Inner Circle

Let Them Play! Exploring the Stalling Tactic in Softball

Stalling is becoming a huge and unnecessary strategy implemented by youth softball coaches all across the country. Many youth softball tournaments are played under time restrictions. Some games are structured to end with drop-dead time limits, while others don’t allow a new inning to start after the time has expired. Imagine the home team is up to bat, with only a few minutes left to play with the lead. The visiting team is fighting to finish the inning and record the third out before the time expires so that they can hit again. The third base coach calls time to “chat” with the hitter and as a result, the time runs out, and the game is over. It is not uncommon for coaches to use a stalling tactic to secure a win. Is it ethical? Part of the game? Or a cheap shot? Should this strategy be allowed or should umpires be more aware and keep the game moving?

At the end of the day, the game of softball should be about the participating players. What is this stalling tactic teaching players? Some may argue that a coach is cheating by stalling to run out the time to maintain the lead and to secure the win. Did they earn it when this happens? Does that thought cross the coaches mind, or do they only care about winning?

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