, but is it the right fit for all softball teams? In this article, we’ll explore some of the pros and cons associated with the new strategy.
But first, to see why softball wristbands may be preferable to traditional hand signals we need to understand why the latter can lead to mistakes.
Why Do Hand Signals Lead to Miscommunication?
Hand signals have been around for a long time. They’ve become an iconic part of the game — a catcher holding up a finger or a pitcher swiping the rim of their hat.
So why give them up?
Simply put, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with hand signals. For one thing, it can be difficult to give specific instructions with a hand signal.
For example, it may be easy for a pitcher to distinguish the difference between a fastball and a curveball, but the specific location can be hard to communicate.
It’s also fairly easy for an opposing team to catch on to hand signals as the game progresses. When this happens the softball team is essentially telegraphing all of their plays directly to the opposing team.
Also, it’s difficult for every player to see the hand signal — especially players in the outfield on defense. With a shouted number instead, the entire time can quickly become privy to what’s going on with the play and defensive strategy.
Why Are Softball Wristbands a Good Alternative?
To understand softball wristbands we first need to understand how they work. The wristbands that players wear contain a small chart on the inside of the wrist. Each chart contains a play or pitch with a corresponding number next to it.
Typically the wristband is laid out in a grid format with the numbers running across the top and the plays running along the bottom.
Coaches then call out the number of the play they want, and players can quickly double-check the corresponding meaning. Wristbands can be used for offensive plays or for defensive plays depending on how the coach wants to utilize.
So what are some of the advantages of using a softball wristband?
For one thing, wristbands solve the location problem we mentioned earlier. Instead of signaling whether a pitch should be up, down, inside or outside, a coach simply needs to call out a number.
It’s also much harder for the opposing team to read or steal your signs when you use a wristband. Hand signals, on the other hand, can be fairly easily cracked. Wristbands also solve the common problem of memory failure.
In the heat of the game, there’s a lot of pressure on players. As such, it’s easy for them to accidentally blank out the meaning of a hand signal in the middle of the game.
A wristband fixes this problem by attaching a reference sheet directly to the play. That way, if they forget the meaning of the signal they can quickly check it to make sure they know.
Where Can Softball Wristbands Go Wrong?
Unfortunately, wristbands aren’t perfect. One problem is that they rely on sound. As the catcher of the Blackhawks explains, if players can’t hear the coach call out the number of the pitch they want, then the operation can fall apart.
Coaches should try and take this into account when they play larger softball fields with lots of crowds and noise. Always have a backup plan in case the first one falls apart.
Also, it's important to realize that both wristbands and hand signals can go wrong if your softball team isn’t properly trained. It can be difficult making players commit to memorizing an entire sheet of signs.
And it’s not just the players who can make mistakes — even the coaches can get disorganized and make mistakes if they aren’t careful.
However, if the players and the coaches commit to the chart to memory, then the play will quickly become second nature to them.
In addition to making sure they memorize the signals, you should also make sure they’re properly drilled. Here are four types of softball drills we recommend for beginners.
How Do You Make Softball Wristbands?
There are plenty of services that offer wristbands for athletic purposes. The problem isn’t getting them — it’s fitting plays inside of the wristbands.
You can handwrite or type them, but this takes a lot of time and you will need to change them often. Luckily, some companies offer software that makes it easy to organize your specific plays onto each wristband.
Do You Want Trading Pins for Your Team or Next Tournament? Contact Softball Trading Pins
We hope this article helped you learn more about softball wristbands. While they may not be right for every team, we think for the most part it’s a more efficient system of communicating with players on the field.
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Let's Play Ball: The Top 5 Benefits of Playing Softball
Thinking about joining a softball team?
Good idea! Playing softball means more than just participating in a fun game. It has some serious health benefits that come along with it.
It can help you lose weight, tone up, and can also help your mental health and build essential skills that can translate into your life off the field.
Read on for more information about why softball could be the right sport for you!
Softball is a way to get in much-needed cardio in a fun environment. If you're not a fan of running on the treadmill, hitting the stair master, or navigating other complex workout machinery, this could be the right move for you.
Throughout the game, you're moving your body and burning calories. You'll be required to run back and forth in the outfield or run between bases.
This is another way to perform interval training. Sprinting from one base to the next will get your heart rate up and you'll get a little rest in between, so you'll always keep your body guessing.
During an average softball game, you can burn between 300-500 calories. Plus, you're having fun, so the time will fly by!
Builds Upper Body Strength
In order to play softball, you'll need some serious upper body strength. Between throwing and swinging at the ball, your shoulders, biceps, triceps, and chest muscles will be working overtime.
This sure beats lifting weights at the gym or doing a bunch of pushups.
You'll also increase movement and flexibility in those parts of the body due to the repetitive motions you will be performing.
Mid and Lower Body Conditioning
When you're up to bat, your swinging power will also come from your core and lower body.
Strength in that area will propel your upper body to do the swinging. You become stronger and more powerful in your legs and lower body.
When you swing the bat, you're engaging the oblique muscles in your stomach and building a stronger midsection.
Engaging in a sport can do more than just help you burn calories and tone up. It also does wonders for your mental health.
Research shows that exercising increases your endorphins and reduces stress. When you're concentrating on the task at hand, like softball, you're able to forget about anything that's bothering you and focus all of your attention on the present moment.
Listening to your coach and other teammates requires compromise and builds camaraderie. This is a helpful life skill you can take into the workplace or even your personal life.
It allows you to see what it's like to come up with a solution and move toward a goal, which is a helpful trait to have in many aspects of life.
Start Playing Softball Today
After reading the information above, you know all the amazing benefits that can come with playing softball.
Trading pins are an extra perk of playing softball and a must-have when you join a team.
Check out our site today for anything and everything you'll need to get started! Need some pinspiration? Check out our instagram page for softball pins!
Softball and baseball season both typically start in the spring. But when exactly do you or your daughter start getting ready with your team?
In this article, we'll answer the question of "When does softball season start?" in addition to discussing the origins of the game.
If this is your first softball season, buckle up for an amazing ride.
What is Softball?
Softball was invented in the 19th century as a joke during a Yale versus Harvard football game. While awaiting the outcome, one alum swung at a balled up glove with a stick. As a result, they started a pick-up baseball game that eventually was called softball.
By 1930, "mush ball," "pumpkin ball," "indoor baseball," and "kitten baseball" had evolved with its own set of rules. Although similar to baseball, it is played with a larger ball than a baseball. Softballs are, in fact, not soft, but are harder than baseballs. The pitcher throws underhanded instead of overhanded, and the diamond is typically smaller than a baseball diamond.
When Does Softball Season Start?
If your daughter, or you, are playing for a college, Olympic or semi-professional team, you'll likely start conditioning in November. This can also apply to serious high school teams or other competitive teams.
Conditioning starts the players on a "work out" session to ensure that they can physically handle the game itself. Softball players need to be able to run and have quick reflexes, so conditioning is essential for competitive players.
Depending on where you or your child is playing, practices typically start at the end of January. If your child is playing a more casual form of softball, it may start a little bit later in the year.
It is at this point where you or your child will begin to actually play the game. During the time, players will play their own team. They will also polish their pitching, running and swinging with drills to make sure they're on point for when the games begin.
Let the Softball Games Begin!
Most often, softball games start at the beginning of March. The season typically runs til the end of April. However, this may vary depending on your school or league. You should check with them to learn the official start date of the softball games you or your child will play.
Regionals, Sectionals, and Championships
In some leagues, or in college softball, the best teams of the season will go on to compete in the regionals. This is typically done at the end of April through the month of May.
The best teams advance to sectionals, in which you or your daughter will battle it out with other regional winners. This will take place in May or June.
After sectionals, teams typically compete in a state championship game or series of games in June.
Whether you're a fan of softball or just starting to play, the answer to the question of "When does softball season start?" varies from league to league. Generally, it should follow the pattern listed above.
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Softball vs Baseball: Which is Harder?
The ball used in softball is much bigger, so it's easier, right? The answer isn't that simple! Read this softball vs baseball guide to learn more.
Can anyone name a former Olympic sport where the US won 75% of appearances and even had a winning streak that lasted 22 games? The answer is softball.
Softball is often thought of as baseball's little sister, and this argument makes sense, seeing as softball was officially invented forty-two years after baseball, and was originally named indoor baseball.
Softball also has a smaller diamond, and a larger ball in most cases.
These subtle changes may actually make softball harder. So who wins when we compare softball vs baseball. Read on to find out.
Softball Vs Baseball: The Beginning
Despite having 'official' dates of founding, which are usually the dates rules are first written down, pinpointing the origin of any bat-and-ball sport is nearly impossible.
You probably won't be surprised to learn that baseball, softball, and cricket all have the same origins. However, did you know that those origins date back to before 1066?
As time went on, England began sending colonists to North America, who brought the game with them and began playing their own variations of it.
Two-hundred years later, the something-resembling-cricket that the colonists first brought with them officially evolved into baseball, and then into softball forty years after that.
A few rules had to be changed to create the game of softball:
- The distance between bases was shortened from 90 feet to 60 feet.
- A much larger ball was substituted for the baseball.
- The distance between the batter and pitcher was also lowered.
- The back wall was brought in closer to the diamond. The smaller size may have been because softball started as an indoor game.
- An underhanded style of pitching was used instead of the usual overhand. This slowed the pitches, making the game safer.
- A smaller field meant that fewer players were needed, so team sizes were lowered to seven instead of nine.
The Uniqueness of Softball
Let's jump ahead to modern times, where baseball is a juggernaut of an industry, the American answer to Rome's bread and circuses, except with less violence and the bread now has a hot dog inside of it.
Softball is also far bigger than anyone could have expected. Softball is a giant in its own right, with a professional league made up of five teams, one of which, the Bandits, calls the sport's founding city its home.
Despite its professional success, the true draw of softball may be the amateur leagues that can be found in small communities from California to Maine, where parents gather after school to watch their kids laugh, play, and ultimately develop as people.
It doesn't end with children, either. Have you ever been on a company retreat where the highlight of the day was splitting off into teams and playing a game of softball?
At times like that, everything seemed to melt away. Suddenly, the office rivalries and the water cooler talk seemed unimportant, and everybody was drawn together, if only for a few hours.
At its heart, softball is a community sport. It can be played at any age and can bring together people of all ages.
Though there's no doubt that softball and baseball are both complex sports that take a lot of skill to play, and games that will always have a place in our hearts and minds, the question remains...which is harder?
Softball Vs Baseball: Skills
Scientifically speaking, softball is a lot harder than baseball...in some ways.
The truth is that it's hard to say for sure. While softball players have less time to react, they also have a shorter distance to hit and to run.
The ball is bigger and the batting averages tend to be higher in softball, but the shorter distances to run also mean a shorter distance to throw. So, when it comes to running bases, the ball can get there that much faster.
Softball favors faster players because of the short distances. In baseball, longer fields mean players can be slower if there's power behind their hits and throws.
The smaller diamond in softball means that speed is important, whereas the 90-foot distance between bases in baseball means that endurance plays more of a role.
In the end, the difference isn't about difficulty so much as it is play style.
Comparing baseball and softball is like trying to compare Jenga and Ker-Plunk, or Checkers and Chinese Checkers. The games are similar, but even small differences can create an entirely different play style and offer new ways to win.
With any game, we have to think about the players themselves.
Sure, you have shorter reaction times when hitting or throwing in softball, but so does the other team.
The same challenges you face are also faced by other players on the other side of the field. You have to hit faster, but they have to catch and throw faster.
Does that mean a softball vs baseball comparison has no answer?
Of course, it has an answer. In fact, it has millions.
A Matter of Perspective
Baseball and softball have a lot in common, like a shared history. Both sports can build a sense of community, and both sports offer their own way to play. Who wins when it comes to softball vs baseball. It all depends on the player. If you want a game that focuses on raw strength and endurance, choose baseball.
Maybe quick reflexes are more your thing. Maybe you enjoy a game that tests your speed. Maybe the mad dash along the baseline is the part you look forward to the most. If this is the case, choose softball.
If anyone out there fancies themselves a thrill-seeker and wants to learn more about the exciting world of softball you can find great info, and even greater merchandise, at our website, softballtradingpins.net.
Also, feel free to call us at 1-888-574-6118. Or, check out our resources page for a list of organizations that can teach you about the sport. Who knows, maybe you'll find some new teams to root for or even one to join.