Tools for Keeping Baseball Lineups and Softball Lineups in Order
The following are common scenarios in youth baseball and softball games.
One, game delays happen because a coach doesn’t have enough players on the field or has players who do not know what position they are supposed to be. Coaches have to fumble round in their mind to figure out who is to be where, while valuable game time passes.
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Two, coaches do not play each kid on the team enough, which breaks little league baseball rules.
Three, coaches do not play all players each game, which upsets them and their parents.
Coaches can avoid all of those and other unfortunate situations by being properly prepared with the necessary tools of the trade. Both baseball and softball coaches must have organization skills and the following things help them with those. Setting baseball lineups and softball lineups and keeping track of them during games takes coaching skill and experience, at every level of play. Along with lineup cards, coaches of their respective sports should have a baseball and softball field diagram sheet available at games to help with game organization.
Whether leagues have rules that players must play so many innings or not, coaches should make sure all kids play in games. Coaches should not treat youth sports as professional ones, and sit players for whole games. Because of that though, they can get confused during games as to who has played and who needs to play. When they mess that up, there is a good chance they will hear about it from and angry parent or two after games. Being prepared is everything, so that does not occur.
Youth Baseball and Girls Softball are Different Games
Baseball lineup card template and a softball lineup template diverge because of the different nature of the games. Softball coaches have to manufacture runs more than baseball coaches. This divergence is especially true in the modern day baseball game because baseball lineups are set more for the power than speed. However, in softball, speed is often the biggest factor. Because of that difference, the bunting game separates the two because the utilization of bunts are crucial to winning many softball games, but baseball uses the bunt much less.
Another difference between the two games is the number of pitchers, as baseball teams have up to ten pitchers available, but softball coaches usually only have two or three pitchers. Maybe the biggest difference between baseball and softball games is the length of time they take to play. Softball games often have either a time limit of around an hour ten minutes, and most games do not last much longer even without the time limit. Baseball games usually last a minimum of two hours. The nature of softball games means the softball coach has to be even more prepared with the limited time constraints. Having the bet tools of the trade for all coaches helps teams win, and most of all keeps players and parents content.
- Coaches should have their baseball lineup cards and inning by inning baseball position chart posted before games. This posting solves a lot of player and coach confusion during games and also saves a lot of time, especially with younger ballplayers. With this visible chart, players take the initiative themselves to check it out and it saves coaches time and the embarrassment of not having each position filled every inning.
- Also, with the youngest players it is a good idea to have a baseball diamond template posted, so players learn correct positions and positioning. This template lists each position and location of the best spot to play on the field. Many youngsters learn visually more than verbally, so seeing things on a baseball position sheet helps that learning process. In that way, players learn that playing second base does not mean to stand on the base itself. This positioning map can also include movement of defensive locations depending on the left or right handed batter.
- Well-kept lineup cards and baseball location sheet helps coaches remain under control as games get into the later innings with all the position and lineup changes, especially when attempting to get all players into games. The good news is that a printable baseball scorecard is available online for free, so coaches can easily have a baseball lineup sheet ready for every game. Head baseball and softball coaches should have a number of copies of the lineup cards to hand out to each coach, so they can help keep track of game changes. All of this is important so game delays are not a regular occurrence, which is frustrating for all.
- Coaches of both sports should have the letter “P” marked on their scorecards, so they know who the pitchers are, along with a notation of which pitchers are available to pitch that day. Additionally, coaches can list all positions that each player plays so they are ready for any unexpected game events. It is never good to just throw a player into a position they have not practiced at in the past. That may lead to injury, as the ball has a way of finding the weak spots on the field.
- Coaches should review their baseball lineup sheet before handing it over to umpires. After noticing no apparent discrepancies, a copy of the baseball lineup is handed over to the opposing team. Coaches use the lineup card to keep track of game moves and make game notes on this baseball lineup sheet for post-game comments and future practice ideas.
- Coaches should keep their lineup cards and all templates to review at some point before the next team practice. In that way, they can observe their game moves and know player positions for further use.
Baseball and softball coaches have similar responsibilities and these game organization tools helps them receive the greatest coaching complement of all – “What a well-run team you have.”
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching, and parenting stories help create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is in the works. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte at YouTube with over 80 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.