Softball Practice Drills – Pitcher Holding a Runner

December 22, 2009 at 1:31 am | Posted in defense, fielding | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To teach the pitcher to hold an unforced runner when fielding the ball. Additional softball fielding tip is to make your pitcher practice fielding batted balls.

Procedure: This drill will need two softballs, a bat, and gloves.  Place a runner on third base and a batter with a bat in the batter’s box. Other players take their positions in the field. The pitcher pitches the ball. To speed up the drill the batter does not swing, but instead as the ball is pitched, the coach throws a grounder to the pitcher, simulating a batted ball.  The batter runs to first. The pitcher fields the ball and before throwing the batter out at first, “looks back” at the base runner on third to make sure he does not advance of the base too far. The pitcher throws the ball to first base to make the out.

This drill should be done during practice the day before a game. The pitcher should wait for the base runner to take a step back toward third base before throwing the ball to first. The pitcher can take a step toward third to “press” the base runner to commit quickly. This drill can also be done with a runner at second base with no force-out.  Players should practice what to do when the base runner leads of the base too far. In this situation, the pitcher should run toward the third-base runner and get him into a rundown.

Fastpitch Softball Drills – Read The Sign

December 15, 2009 at 2:33 am | Posted in Base Running, Miscellaneous | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To practice giving and receiving coaching signs. It teaches the baserunning signs, and it lets players get used to timing their jumps on the base path. Baserunning and reading signs should be part of coaching softball.

Procedure: You will need a softball, two sets of bases,  and gloves. Place two bags at each base approximately three feet from each other around the diamond. This allows twice as many players to participate in the drill. A coach stands in the third-base coaching box. The first two players stand on the two parallel first bases. The coach relays a signal to the players. The pitcher pitches the ball to the catcher, and the base runners execute the baserunning skill the third-base coach indicates. The first two runners end up at second base. Two new runners begin at first base.

The signs recommended in this drill are as follows:
A) big lead upon release of pitcher and hold then run to next base
B) steal the next base as soon as the pitcher releases the ball

*The pair of base runners stealing home should be careful to avoid collisions with catcher. Slow down or stop before reaching home plate.

Softball Throwing Drills – Long Toss

December 8, 2009 at 2:34 am | Posted in Outfield, Throwing | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To develop arm strength and accuracy. This will help develop good outfielders, check these outfield softball fielding tips.

Procedure: Have one ball for each pair of players  and gloves. Divide the team into pairs. Partners should be of similar age and skill level. Players stand facing each other approximately 30 feet apart. Increase the distance as the season progresses. Each pair has a softball. On the “go” command, one partner throws to the other, and when the coach yells “Go” a second time the partners throw the ball back. Players move back 5 to 10 steps after each pair of throws. Coaches should move up and down the line to make sure players are using correct throwing form, specifically the follow-through. When the players are 80 to 100 feet apart or more, encourage smaller players or those who are not as strong to get the ball to their partner on one bounce. A variation is for everyone to try to reach their partners on one bounce. Then try two bounces.

This drill is now recognized as one of the best methods for stren gth-ening a player’s throwing arm. Players should “crow hop” before throwing the ball, to gain extra power for the throw. The crow hop is a small hop that a fielder makes just before throwing, in order to gain momentum. Coaches should monitor this drill closely and ask if anyone’s arm hurts. Players with sore arms should stop the drill. When they’ve recovered, they can build up strength more gradually.

Variation: Players throw to their partners, as in the standard drill, but if a pair makes a bad throw, that team sits down. The drill continues until just one pair is left.

Softball Baserunning Drills – Lead and Run

December 1, 2009 at 4:19 am | Posted in Base Running | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To develop aggressive baserunning tactics. It is important to practice baserunning when coaching softball.

Procedure:  This drill will need a couple of softballs, and gloves. Place a first baseman, shortstop, and third baseman around the infield. A player stands on second base, and the rest of the players line up on the outfield side of ths base behind her. A coach stands between home plate and first base, closer to home plate than to first. The coach throws a ground ball to either shortstop or third base. The player on second base leads off the base, and when the fielder throws the ball to first base, runs to third. The next in line enters the drill. The runner now at third base does the same thing she did at seond base, but this time runs to home after the fielder throws to first. After running home, the player goes to the end of the line at second base.

Teams can scratch out as many as two extra runs a game with aggressive base running. However, this aggressiveness must first be practiced. Therefore, you should schedule this drill for every practice. In this drill, there is no force-out at any base, there is either a runner at second base or third base or both with fewer than two outs.   <p><br>If the grounder is thrown to the shortstop, the runner’s lead at second base should not be as large as it would be if the grounder were thrown, to third. The runner at third base, however, should lead farther off the base if the grounder goes to shortstop and stay closer to the base if the ball is thrown to third. Coaches should randomly alternate throwing grounders to the shortstop and the third baseman.

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