Many people think softball as a sport is the same as baseball, but there are multiple differences.
The flex rule is one of the biggest differences. Similar to baseball, there is a designated spot but it is a designated player in softball, not designated hitter like in baseball. There is also the flex position.
According to qcofficials.com the flex rule begins with “10 starters. Both the DP and the Flex are starting players. The DP/Flex must be indicated on the starting lineup. Once the starting lineup has been given to the umpire, these positions cannot be added.”
Not many people fully understand how the rule works, but there are some experts that do. One of those experts happens to be the head coach at Emory & Henry, Tommy Forrester. Forrester has been around the game of softball for 7-8 years. Forrester called the flex rule, “a helpful position to the game.” Forrester talked about how he used it with his team by saying, “the most common way to use it, is to use one player at the flex and the other at the DP position. The flex plays defense and the DP plays offense. However it does differ in some little ways.”
Forrester then went on to talk about how you could have your DP and flex player on defense at the same time, however only one player can occupy the DP position in the lineup batting.
One of the most common ways that many coaches use the rule, is by having the better fielder play the flex, while the better hitter playing the DP position. Last year the team used Caley Hodge in the DP position a majority of the year, while using Alyssa Clark, Erin Anderson and other players in the flex position.
Anderson talked about how she has been used in it by saying, “I just look at the lineup and if I’m at the flex position that game, then I play the position and try to help the team win.”
Another way that Forrester said he likes to use the position is by sometimes giving players a rest that they need. Sometimes if a player is tired, they will play the DP position, that way they’re getting rest each time until it is their turn to hit in the lineup.
In the end, the flex rule may be different but can very useful and helpful for teams.
– Andrew McClung