Softball Hitting Drills – See, Read & Explode

April 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose: A former major league hitting coach Mike Epstein liked to say, batters need to “see” the pitch just before the pitcher releases the ball, “read” the spin and location of it while en route to the plate, and “explode” at a strike with an aggressive swing at tbe ball. One good softball hitting tip is to act not react

Procedure:  Have bats plus a brand-new regulation ball. First explain “soft” and “hard” focus. While in the batters box the hitter should first “soft” focus on the pitcher’s head and shoulders. Then when the ball is at the pitcher’s hip she should “hard” focus on the ball just before delivery. Have this theory in every live throwing activity.

Now arrange the group into lines. The instructor should face the team, and go through a simulated pitching movement. When the batter thinks the ball is just in front of home plate, she should make a swing. First, pitch in slow-motion for easy recognition. Second, pitch from the wind-up. Third, pitch from the stretch. Fourth, pitch full-speed. Fifth, add in the fastball. See if the kids can pick up the different arm motions. End with a ninth inning, 3-and 2 count, 2-out, bases-loaded scenario.

 

 

 

Softball Hitting Drills – One-Pitch Boom Bat

March 10, 2011 at 7:43 am | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose: A fun game to reward players and involve coaches and parents. A good softball hitting technique to remember is to focus on proper form.

Procedure: Cones, a large plastic bat, a wiffle ball or other large, plastic, easy-to-hit ball gloves. Divide the players into two teams.

Create a large makeshift baseball diamond marked with cones. The coach can pitch the ball overhand or underhand. The batter must swing at every pitch. If the ball goes outside the diamond, the team gets one run. If the ball is caught, goes foul, is misplayed, or does not reach the outside of the diamond, the batter is out. Therefore, every player can produce only a run or an out. The fielders are not allowed to field a ball beyond the boundaries of the diamond. Because the batters must swing at every pitch, each team gets five outs.

This is an easy skill game that players, coaches, and parents will enjoy. Encourage players to swing for the fences, but point out that sometimes the ball travels farther if the hitter does not swing too hard. Coaches should point out that teamwork and peer encouragement are important in this game, usually this encouragement transfers to baseball games. One of the best things about this game, much like home-run derby, is that players with weaker skills can be just as successful as the stronger players. When a weaker player hits a home run, make a big deal out of it to boost her confidence.

A variation especially appropriate for younger players is to use a beach ball and a tee. Players can also run the bases. Shorten the field and play the game like a home-run derby.

 

Softball Hitting Drills – Pivot Board Drill

November 11, 2010 at 1:33 am | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To develop complete back side pivoting action. A good strong pivot will lead to powerful softball hitting.

Procedure: A pivot board is needed for this drill. A pivot board consists of a thick piece of plywood (approximately 3 feet wide and 5 feet long) fastened to a border or frame of two-by-four. At one end of the plywood a hole is cut out and the cut out piece is then fastened to a “lazy susan” device. The lazy susan is a bracket (sold at most hardware stores) which permits a complete 360 degree turn. The circle should turn freely. These pivot boards are available at several sporting goods stores or through some mail-order companies. You can build your own pivot board at a much cheaper cost, and with limited skills and effort.

Start with your back foot on the circle part of the pivot board. The ball of your foot will be placed directly on the centre of the rotating part of the board. Take your stride and then hit the ball off the tee or the toss from your partner. Your back foot should turn freely to enable a complete back side pivot.

Softball Hitting Drills – Hitter’s Challenge

September 20, 2010 at 3:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Purpose: Hitters are challenged to see the ball and hit it hard. How hard they hit the ball, and where, dictates the points they receive. After learning the basics, softball hitting techniques should be developed.
Procedure: This drill will be needing bats, balls, helmets and gloves. This game can be played either inside or outdoors while using a pitching machine or live arm. The hitter should aim to hit ground balls and/or line drives. Only fair balls count. Issue 7 to 10 swings each.
Hitter Scoring Includes:
10 points: Line drive up the middle. 5 points: Line drive anywhere else. 3 points: Hard hit ground ball. 2 points: Slowly hit ground ball, 1 point: Pop-up/fly ball. Another variation of this game, arrange a fielder at each position (no catcher) and rotate people after each hitter. Both hitters and fielders can now earn points on virtually every swing. Establish priority on subsequent grounders and fly balls. Try to maintain equal at-bats and fielding attempts it the different positions for each of the players. Include both of the scoring systems.
Fielder Scoring Includes:
10 points: Difficult catch of a line drive. 3 points: Difficult catch of a ground ball. 2 points: Routine catch of a ground ball. 1 point: Routine catch of a pop-Up/fly ball.

Softball Hitting Drills – Vision Drill 2

August 11, 2010 at 1:45 am | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose:   To improve pitch recognition abilities. Visualization and tracking is  a big part of softball hitting.

Procedure: Number six to nine softballs with a marker. This drill can be conducted in soft toss or live batting practice environments. The hitter will use solid hitting mechanics to make contact with each feed. After making contact, the hitter will call out the number she saw on the softball, (Number the ball several times to increase visibility.)

Since the rotation will not be as tight on soft-toss feeds, coaches are encouraged to use soft toss when first introducing this drill. As players become more adept at seeing the rotation, progress to a batting practice situation. If the batting-practice pitcher throws with a tight rotation on her ball, players may not be able to identify the numbers. Even so, since they’ll be concentrating on the pitch in an effort to determine the number, the objective of the drill-pitch recognition will be met.

Softball Hitting Drills – Eyes Closed Drill

July 16, 2010 at 4:52 am | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose:  To visualize the ball. To make the swing automatic, developing solid muscle memory. Visualization is a good mental training practice as well.

Procedure: A tee and a few softballs are all that is needed for this drill. Place a ball on the tee and prepare to hit. Once you feel ready and have had a good look at the softball close your eyes. Picture the ball in your mind. With eyes closed, stride and swing to strike the softball.

The Eyes Closed Drill is demanding, so it will be popular with players while refining their hitting mechanics.

Youth Softball Drills – Overcome Batter’s Fear #2

March 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Posted in Hitting | Leave a comment
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Purpose: To alleviate a player’s fear of getting hit by a pitch and to teach a player to keep the back foot planted while batting. Softball hitting will have more success if confidence of the plate is established.

Procedure: One or two wooden two-by-fours approximately 36 inches longer, a soft-covered ball, and a bat. A player takes a natural stance in the batter’s box. Place the two-by-four against the back of the batters back foot. Pitch a soft-covered ball toward the batter. If the ball is a strike, the player should swing the bat. If the ball looks like it might hit the batter, the batter should turn the front shoulder in toward the catcher so that the ball hits him squarely in the back.

Youth Softball Drills, hitting, confidence

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.


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