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Drills of the Week

Week 33

Being able to hit through the defense is critical to getting on base.  At the same time, fielding the ball and making a play as possible takes that base away from the offense.  Use this drill to test the offense an the defense and to add some competition and fun at the end of practice.

Hit for Points

Purpose Offense:

To get the ball as far into the defense as possible to get points.

Purpose Defense:

To minimize the number of points the offense scores by fielding the ball as soon as possible and making a good throw to the coach.

Procedure:

Set up the defense based on their skill level.  If they are a less experienced team, put more players between the cones and maybe only have 2 levels of defense rather than 3.  If they are an experienced travel team, give them less defenders between the cones and increase the depth of the defense by adding more cone lines of defense.  Add the throw as part of the point system to diversify it.

Move the cones as narrow or wide as you want to or even put them to one side of the batter if you want them to be hitting to a specific field.  How good is that.

The hitters hit the ball that is pitched by the coach and needs to get the ball between the cones wherever they are placed.

Point hitting

Week 32

The confusion in front of the plate on a bunt can cost your runs.  when the corners, catcher and pitcher all go for the bunt, the ball can end up either simply stopped on the ground or getting to the destination too late to retire the runner.  This bunt defense drill is for beginner or intermediate teams who are working on defending a sacrifice or surprise bunt.  If you are anticipating a slap bunt or drag bunt, incorporate those situations.

Bunt Defense

Purpose:

To establish a play that allows the corners and battery to know who will take the bunt when it hits the ground.

Procedure:

use the bat to draw the lines in front of the catcher to designate the areas of responsibility for the corners and the catcher for a bunt.  Put a runner at 1st base that needs to be advanced by the batter.  The coach puts the bunt down into the mapped areas and the appropriate defender takes the bunt and throws it to first base.  If the ball goes right up the middle to the pitcher then she fields it and throws to first base.  To add variation, put runners at the bases and have the defense try to get the lead runner.

Have a pitcher or coach pitch to a batter to add real game situation plays.  It is important that the batter and base runners wear helmets for safety reasons.  There are a lot that you can practice with this set up.

You can use this drill to work on the entire defense and coverage or you can use it to simply work on the area in front of the plate.

bunt coverage

Week 31

Tracking and getting in position to field a ball in the air or on the ground, as an outfielder takes practice and timing.  This is a good way also to practice the run through from the previous drill of the week.  Put runners on base to add variations to the drill and to put some stress into the situation.

Down the Line, Up the Alley

Purpose:

To practice fielding balls and taking angle for balls down the line and up the alley.

Procedure:

This drill requires four outfielders, receivers at second base and third base, a hitter, and a catcher.  Because the center fielder is always involved on balls to the gap, it is best to use two, one in left center and one in right center.

The left and right fielders are in their normal positions.  The ball is fungoed alternately to the two pairs of outfielders in the alley and down the line.  The first ball is hit down the left field line, the second to the right field line, the third to the left field alley, and the fourth to the right field alley.

Outfielders work on short angle and deep angle coverage and hitting the relay or bases.  Have each fielder throw to both second and third base.  Use extra outfielders or pitchers to cover the bases if the infielders are busy elsewhere. Have players return balls to the catcher or use a bucket at each base.

up the alley

From: Softball Skills & Drills, Judy Garman

Week 30

Using a crow hop from the outfield will create momentum on the throw which will create more velocity on the ball upon release, getting it to the plate much faster.  It is also a good tool for when an outfielder has difficulty picking up a grounder by fielding it in front of them when they have to get it in quickly.

Outfield Crow Hop

Focus

To pick the ball up on the glove side foot while on the run.  Bring it up to throw as the momentum is transferring to the back foot on the hop.

Setup

The outfielders line up at left, center and right field with a cone on the field where the fielder is to pick up the ball.  There is a coach who hits and a fielder on each side of the coach for the outfielders to throw to.

Procedure

The coach hits a hard ground ball to the left fielder who picks it up at the cone and fires it to home plate either as a line drive or with a one hopper in front of the plate depending on the physical strength of the thrower.  The coach then hits one to the center fielder and then to the right fielder.  The fielders rotate by sprinting to the positions after fielding the ball by going to the back of the line beside them.

  • Left goes to center
  • center goes to right
  • right goes to left field

Hit the ball more random and include fly balls to mix it up and keep them on their toes.  Add bases to throw to and relay cut offs to ad even more variables.

outfield crow hop

 

Week 29

The snap of the wrist at the end of the throw and before the follow through is critical to maximizing the velocity of the ball to the target.  This drill will allow your players to actually see the amount of snap they are putting in their throw.

Towel Drill

Focus

To Isolate throwing arm acceleration and deceleration action and teach proper throwing arm extension.  Outfielders need to extend their arms farther to facilitate distance on a throw and infielders need to be able to snap quickly on their throw to make a play on the infield.

Setup

The thrower works with a partner who kneels on one knee in front of the thrower. The distance away from the partner depends on if you are working on an outfielder throw or an infielder throw.  The only equipment required is a towel.

Procedure

The thrower holds a small towel in her throwing hand.  She then stands in her throwing ready position with her upper body rotated and ready to throw.  The front foot is pointed to the target and the weight is on the back foot.From this position, on command, the thrower brings her throwing hand forward to throw, attempting to hit the palm of her partner with the end of the towel

Adapted From:
The Baseball Drill Book
American Baseball Coaches Association

Week 28

Hitting stride and working on a T is not always something that we spend time on as coaches.  Use this opportunity to isolate specific aspects of hitting and awareness.

61ulrZRUumL53-300x300

No Stride

To Isolate and work on hip rotation and upper body movement.

Procedure

The player steps on the spot where the front foot would be after the stride and starts in that position.  She swings and concentrates on the pivot, hip rotation and movement of the upper body.  She drives the front shoulder to the outside corner of the plate.   She keeps the head down and looks inside the T after contact.  The goal is to hit a hard line drive off the T.

It will not be as easy as you might think. 🙂

Two Stride

To practice the stride and check for balance.

Procedure

The batter takes her stride with the hands going back to launch position.  She freezes and holds that position to review stride length foot position, hand position and balance.  If all is correct, she repeats the stride and this time swings to hit the ball off the T.  If she recognizes a problem, she repeats the stride and does not swing until all is correct.

From:
Softball Skills and Drills
Judi Garman

Week 27

A great drill to work with catchers, fielders, baserunners and pitchers on a pick off.  Refine all base running pick-offs and have the baserunners practice playing the defense at the same time.  Perfect!

Pickoff and Baserunning

Setup

Three Fielders at each base with a runner on the baseline.  A runner is in front of each base aproximately 5 feet away from the base.  There is a Coach or pitcher at the pitchers plate and a catcher at the plate.

Procedure

The Coach or pitcher pitches to the catcher, as soon as the catcher catches the ball the coach calls which base to throw to for a pick off.

If it is to 2nd –  the runner at 3rd takes a bigger lead to draw a throw.  The second baseman cuts inside the line to cut off the throw and the shortstop goes to 2nd base while the 3rd Baseman goes to 3rd for a potential throw.  Play the runners.

If it is to 3rd – the SS runs over to cover the base while the 3rd baseman moves forward as a decoy.  The SS is prepared to make a quick throw back to home if the runner takes off.  The baserunners play the defense.

If it is to 1st – the first baseman takes the throw while keeping an eye on the third base runner.  The runner at third takes a bigger lead to draw the throw.  Play the runner.

pick off and baserunning

Week 26

A great drill to ensure that outfielders set themselves up for success in fielding a fly ball.  By getting a head start on the read, they will be focused on getting to the ball rather than waiting until it is too late.

Around The Ball

Purpose:

To practice circling around the ball when catching fly balls

Procedure

Outfielders form a single-file line.  A catcher sets up to the left of a hitter.  The fungo hitter hits high, soft fly balls to the left side of the outfielder, high enough to allow the fielder time to get in position.  The outfielder comes around the ball to line up for a throw to the catcher. Repeat the drill in the opposite direction with the catcher setting up to the right of the hitter.

around the ball

From Softball Skills & Drills
Judi Garman

Submit Your Drill

Week 25

This is an awesome drill to show your team just how consistent they can be.  aGreat just before a tournament to build confidence in the entire team.

It starts with everyone at a defensive position.  It does not matter which position they are at because everyone will be at every position at least one time.

The coach hits one ground ball to each fielding position in order of position number.  The fielder throws the ball to home plate where another coach is receiving the throw.  When a ball is hit to the outfield it is hit as a fly ball and they throw it to the relay player who throws it to home.  When everyone has received a ball they move ahead one position number.  The Right fielder goes to the bench  and the next person in line on the bench goes to position one.  The same things happens again.

Someone keeps track of the number of errors.

When everyone has been at every position 1 time the drill is over.  So the person who left the field from right field after the first round needs to eventually go in at position number 1 and move around to position 8.  Then it is done.

This drill is awesome for letting the team know ust how good they are if feeling unsure or if in a new location.  I used it for my summer games team and they loved it.  At the end of the drill when I told them that out of 135 (15 x 9) balls hit, they only made 4 errors.   It was great!

As a coach who focused on defence it was a perfect display of how hard the team had worked prior to the tournament. 🙂  Run this drill a few times during the season to see just how much they are improving.

consistent

Week 24

This activity may seem like it is easy to complete however once put into action watch the confusion begin 🙂

It starts with dividing the team into groups of 4.  Put blindfolds on all of the players that stay in their groups.  Once the groups have been blindfolded, they are given a rope that they did not know they were going to get.  Their next instruction is to make a perfect square.  Not just a square but a perfect square.

You will see leaders emerge and watch how the communication begins.  Communication as we know is critical in softball and will be even more critical because the players can not see each other and where they are.  You can adapt this activity with asking them to make a circle or a triangle as well.  Make it a competition to see which group gets the best square built.

team square

Week 23

An awesome drill from The Softball Drill Book to stress the importance of using all aspects of team offensive skills

Organization

Divide the team into two or more equal groups.  Ideally, you want enough players to field a full defence while the other group is batting.  If you have 12 players use 3 teams of 4 players.  Place one team on offence and the other two teams on defence.  Place a pitching machine or use a coach on the mound.

Make up a scorecard for your teams to use.  This scorecard should include the potential offensive skill or strategies you want your team to work on (see sample).  Coaches should eventually divide the team leaders and star players onto separate teams.

yahtzee

Execution

Each team gets 21 attempts to execute, which simulates the 21 outs in a seven inning game.  The offence must bat all players in a set order but can choose which offensive strategy each batter will attempt.  For every failure to execute on an attempt, the offence must cross off or eliminate one of the 21 attempts on their scorecard; the box eliminated does not have to match the strategy strengths and minimize categories that their team is not good at. (eg.  if their team does not have power hitters they can eliminate the home run boxes).  Notice that a team can gain high bonus points for three successful executions or for filling out a full sequence of execution attempts.  The defence takes a game like approach and attempts to keep the offensive team from succeeding.

Coaching Points

Ideally, your leaders or captains will learn how to organize their teams strategy to maximize their team’s ability to score points.  Before you begin you might want to give the offensive teams five minutes to figure out which players will execute which skills.  Team leaders should be encouraged to maximize their team’s strengths and avoid random strategies.  Use for offensive and defensive skills that you want to work on with your team and to encourage thinking on their own.

Week 22

This drill is to learn to use the drop step properly and practice changing direction while keeping eyes on the ball.

A coach is behind second with a bucket of balls.  A line of players is behind the coach, one player steps out and faces the coach.

Facing the player, the coach holds up a ball and points it to either the left or the right.  The player drop steps in that direction.  The coach then holds the ball on the other side so that the player changes direction using a drop step.  The coach changes direction one more time, the player drop steps and changes direction.  The coach then throws a fly ball in that direction for the player to catch.  The player makes the catch and then gets into position to throw back to the next player in line by the coach.

She then takes her place at the end of the line and the next player steps out.

zigzag

Week 21

This drill is perfect when you do not have a lot of time to practice with your team and they are fairly new.  Or as a quick drill when you have some time before a game or when you have some time at the end of the practice.

The players all line up on the base path on the field.  They set up in their ready position as if they were at the base.  They watch for the pitcher who is going to pitch to the catcher or the coach.  The players watch for the ball to leave the pitchers hand and then lead off as if they are on a base, landing in a position to either continue on or get back to the starting point.

Move the players so they get a chance to see the pitcher from each baseline as it is an entirely different view.  Its a great drill for new players to get their timing down.  If you do this enough times I guarantee you will never get calls for leaving the base too early.  The young kids love it!

Have fun 🙂

Lead Off

Week 20

This is a great drill for when there is no time to set and throw.  Thank you to submissions for the practice planning for this drill from Billy Pierce and his 14U B team.

The drill starts with groups of 3 (or more if you wish)  The task is to pick up the ball with the glove only and transfer it to throwing while in motion.  We usually hammer home the 2 hands aspect of fielding however as I said there are times when the play has to be made quicker than that.

The first person in line gets to the ball on the right quick as possible and picks it up with the glove and throws it to the coach while in motion.  The next player picks up the middle one and the last player picks up the last one and throws.  Switch the players around in the line so they get to pick up the ball from each location as it does make a difference.

The key is to pick up the ball on the outside of the glove side foot is.  So for balls on either side the player will have to get around the ball to ensure that happens.  As the pick up is done farther away from the target it is called a run through.  So the player ends up running to the ball and picking it up on the run then transferring it to throwing.  This is more likely from the outfield.  As mentioned, the key is to pick it up outside the glove side foot and transfer in the next step to throw.

Move the players back as the throws are done correctly.  Make it into a relay or competition as it gets easier.  Not based on time at first but accuracy then time.

Have fun 🙂

pickupandthrow

Week 19

A This drill is great for practicing those underhand tosses that need to be made when the players are close to each other such as a second base player tossing to first or a shortstop tossing to second base.

It’s also great for practising picking up a stationary ball with the hand over the ball instead of trying to pick up the ball from underneath which can create difficulties in grasping the ball.

the player has the ball on the ground in front of them.  They pick up the ball bare handed and underhand toss it to the player in font of them or to the side of them in the circle.  The receiving player must have their glove facing the tosser in preparation for the toss.  Then the tosser picks up the ball and tosses it underhand without flicking their wrist.  This is how the ball ends up going over the receiver instead of to the receiver.

After a few minutes, turn and go the other way.  It is also a great set up for the side toss in which the player uses their index finger and thumb to direct the ball to the side to the receiver.

Have fun 🙂

underhandtoss

Week 18

A good drill for the beginning of the season or just to have some fun and build the team at the same time.  Can be done indoors or outside with any age team.  You would be amazed at how much fun adults have with this activity as well.

Get a queen or king size blanket or sheet and lay it on the ground.  The whole team stands on the blanket.  Have the team turn the blanket or sheet over without anyone leaving the blanket or sheet.  No one’s feet can touch the ground outside of the blanket or sheet or they have to start over.

It may seem impossible when first given the task but you would be amazed at what teamwork can do.  Lots of laughing and thinking.  It’s awesome!

Have fun 🙂

teambuilding

Week 17

A great drill for movement and quick agility and then transition to throwing.

Have a line of players.  The first player stays low and runs forward past the cone then shuffles to the side through the cone then forward past the next cone then shuffles sideways through the cone and so on. Once at the end the player picks up the ball and throws it to the player standing beside their line.

that player puts a ball down for the next player then goes to the spot where they just threw the ball and stays there for the remainder of the drill.  The next player in line follows the same procedure but stays at the side where they picked up the ball.  When all players have gotten to the other side and the ball is back at the player who started the drill everyone sits down and yells BINGO!

Repeat the drill so that they have to throw on the other side this time.

There are many variations you can do with this one.  Be creative 🙂

ball relay

Week 16

One of the most difficult things for new players especially is being able to watch the ball all the way to the contact point.  I say the contact point because that is the most important position of the ball.  What happens often is that the player will watch the ball until about halfway to the plate because that is sort of their vision limit when the begin their sight of the ball from the hip.  Often they do not actually follow the path of the ball.

This drill will help for them to get used to keeping their eyes on the ball. I say eyes because we want both and not just one of their eyes on the ball so it is a good idea to check the position of their head in relation to the path.

Use electric tape or a felt marker to put colour spots on the ball.  Electric tape is easier to see however it will eventually come off and if you want to have the players actually hit the ball you may also lose it.  I would recommend that you mark some balls for hitting and some for simply vision purposes.

Have the batter at the plate and hold all 3 balls behind your back.  Have them call the color as you pitch the ball to them.  If you want to make it more difficult, tell them when to open their eyes.  It might be right away or when it is halfway there.  I would recommend you use indoor balls or very soft balls if you are going to have them keep their eyes closed for any duration of the drill 🙂

what color is it

Week 15

Beat the Ball Drill

Half of the team is on the field (size depending on gym size) in the following positions – 3 -4 -5 -6. the other team is up to bat. The coach hits a ball to the players in order of position number. A runner starts at home and must run around the bases before the ball is hit to each player and returned home cleanly. Each player gets a turn as the runner. Both teams get a chance as the fielders and the runners.

If you have enough players have one team playing from the corners opposite each other to maximize participation. This drill promotes aggressiveness in fielding and baserunning because it is a race against time for both teams.

running fielding challenge

Week 14

Use indoor balls which are easier for developing the aggressiveness because the fear of getting hurt is less. Set up 2 lines with 2 coaches hitting balls to them. Line #1 fields ground balls and must get the ball back to the coach quick as possible because the next ball gets hit to the next player as soon as the player releases the ball in throwing back to the coach. Line #2 fields slow rollers and must get to the ball quickly and get it back to the coach because the next ball is rolled out to the next player as soon as the ball is released back to the coach.

Players go to the end of the other line after fielding.

quick-grounder-drill-197x300

Week 13

Quick Ground Ball Drill

This drill is great for getting players to focus on the task at hand and work on their quick transition of the ball.  The transition of the ball to throwing is where time is lost and outs are missed.   Great pre-game warm up throwing drill for fun as well.

Have players line up across from each other. Ball starts at one end. Throw diagonally as quick as they can using quick feet for the transition all the way to the end then back to the beginning throwing diagonally again. See how fast they can get the ball down and back. If you have enough players have 2 groups and they can compete against each other to see who can do it the fastest. This promotes quick and aggressive throwing and a level of intensity that will naturally bring aggressiveness with it.

quick feet drill

Week 12

This is another one of my favourite drills for pre game warm up.  Its great for concentration skills and just some fun to have before a game to loosen things up.  The important thing to know is that you need an odd number of players. Its easy to forget and if you do not have an odd number it will not work correctly.

The drill starts when the coach hands Player #1 a ball and throws it to player #2 who throws it to player #3 and so on until the ball gets back to her/him.  As the players get comfortable add another ball.  When they get really good see how many balls you can add.   Stand back and watch the team focus and have fun doing it.

The key to remember for the receivers is who they are getting the ball from  and who they are throwing to.  If they can keep that their main focus they will not get an unexpected ball and have the drill stop.  If a ball leaves the circle because it is not caught, let it go so you can just add another one.

You can also have more than 1 group do the drill and compete with each other.  Enjoy 🙂

star-drill-258x300

Week 11

The purpose of this drill is to give the outfielders an idea of how easy it is to cover the amount of space for their position.  When out in the field,  it can feel intimidating to cover the entire field.

Set up cones that measure off the space for each outfield position and hit fly balls to them.  The fielder is only allowed to field the balls in their “zone”.  The neighbouring fielder must run behind the fielder in a straight line to back them up.  The fielder catching the ball must call their own name to indicate they are catching the ball.

You will find that fielders will feel much more confident about their abilities to field a fly ball in their position.

fly ball duristiction

Week 10

This drill is great for getting outfielders to track a ball over a distance that you determine.  As they get better you can increase the distance and the speed of the ball.  By throwing the ball you can control it for novice players and for the more experienced you can use the bat and fungo hit the ball.  For young or very new players use a light flight ball or tennis ball so that they are not afraid to go after it.

The players line up on one side and run to the other as you throw the ball up in the air for them to catch.  You can then have them carry the ball to a bucket at the end of the line the go to or they can throw back to you.  Once everyone is on the other side then they catch the ball heading in the opposite direction.

Key coaching points:

Remind the players to keep their hands down as they are running to the ball and to then bring the glove up as they are arriving.  Use 2 hands to catch the ball if it is reachable or one hand will do.  The point is to catch the ball rather than focusing too much on mechanics.  Its a fun drill that has some challenge that you can guide.  Have fun 🙂

fly ball tracking

Week 9

Pivot Rotation Drill

To develop proper hip rotation while pivoting on your back foot and remaining balanced.

Equipment

bat
fungo
or stick
Procedure:

Put your bat behind your back and lock your arms around the bat
Assume your normal stance and pop your hips quickly rotating your trunk while pivoting on your back foot
After you rotate, remain balanced and don’t move either foot

Key Points:

Rotate on the ball of your back foot
Your belly button should be pointing toward the pitcher after you rotate
By learning proper hip rotation and thrust, you’ll learn how to generate power and bat speed
pivot

From the book “Offensive Baseball Drills” by Rod Delmonico

Week 8

321 Fielding Drill

This is one of my favourite drills as it gets things going quickly and creates stress and fun at the same time.

Infielders work on proper fielding and throwing skills.  they stay low, keep their body weight forward and make accurate throws to the glove side.

  • Infielders excluding pitcher go to their positions.  Runners line up near first base.  The coach brings a fungo bat to home plate.
  • Action begins when a runner comes to first base.  The coach hits three consecutive balls to the same fielder.  (for example, hit three balls to the first baseman before hitting to another fielder).  The runner goes from first base to second on the first hit, second to third on the second hit and tags up from third on the last hit.  NOTE.  The runner, whether safe or out, stays on base.  After touching home plate the runner goes to the end of the line.  Play continues as another runner goes to first.
  • The following chart shows where the coach hits each ball and where players throw the ball.

Player

Ball

Where Coach Hits Ball

Where Players Throw
(Numbers indicate pos.)

 First Base1
2
3

Down first base line
Toward Second Base
Fly to shallow right field

To 6 covering second; 6 – 2
To 5; 5 – 2
Runner tags up; 3 – 2

 Second Base1
2
3
To the left of second base
Over second base bag
Fly to shallow centre field
To 6 covering second; 6 – 2
To 5; 5 – 2
Runner tags up; 4 – 2
 Shortstop1
2
3
To the right of shortstop
Over second base bag
Fly to shallow centre field
To 4 covering second; 4 – 2
To 5; 5 – 2
Runner tags up; 6 – 2
 Third Base1
2
3
Down third base line
To the left of third base
Fly shallow left line
To 4 covering second; 4 – 2
To 5; 5 – 2
Runner tags up; 5 – 2

Shared from “Baseball Coach’s Collection of Drills and Games” by Robert G. Hoehn

Week 7

Pop Fouls and Bunts

To work on proper footwork for fielding a bunt and proper technique for a pop foul.

The catcher starts in full gear behind the plate in normal starting position. a coach needs a bucket of balls (or someone to feed him or her the balls) to keep the drill moving. Two sets of four reps is a challenging starting point for this drill.

A coach stands behind the catcher with 2 balls. The catcher starts in ready position. Begin the drill by rolling the ball in front of the catcher to simulate a bunt. she fields the ball and throws to 1B using proper technique. After the throw she immediately gets back to ready position. The coach then stands in front of the catcher, just a few paces away, ad tosses a ball into foul territory, simulating a pop foul. This toss should be thrown at various heights and distances. You can increase your catchers’ range by making her go after pop-ups thrown far from her. The bunt and pop-up are considered one rep.

It’s important to work the bunting game to all bases. You might want to vary the situation for each rep (e.g. no one on base, runner at 1st, runners at 1st and 2nd etc.) another variation is how you toss the pop-up. You can stand in front of the player with 2 balls in your hand right in front of the catcher’s mask. Move one of the balls away, and the catcher will immediately move in that direction for a foul pop-up. You then immediately toss the ball in the air into foul territory on that side, and the catcher can pick up the ball.

Shared from “The Softball Drill Book …. Kirk Walker”

Week 6

The Goalie Game

This drill is fun for offensive  and defensive skill development.  It’s also a great drill to end the practice and can be done inside or outside.  Simply divide the group into 2 teams.  One team is up to bat and one is the goalkeeper.  the hitter has to hit the ball off the tee into the goal and the defense has to stop it from crossing the line.  If it gets through everyone its 2 points instead of one.

If you have a large group then divide the group into 3 and 2 teams are the goalies together.  Neither one of the teams is going to want the hitting team to score.  If you want to work on specific pitches to hit then have a coach pitch to the team rather than use a tee.

You can vary this game in many ways to accommodate your goals for the drill / game.  They will love it at any age and skill level.  My teams did 🙂

goalie-game2-300x195

Week 5

Throwing Rotation

This is an awesome warm-up drill for teams that have new players or if you want to make sure that no players are always throwing together.  The object is to throw with someone different every 2 minutes until everyone has thrown with everyone.  I say every 2 minutes because then you also have enough time to ensure adequate warm-up for the practice or games.  It’s great also to use during tournaments when you want to do what you can to ensure the team culture is cohesive everyone is working together.

It also helps to have the players throwing and receiving the ball from each other because that’s what they will be doing during games.  They will not only be throwing to their friends during competition depending on what positions they are playing.

Of course you can not guarantee that it will work for those purposes but if you do it from the beginning of the season at least once per week it will just be something that you do rather than something you threw in to change things up.

throwing-rotation-153x300

Week 4

Skills and Conditioning at the same time

The coach hits a ground ball to the player at SS, who throws to 1st base and then runs to the end of the line at 2nd base.  After receiving the ball at 1st base for the force out, the player runs the ball to the bucket beside the coach and then runs to the end of the line at SS and the next player steps up at 1st.  The coach hits a ball to the player at 2nd base right after the ball is hit to SS.  The player at 2nd base then underhand tosses the ball to next player at 1st base who makes the force play and then runs the ball to the bucket then runs to the back of the line at SS.

this is a fast paced drill that keeps the players moving and paying attention or it will break up the drill.  By hitting the ball to the player at 2nd base right after the one at SS everything must be moving quickly and efficiently.  There is no time for errors or again the drill will be broken up.

This is a good drill to incorporate a game like stressful condition as the stress in softball is mostly metal.  Start slow so that the players get the hang of it and then speed it up.  Safety is critical so make sure that the players at SS know not to throw the ball unless the player at 1st is looking.  You might want to even have the players wear their batting helmets with the cages on them for safety.  I liked this drill a lot for challenging my players.

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Week 3

Focus Under Pressure Drill

How often do you encounter game situations where the pressure is on and a play needs to be made.  I would say…. many 🙂  We know that as the stress level increases in this game, the skill level will decrease. This drill will allow your players to actually practice executing game skills under pressure.

Each team has a ball. The first person in line throws a ground ball to the person across from them and then goes to the end of the line on the other side.  The receiver fields the ball and throws cleanly and quickly to the person behind the one who just threw the grounder and goes to the end of that line.  Go through the entire lines until everyone is back where they started from.  Its a race with the team beside them.

The number of players you have will determine the size and number of the teams.  You can do this drill with throwing and tossing fly balls too.  Make sure the receiver does not cross the line until the ball has left the hand of the thrower.  You can use cones to mark the lines.  Never use bats for markers for obvious reasons.  The players will love it and want to do best out of 3 and sometimes even 5.   Its a great drill to warm up and have fun before a game as well.

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Week 2

Fly Ball Cut Drill

All players get a ball and line up along the baseline beside the coach.  The first player in line tosses their ball to the coach and starts running straight ahead.  When the coach says “CUT!” then the player cuts right and the coach tosses the ball for the player to catch on the run.  He/she then runs back to the end of the line for the next turn.  It is important for the coach to know the skill levels of the players so that he/she can build confidence as well as challenge the ones that need it.  There is nothing more cool than catching a ball on the run and hearing the rest of the team cheering for you.

Increase the pace by throwing the balls faster.  Be careful though not to have the players running into each other.  Safety first!

This drill can be done going left or right and can also be done on a diagonal line right from the starting point.  An awesome drill to build confidence and have some fun before a game or at the end of a practice.

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Week 1

Lateral Movement

Players line up between 1st and 2nd and 2nd and 3rd.  The object of the relay is to pick up the ball and throw it to the person at home plate who drops the ball into the bucket.  The stress of the relay is going to make the throws harder so you must emphasize control and accuracy with power.  Not as easy as one might think.  Allow the team to go through it best out of 3 or five relays.  Great relay to teach the team about how anxiety will decrease your skill level if you do not know how to control it.

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Summary
Drills of the Week
Article Name
Drills of the Week
Description
Take advantage of over 30 drills that you can use for all parts of your game no matter what part of the season you are in.
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Publisher Name
Softball Tutor
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