Softball Signs for Beginners

For more advanced information on giving signs click here.

  1. Giving signs can become as natural as scratching your head but it takes practice. Some years I make up all signs and other years I have the team help me with signs. You should have signs for a bunt, stealing, hit & run, take, bunt & run, erase sign, and a key sign. You can add more as your team advances in skill. You should have a recognition signal from your base runners to let you know that they know what the batter is going to attempt.

  2. When giving signs, give them all every time, and do not start or finish with what you want the athlete to do.

  3. A key sign is something you do to tell the batter that the next sign you give is what you want them to do.

  4. Signs do not have to be where your hands move like touching your nose, hat, left arm, left wrist, sweep from shoulder to shoulder, slide down one arm, combo of nose-ear-chin-ear or anything else you can come up with ... but a sign can be how you stand or where you stand in the coaches box or even words that you say.

  5. You must have an erase sign in case you goof or at the last minute you change your mind.

  6. Always rotate around having students give signs during practice. A good way that I start every year is to group up in a circle and call out the item - bunt - and everyone touches that part of their body. I go thru them all several times and then show them how to give all and not start or finish with something and then I call on them one at a time to give signs.

  7. Your bench should always have the job of trying to figure out the other teams signs. The bunt for sure would be nice to know. We sometimes change our signs half way thru the season since we play everyone twice.

  8. Some fun to keep the bench active is that you can have athletes in the dugout stand or do something that comfirms to the baserunner to steal or delay steal. This also makes them pay attention to the game and you giving signs.

by Nancy Ellis

Click here for my Softball Talk for the NHSACA Convention


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Questions? Coach Ellis
Created 1996 ... Last update: 4.27.02