Youth Softball Drills – Overcoming Batter’s Fear Drill

February 25, 2010 at 12:28 am | Posted in Hitting, Miscellaneous | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To alleviate a player’s fear of getting hit by a pitch.  This drill can be one form of mental training as well for the players to be tough while on the plate.

Procedure: This drill will need access to a chain link fence, a bat, a soft-covered ball.  A pitcher or coach stands on one side of a fence. A batter stands on the other side of the fence facing the pitcher. The distance between the pitcher and batter should be an approximate Little League pitching distance of 45 feet. The pitcher throws a soft-covered ball into the fence. The batter either swings the bat, or she moves away from the oncoming pitch if she thinks the ball would hit her if there were no fence. The coach should throw strikes and wild pitches to keep the batter on her toes.

This is an effective method for alleviating a young batter’s fear of an oncoming ball. Although we teach players to turn into the ball, they can also bail out of the batter’s box. The point of this drill is to teach the players to handle the indecisive moment when they might ‘freeze” at an inside pitch. By repeating this drill, the batter can learn to decide earlier whether to turn or bail.If the ball looks like a strike, the batter should swing. If the ball comes right at the batter, she should turn into the ball so that, if the fence were not there, the ball would hit her in the back or on the helmet. The proper helmet will protect the player’s head and ear. A proper helmet should fit comfortably on a player’s head. It should also be a little snug over the player’s ears.

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Softball Throwing Drills – On One Knee

February 23, 2010 at 11:27 am | Posted in Throwing | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To teach players which parts of the body are instrumental in throwing a softball. This  drill shows that softball players should strengthen the whole body during softball conditioning.

Procedure: This drill will need one softball for each pair of players and gloves. Start by pairing up the players. Players form two lines 15 to 20 feet apart. Players in each line should have sufficient space that they don’t interfere with each other. Players kneel on one knee (right if they throw right-handed, left if they throw left-handed) with the lead foot pointed directly at their partner. On the “go” command, the partners throw back and forth. After a few minutes, the coach instructs one of the lines to move back a few steps. The players continue throwing.

One of the most important things to teach young players is that several parts of the body work together to create the throwing movement. Many beginners falsely believe that only a strong arm is needed to throw a softball. Players must learn that their legs and hips are also important components for throwing the softball. By limiting the body parts used during the throwing motion, young players will get a better understanding of what is essential to the whole motion.

Variations:

The players can do the same drill on both knees to limil the throwing motion to just the upper body. Line up the players side by side and place 5 to 10 cones approximately 30 feet apart from one another in front of the players. See who can knock down the most cones while kneeling.

Softball Baserunning Drills – Home To Second

February 19, 2010 at 8:09 am | Posted in Base Running, Sliding | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To develop baserunning techniques for going from home plate to second base on an extra base hit. Practicing baserunning scenarios is important in coaching softball.

Procedure: This drill will need softballs and gloves. The players line up at home plate. The coach throws a ball, into the outfield between two fielders, simulating an extra base hit. As a fielder is about to field the ball, the coach yells, “Go.” The first player in line at home plate runs to first base, rounds the bag, and turns to second base while the fielder gets the ball and throws it to second base. The next player in line enters the drill. After reaching second base, the player returns home without getting in the way of the drill and returns to the end of the line.

It is important for players to experience as many baserunning scenarios as possible. This increases overall knowledge and appreciation of the game. Players running to first base should pay attention to the first-base coach. When approaching first base on a hit to the outfield, runners should take a gradual loop into foul territory 6 to 10 feet before approaching the base. Runners should touch the inner corner of first base when rounding the bag. This should not be difficult if the player takes the loop into foul territory. A player can be tagged out if he over runs second base. Players should get used to sliding most of the time.

Softball Hitting Drills – Continuation Drill

February 18, 2010 at 11:46 am | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To teach players how to make contact and also stresses on the importance of hitting ground balls. This drill helps polish your  softball hitting techniques.

Procedure: The drill will need batting equipment and gloves. Start by numbering the players from I to 12, assuming that there are 12 players at the practice. Player 1 bats, player 2 is on deck, player 3 is on double deck, and player 4 waits in the dugout. The other players take positions on the field. The coach pitches from in front of the mound. The first batter gets up and stays up for five swings as long as he hits the ball fair and on the ground. The batter is out if he misses the ball, hits it foul, or hits it in the air so that it is caught on a fly. After the first batter is out or has five good swings, the on deck hitter is up. Player 1 gets his glove and goes into the field. The players rotate up, and player 5 comes in from the field and waits in the dugout. The players who made five good swings can have a playoff or get an additional swing at the next batting practice.

Players do not always recognize the situations in which they should shorten their swing. Therefore, practicing this drill regularly can have an incredible impact on a player facing two strikes in a game. In this case, you just have to yell out, “Continuation drill” and the player knows to shorten his swing, which increases bat control. This is a popular and fast-moving drill, and the coach must constantly be aware of the players’ safely. Players should hustle in and out of the field. Players must be in their positions, and the on-deck batters must be in safe locations before the coach pitches. Players should not chop down on the ball to force a ground ball. Compacting the normal swing will suffice. Each player should bat at least twice so that those who made outs in their first attempt will have another chance.

Variation:

Coaches can divide the team in half. The rest of the team goes through the line-up once before switching sides. Award one point each to a player that swings successfully five times

Softball Hitting Drills – Toss Drill

February 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To develop hitting accuracy and form through repetition. This drill will truly help with your softball hitting technique.

Procedure: The team will need a bat, a bucket of soil-covered softballs or rag balls, access to a fence. One player with a bat faces a fence three to five feet away. The coach kneels next to the player on a 45-degree angle The coach tosses the ball underhand in front of the batter. The player swings at the ball and hits it against the fence. The player gathers the balls and puts them in a bucket for the player in the next round.

This is one of the most effective hitting drills because players are guaranteed a lot of swings in a short time.

Use soft covered balls or rag balls that won’t bounce forcefully off the fence toward the player Besides being safer, softer balls won’t damage the fence.

Variations:

a. High and low – This drill is a challenge for youth players. The coach tosses two rag balls from one hand and calls out either “High” or “Low.” The batter must swing at whichever ball the coach calls out.

b. Color ball – The coach has six rag balls. Three are wrapped in white masking tape; three are wrapped in blue painter’s tape. Instead of calling out, “High,” or “Low,” he calls out, “White,” or ”Blue,” and the player swings at whichever ball the coach calls out.

c. Bunting – Using rag balls for bunting is an easy and effective variation. A player tosses the rag ball to a partner in the bunting position, who bunts the ball into the fence. More advanced players can use a broom handle instead of a bat.


Softball Baserunning Drills – Second to Home

February 1, 2010 at 2:38 am | Posted in Base Running, fielding | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To develop baserunning techniques for going from second base to home plate on a base hit, a good drill for coaching softball.

Procedure: The team will need a bucket of balls and gloves. Place a right fielder, center fielder, second baseman, shortstop, and catcher at their respective positions. The rest of the players line up at second base. The coach, located at the pitcher’s plate, throws a ball into the outfield between two outfielders. As the coach throws the ball, he yells, “Go,” and the first player in line runs toward third, touches the bag, and heads home. The fielders try to throw the runner out at home. The runner then jogs back to the end of the line at second base. The next player in line enters the drill.

The “round the base and hold” technique is used if the coach cannot determine whether to send the runner or not. However, if the ball is misplayed on the relay into the infield, the runner, who holds about 5 to 8 feet off third, is in a good position to run home on the coach’s command. Base runners should almost always slide at heme to avoid a collision with the catcher.

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