As a girls softball coach, and as a veteran player I have seen outfielders continue to miss their cut over and over again on plays from the outfield. Softball girls listen up! You cannot continue to miss your cuts and expect a different outcome. Missing the cut leads to runners taking extra bases, and ultimately hurts your team because you are giving up bases and advancing runners into scoring position.
2 Reasons Softball Girls Miss their Cut from the Outfield
One reason you might be missing the cut is because you don’t know where to throw. This could be because of a number of reasons, however in my experience there are two that stand out.
1. Your teammates aren’t talking
It is very important for coaches and teammates to realize hitting the cut is a team effort. If you the cut isn’t being vocal, and calling for the ball then it is extremely hard for young softball players to know where to throw. If you are having trouble knowing where to throw from the outfield on different plays make sure you ask your teammates to be loud and wave their hands. This will help you identify them in the heat of the moment and ensure that you are throwing to the correct person.
2. You Panic
Panicking is a result of not knowing what to do. If you don’t know what you are doing, or where you should throw based on any given situation then you will likely panic. This is where you do your softball homework. This is especially important for young softball players who are still developing and learning the basics of hitting cuts and situational defense. If you don’t know what to do in a situation then you must ask questions, if you don’t you will not learn. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach to run through cuts slowly so that you are able to grasp your role and the roles of others.
Softball Drill to Improve Situations Where Cuts Are Needed:
There are a number of ways to teach softball players how to hit their cuts, where to go to cut the ball, and more. However, one of the best things any coach can do for their team is go through situations on “Dry Runs.” This means, setting up the field with your defense and slowly going through the motions of each situation.
How to Run this Drill:
1. Set-up your defense with your players
2. Have a coach call out situations without runners, situations could include:
- No runners on, hit over right field
- No runners on, hit over center field
- Runner on first, hit deep over center
- Runner on second, fly to right field
- Runner on second, hit deep over center
It is likely that some of your players will have no idea where to go when you call out these situations. So instead of testing them, and have them guess. Teach it. Tell them where they should be on the play. Show your catcher how to line up the cut, tell them where the primary play should be. Run through it slow motion a couple of times before picking up speed. Make sure you cover the following:
- Lining up the cuts
- Talking “Left, left, right 1, cut, hold..” what verbal cues will your team use?
- Where should players be, everyone should be moving, no one should be standing
- Pitchers should be backing up throws to third, home, etc.
- First base should be the cut from center to home, and from right field to home
- Third base should be the cut from left field to home
- Will your team use double cuts on a long ball?
There is a lot to teach, don’t take cuts lightly, they are usually the first place a team will break down in a game. Communication is key, and getting the repetitions and muscle memory for cuts is especially important. With young players there is so much to teach just on cuts, they are a blank canvas, so instead of teaching them everything at once and them forgetting half of it. Break it up into different practices. Teach 1-2 aspects at a time. This will cut down errors, increase their focus, and help them remember what they are taught.
4. Test Them
After running through different situations slowly, and without a ball. Test your team. Hit the ball and add a live runner. See what happens.
Hopefully this blog has helped you in some way and has given you information to improve your team. If you have questions or comments please leave them at the end of this post in the “Comments” section. We would love to hear from you.