Force outs occur when a runner, or baserunner, is put out by being forced to advance to the next base due to the batter-runner or an preceding runner. There are two distinct types of force outs, non-fielder forces and fielder forces. Each type of force out works differently, but each can end with a player being put out in softball.

Non-fielder forces involve the batter-runner where they must advance to first base due to another earlier runner on any base or bases other than first who makes contact with home plate before all preceding runners have been advanced one base ahead of them, or have scored themselves. This type of force does not allow for a fielder’s decision since once contact has been made with home plate all other runners must also move forward, whether a play is attempted on them or not.

Fielder forces occur when a preceding runner advances past a base that was occupied by a fielder between an offensive player’s time at bat and their time as the baserunner. This allows an infielder to make a play on said running baserunner if they try to remain by their previous station which would result in what is called “force out” as they were forced away from one base and onto the next by presence of a fielder in place at their original starting point. Whether an attempt is made on these forcible runners, if they fail to reach their new station within three feet either way then they are considered “forced out” since it would take them further than three feet for them to return back safely onto the secured bag.

Definition of a Force Out

In softball, a force out is an out that is made when a base runner has no choice but to advance to the next base. In order for the force out to count, a fielder must be holding the ball in his or her glove or giving the runner other reasonable indication that he or she will attempt to make an out at any given base with the assistance of another fielder. Force outs are most commonly seen on ground balls hit aggressively and fly balls hit to the outfield where another fielder is cutting off the runner from getting back safely. It’s important to note that reaching the base before the ball does not negate a force out; rather, it simply prevents it from happening.

In addition, it’s important for coaches and players alike to understand that when two runners occupy one base, either runner can be forced out by a fielder with control of the ball. For example: If there’s one runner on first and one on second with no outs, if a batted ball is caught by a fielder in time for them to throw both runners out (assuming they have already advanced past their original bases), they may do so and record an “unassisted double play.” But watch out – if both runners reach their original bases safely before the fielding team can record an unassisted double play, then only ONE force-out will count!

When executing a force out, the following steps should be taken:

  1. The defensive player must first get into throwing position by standing with both feet almost together while pointing at their target.
  2. The second step involves catching or fielding any batted ball (if necessary) and then quickly transitioning into throwing form as soon as possible – this helps ensure that less time passes between fielding and delivering a throw/force-out attempt.
  3. After getting into throwing position and gaining a good understanding of where they need aim their throw (i.e., where they will try and place it so that it reaches its intended target), they should proceed with delivering their throw towards their target – in this case, that would be some point near where a specific base path leads so that running offensive players will not be able to get safely past said point without being put-out by such throw/force-out attempt from a defensive player accurately hitting their desired target during delivery of said throw/force-out attempt in softball rules application circumstances).When a Force Out Can Occur
    In softball, a force out occurs when a runner is forced to advance by the batter-runner and there is not another base for them to advance to. This results in an out, and the play does not need to be continued as the ball is returned to the infield. A force out can occur when a runner attempts to take an additional base following a hit or any time they are required to run the bases on a play that results in the batter reaching base safely.

Force outs happen most commonly on plays involving a sacrifice bunt, flyout, ground ball fielders choice, or fielder’s choice when one of the other baserunners are still advancing. When more than one player is forced, runners must be tagged out in order for them all to be recorded as an out in that play. This rule also applies when trying for double plays at 1st and 2nd or 1st and 3rd bases. If both runners have reached either of those bases before contact has been made with either, both will be recorded as outs unless only one is tagged in time by the fielder.

Benefits of Force Outs

A force out in softball is when a fielder touches the base with the ball or glove before the runner reaches the base. This type of out is prevalent in softball and has many benefits for a team’s defense, such as helping to prevent runs from scoring and avoiding risky situations.

One of the main benefits of a force out in softball is that it can be used to keep runners from advancing extra bases. When a defender touches the base with the ball or glove before the runner arrives at it, they are out regardless of how they field it, eliminating any need for throwing accuracy and quickness. This means that any routine ground balls can be turned into outs even if defensive players aren’t able to get a throw off quickly enough.

Another benefit of using force outs is that they help to avoid dangerous plays at the plate where runners may try to take on defensive players at home plate. By utilizing force outs, defenders are able to keep runners away from home plate while still making an out that prevents runs from scoring. This removes any potential risk posed by slide plays or more aggressive plays at home plate which could cause serious injury.

Lastly, force outs can also help teams reduce their reliance on double plays since it requires less speed and skill from defenders making them more reliable options for turning two or three-out innings effectively on routine ground balls instead of needing perfect throws for double play turns.

Rules and Regulations Surrounding Force Outs

In the game of softball, a force out is when a baserunner is touched by the ball or tagged while off base by a fielder, resulting in an out. It’s important to note that fly outs created on base-path tag plays count as both force outs and fly outs.

In order for a force out to be made, three conditions must be met. First, there must be less than two outs. Secondly, at least one runner must be on base or attempting to reach the base. Lastly, the batter-runner must attempt to reach first base safely in order for the other runners to advance and attempt to score by way of their own movement (such as stealing).

Force plays can occur any time a runner is off their bases and trying to return or advance and is touched by the ball or tagged with it by either an infielder (with any part of her body) when she has possession of it OR an outfielder when she has possession of it but has not yet released it from her glove/hand/etc. Depending on what happens after contact between these two sources occurs will determine if a force out applies. For example if the fielder holds onto the ball and remains at her position long enough for all touching runners to come into contact with her – then those runners are guaranteed forced out statuses; however, should she opt to throw downfield or touch each runner shortly after contact then those players are given options on whether they stay put at which bases they wish or chance advancing further downfield at their own risk of being picked off while doing so. The latter case applies more often on plays defending RBI’s as opposed Force Plays where you’re just preventing further advancement.

All force play situations are dependent upon proper rules interpretation from Umpires; this is why communication between fielders and umpires on what might actually happen after contact prioritizes how much freedom players have in making decisions about continuing play before umpires can declare Force Outs officially called for each situation).

Strategies for Effectively Executing Force Outs

Force out plays are an important part of a successful softball defense. These plays happen when a runner is forced to move from one base to the next. To properly execute a force out, players have to have a combination of speed, accuracy and timing.

The key to any successful force out play is communication between fielders and the catcher. The fielder needs to make sure they’re in the right position to make the catch before they tag the runner so that they can get them out before they reach the next base. In addition, the catcher must be ready to throw the ball accurately so that when it reaches its destination, it can be caught quickly and securely.

Once a member of the defense has secured control of the ball and tags a runner while they’re between bases, that runner is considered “forced out” by rule 7.13 – Forced Runners Out at All Bases (link) Strategies for effectively executing these plays include:
-Crew Communication: talking between members of the defense improves accuracy and agility
-Knowledgeable Fielders: Being well-versed in all aspects of force outs allows for quick decision making in game situations
-Agile Catcher: An agile catcher helps eliminate excess movement around home plate when trying make an effective throw for an out at another base


Force outs in softball help get the game moving and add an element of strategy. By understanding how a force out works, you can use it to your team’s advantage and potentially win more games. A force out occurs when a runner is forced to leave their base because of the batter-runner or another runner on base. The fielder must have possession of the ball and be able to tag the base or the runner with it for a force out to be recorded. Force outs are an important part of playing softball and are used in nearly every inning of every game. When you understand how they work, you’ll be able to create smart defensive plans that can make a big difference for your team.