Signals are vital for communication when playing softball and in many instances, they are a match winner. Knowing how to communicate with your teammates or coach when on the field without letting the opponent know what you are planning is the greatest advantage that you can have as a batter. Batting signals in softball are even more essential because communication will determine whether you win or lose. It is vital to communicate clearly, quickly and adequately when using signals and the following tips will help ensure that this is always the case.
1.Choose the Indicators Wisely
An indicator is what lets the players know that the signal is coming and it is important to choose it wisely. If you do not select a good way of indicating, players are likely to miss your cue, and when this happens, the chances of getting the signal will also dwindle. An indicator shows the players that you are no longer bluffing, and so they should watch keenly, and it should be a simple thing such as touching the nose, the top of your hat or belt. Some coaches will even use the same indicator for different signals but vary the number of taps or touches to let players know what they mean, but this can be confusing at times.
2. Batter Should Always Be in the Box
It is crucial for the batsman to remain in the box when you are giving out the signals and only stepping out once you are through with all including any fluffs. The softball batter should not look away during the signaling process as they will not only miss something but can also make it easy for the other team to know what you plan on doing. Any signal that you give is only useful if the batter is attentive enough to pick it up and understand it.
3. Counting Systems are Easy to Remember
The counting system is one of the most common when it comes to batting signals, and this is because it is easy to remember for most players. However, you should make it creative and deceptive so that your opponents do not figure out the signal. For example, you can have something like one touch of the cap represents a bunt, two touches for a slap and maybe six for a steal. The most important thing when using the counting system is still the indicator as it lets the batter know when to start counting the touches.
4. Body Part for Action
Designating different body parts to certain actions is another effective way of signaling the batter. But, you should make things as complicated as possible for your opponent and as easy as possible for your players. However, sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult to figure out for the opponents. For example, you can have one leg representing a steal and an arm for a sacrifice bunt. Remember to make the signals as distinct as possible to limit the probability of players confusing one for the other.
5. Change or Modify your Signals when Meeting the Same Team Again
Most coaches tend to come up with some sophisticated and very deceptive signs and indicators, but if you use them for a long time, your opponents are likely to figure them out. If you are playing the same team for a second or third time the same season, you should change your batting signals or at least modify them. The chances are that the opponents will spend a lot of time going through footage and any other game material as they try to understand your game. In most cases, they may not figure out the signals, but they will at least have an idea of what they are all about and hence know what to expect from your team. Although it might take some extra effort for the batters to learn the new signals modifying them can make it more difficult for the other team to understand them
Batting signals in softball will always make a huge difference, but the key to giving useful ones is to make them straightforward and deceptive. Ensure that your players can understand them without breaking a sweat and also make them impossible for the opponent to know what you mean so that they cannot predict your play. Also, keep in mind that they should not be too long as this will increase the possibility of players missing them. A simple rule is always to ensure that you spend less than ten seconds giving them because anything longer than that will be complicated. Lastly, repeat them often during practice so that players can understand and get used to them.