Newbie Coach's Guide to Lineups

If you're new to coaching, creating a softball hitting lineup that gets everybody involved--and also gives you a chance to win--can be a challenge.

Here are some tips from the folks at the ASA to help you make the best lineup possible, without sacrificing team play:

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What's in a Lineup?

Another name for this article could be, "How do you know who should bat when?"

The following examples are just guidelines to help give you a general idea of how to fill out a batting order. You can use any method or system you want.

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The most important thing to keep in mind is—does it work?

If you go in alphabetical order and your team remembers where they bat and you score runs, then maybe it is the best system for you.

The following information will help give your team the greatest chance of scoring runs based on percentages. If you have the following types of quality hitters on your team, then this lineup might work for you.

On the other hand, if you do not have nine kids who can hit the ball, then whatever system you choose is not going to matter.

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If possible, always try to make your lineup fit your team's abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

(After reading these guidelines, if all else fails, you may want to choose your lineup based on your players' positions: catcher, pitcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, left field, center field and right field. Above all else, do what is best for your players.)

Making Out Your Lineup

No.1: This position is called your "lead-off hitter" and is the person who gets on base the most. This does not mean they always get a hit to get on base, they might walk a lot (if walks are allowed in your league).

This batter should be fast so they can get as far around the bases as possible on bunts and base hits.

No.2: Your second batter should be a good bunter (if you can bunt in your league), have good speed and be a smart baserunner.

No.3: This hitter will usually be the best hitter on your team. They might not hit the ball the farthest, but they hit it more often than anyone else. You will want your best hitter in this spot because, if the other hitters did their job and got on base, then your best hitter will be able to hit them in.

No.4: This is your "clean-up" hitter. They usually have the most power and can hit the ball farther than anyone else. The spot is called "clean-up" because if the other batters get on base, when this batter comes up your team will "clean-up", if they hit the ball like they are supposed to.

No.5: The same type of hitter as No.4, but they do not have as much power.

No.6: This batter is a good RBI hitter—or, they score runs when they are up. They might not have as great a batting average as the previous batter, but they get base hits with runners on base.

No.7: This is usually your weakest hitter. No.8: This batter is similar to your No.1 hitter, they just have a lower batting average and on-base percentage.

No.9: This batter is similar to your No.2 hitter, just not as consistent.

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Courtesy of Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA)– the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States.

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