How many ground ball drills do you have in your book? Here are a few from other coaches to add. If you have any to add to this group be sure to send them along and I will put them here for you to share. We are all drill thieves so why not just share what we know to make the game better for all ages and skill levels.
The final thing we do at every practice is to have a game that teaches a skill. Here is of my very favorites and a favorite of my players.
The game is called “Barney Bop.” Take a stool or high chair and place it straddling first base with a net or fence behind it to stop any errant throws. Place a stuffed animal on top of the chair (I use a Barney Doll, hence the name). Divide your team into two equal teams or as equal as possible. Both teams stand out by the shortstop position, with one member of the first team ready to field a ball. The other members of her team are awaiting their turn in line, as well as the members of the other team.
Hit a grounder to the first member of the first team. She must field the ball cleanly and make a throw to first base attempting to knock “Barney” off the chair. If she does, her team gets one point. Then do the same to the first member of the second team. Alternate teams until every player of each team has had at least one throw at “Barney”. The team with the most points wins!!
I also like to have the players also do this drill from center field with “Barney” at second base and also from second base throwing to first base. I have found this game to be a great way to involve competition with efforts to improve throwing accuracy.
Set up an infield with players playing 1st, 2nd, ss, and 3rd. Have two coaches at home plate, one to hit & one to catch in. Coach hitting the ball will be hitting quickly and randomly to the players on the infield. Player fielding the ball will throw to 1st base who will throw ball home to coach catching in. Other players are on the sidelines heckling those fielding the ball trying to distract the fielders to actually create a bobble or an error. If, and when this happens fielder will verbally admit to the error “Uh-oh my bad or my fault” and will leave the field and a player on the sidelines will take her place. The object here is to A:) Learn to focus no matter what noise is going on in the stands. B:) If you make an error- admit it, deal with it, get over it and continue on. C: ) For my girls it is a competition as always and some of our best dives for the ball will happen.
Note: When the ball is missed and extra effort has been made such as a dive then this is not considered an error and fielder will continue.
This drill is a “break down drill” Have your players get in partners.
On there knees they role each other the ball. While fielding with bare hands (enforce soft hands, paddles can be good for this) they lift their feet of the ground behind them. This forces them to see the ball all the way in. After they have done about twenty of those, tell them to put their gloves on. Do about twenty that way. Then have them work forehand and backhands the same way. When they are done with that tell them to stand up and do the same things while standing. Start with their gloves off and go back through the rotation. When they do backhands and forehands make them start with their feet already in the position they would be in when fielding the ball and make them concentrate on soft hands.
We do this drill everyday on my college team. While it can be really annoying it really does help you focus on the basics and make sure that they are right.
This drill is to help the kids keep an eye on the ball. I write numbers on the balls in different colors 1-5. The girls have to field the ball and call out the color the number is written in. When they get the hang of that have them call out the number written. I use permanent marker and depending on the age I will determine what size to make the numbers.
Hope you can use this drill thanks.
This drill was one of the most helpful drills as a player, and now as an assistant coach. Players can do this drill after warming up their arms, with their partner. One player keeps their glove on, the other takes their glove off. The partner with the glove rolls them the ball. The fielder must get down on the ball, or they will miss it.
They also learn they must get completely in front of the ball, and scoop or “funnel” the ball to their waist.
I coach fastpitch girls at Northwest High School and Northwest Senior League levels, in Southern Ohio.
Our high school and Sr. League team works frantically with this favorite of mine. It allows for each fielder to see nearly 75-100 ground balls within 20 minutes.
You need 2 coaches (if girls are skilled enough let them hit the grounders), 2 crates of balls (25 in ea.), & 2 empty crates to set at designated base.
There are variations we mix in also with catcher throwing to bases.
For this drill we made paddles with straps out of ping pong paddles and stapled a strap on to the back of the paddle. Have the players strap on the paddles and hit them tennis balls on the ground.
This teaches them to go to the ball with both hands and also to have soft hands. It also teaches them to watch the ball all the way to the glove.