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for the NHSACA Convention

SOFTBALL DRILLS mentioned at the NHSACA Convention 1. 3-man bunt drill ... 2 tossers, each with a ball, 1 batter. Alternate who pitches and bunter must
bunt back to the one that pitched the ball.

2. Diamond drill ... Place 4 balls between each base, have 4 girls at the pitchers mound, on GO all
girls run and pick up one ball and throw it the next base. They then run to the center, touch the pitchers mound and run to the next set of balls. Example for one girl: At the mound, I run to the balls between home & 1st, pick one up and throw it to 1st; run back to the mound then on to the balls between 1st & 2nd; pick one up and throw it to 2nd; run back to the mound then on to the balls between 2nd & 3rd; pick one up and throw it to 3rd; run back to the mound then on to the balls between 3rd & home; pick one up and throw it to home and run to the mound to finish 1st. The fielders at each base are now the runners and the runners have a break while a new crew fields balls at the bases.

3. Infield Hustle Drill with the machine at home plate. Equal lines of athletes at 3rd, SS, 2nd, and
1st. Everyone throws to 1st base. With the machine, drop to 3rd, she throws and goes to the back of the SS line; immediately drop a ball to a new girl at SS, she throws and goes to the back of the line at 2nd; immediately drop a ball to a new girl at 2nd, she throws and goes to the back of the line at 1st; make sure the girl at 1st has fielded the ball from the 2nd baseman before dropping the ball out of the machine to her. As they leave 1st, they run around behind me at the plate, and tell me how many errors they have. When they get three errors, they are out of the game and it gets interesting.

4. Outfield Hustle Drill with the machine at home plate. All balls are fly balls because of the rapid
action and because there is an infielder at each base. Everyone else is lined up in the left field out of bounds area ... 1 gal in left field. With the machine, drop a fly ball to left; let her throw the ball to 3rd and start running to center and drop a ball to center and another one to a new girl in left; let the 1st girl throw the ball to 2nd and start running to right and drop a ball to right, center, and left; keep dropping balls right, center, & left; until everyone is in the right field foul territory until everyone is over there and we do the same thing coming back.

5. Rapid fire drill - hit to infielders & outfielders ... anyone can hit 30 balls to each player and they
throw every 5th ball to designated area. Lots of hitting all going on at once.

6. 3 second drill - throwing a lost ball. Stand behind runner, drop a ball into her ankle, gently, she
pivots, locates ball and throws into partner's glove ... she has 3 seconds (counting aloud) to get the ball into the glove. The distance throwing is across the infield.

7. Run bases - jog even, sprint odd, minimum 10, everyone runs. 8. 3 man pivot drill - catch, pivot, throw. Three to a line ... Spread out over your whole field, and do
throwing races. #1 ... just throw from 1-2-3-2-1 and first one back wins. #2 ... throw 3 times down and back for a winner.

#3 ... make them think; 1-3-2-3-1-2-3-1. And whatever other fun throwing relays you can come up with.

9. Free Hitting #1 ... Batter tosses and hits to fielders 10. Free Hitting #2 ... Another player soft tosses to hitter 11. Free Hitting #3 ... Three pitchers and 2 hitting stations off the field left and right, these are
bunting stations.

12. Catch, run and throw drill (follow the ball); triangle to left and triangle to right. Players needed:
LF, 2 2nds, 3rd, 1st, RF, 2 Catchers, and extras split and waiting to go into LF or RF. Here is how it works: You take a ball from catcher on the 3rd base side and hit to LF, as soon as she catches the ball she throws to 2nd who throws to 3rd who throws back to the catcher. As soon as the ball was caught by the LFer, you immedately get a ball from the catcher on the 1st base side and hit a ball to the RF who throws to 2nd who throws to 1st and who throws to the catcher. Each girl who throws a ball, follows that ball and runs to the next position to field. After they rotate in to the catcher position, they rotate to the opposite field. Example of one player: LF, 2nd, 3rd, Cat, run over & stand in the line for RF, RF, 2nd 1st,Cat, run over & stand in the line for LF; Repeat; You as the hitter, just keep hitting balls to the LF and RF and LF and RF and duck once in a while.

13. Second base toss for double play drill. Line at 2nd & SS; start sitting and rolling the ball, back up
to hit with bat from the plate. Throw the ball quickly to every girl at SS and just give them enough time to throw the ball for a double play and get to the back of the 2nd basemans line. First base is a stationary girl. Then throw all balls to the 2nd and give strategy hints while the drills goes. Back up and hit balls.

14. Backhanders - throw to backhand, 25 each-rotate, (2 people, 2 balls) 15. Throw from knees .. warm up drill 16. 3 outs drill, we always play 3 outs before going in for the day. You hit a ball wherever you want
and if it is a hit, still 3 outs, if it is an out, we need 2 more to go in and if it is an error, we need 4 outs to go in. Add an out on errors and subtract an out on outs. I always finish with a very hard hit to 3rd. The team encourages her a great deal to get the ball because we can go home.

17. Catcher full gear and 1st with shin guards. Throw in the dirt in front of each player. Everyone
throws from pitcher area to stations.

18. Around the horn, 4 man teams, timed on 2 laps. 19. Quick release, 2 lines with partners opposite each other, first 2 athletes to 20 win, then rotate
everyone to the right so they have a new partner.

20. Funnel drills--bare handed, then with glove. Throwing then batting. You can also use ping pong
paddles with rubber tubing around the paddle to hold it onto the hand.

21. Infield footwork drill....slide right, left, right, up, etc. Outfielders are running angles back and left
or back and right.

22. Machine hitting: Points for the following #1 you call no pulling allowed; #2 you call only pulling
allowed; #3 you call only line drives allowed;

23. Machine hitting: bunts with bats as boundaries; a good bunt is a single, a bunt in zone 2 drawn
in the dirt and you run to 2nd; a bunt in zone 3 and you run to 3rd; a missed or fouled off bunt and you run all the way around. Each player get only one ball, runs, and back into line.

24. Machine hitting: spray paint some balls blue and some red. Hide the balls when you drop them
in the machine. Batters must: Bunt the blue; Take the red; Hit away on the white balls.

25. Pickle drills ... You throw the ball whenever you want them trapped and work on your coverage. 26. Running drill #1 -- read coaches signs at 3rd (go, stand up, slide). 27. Running drill #2 -- everyone lines up on the line between home and 1st and watches the coach;
they take a lead-off as though the ball has been pitched and if the coach points at the 1st base side they dive back (everyone) and if the coach points to left field they sprint across the infield to the line between 2nd and 3rd. Do the same thing coming back.

28. Defense - 1st throw back, lets it go through. Check to see if your backup player is there. 29. Defense - 1st fielder lets it go through. We are checking to see if our 2nd fielder is there. 30. Ball handling skills:
a. Partners run away from you on go; you throw ball; they locate & catch b. Toss from behind over their head; they locate & catch c. Toss to the side, facing the coach, alt. left or right, they dive & catch

31. Hitting off twirly balls when ground is wet. Everyone wears a helmet. If you drill a hole in a
softball, you can put a heavy hank of rope thru the hole and tie a knot at both end of the hole, next to the ball. You can now spin the rope and use it for hitting practice. Rope must finish six to eight feet long.

32. Signs ... Athletes give signs to each other 33. Indian run drill; groups of 4 jog in a straight line and only the #1 gal has a ball; whenever she
wants to, she tosses it straight up, #2 catches it and becomes #1 and the gal that tossed the ball goes to the back of the line. They jog all over the field.

34. Pitchers pitch to the wall and practice fielding. 35. Hit whiffle golf balls with broom sticks. Use left hand only, then right hand only, and both hands
with full swing. Also put the broom stick behind your back and swing with the hips and the elbows are holding the stick.

Softball Fielding Drills Rapid Fire Infield Drill & Bare Hand Infield
Becky | | Comments (0)

Here are two softball fielding drills I do after warm-up and stretching when we break out into infield/outfield practice. Both of these drills are for the infielders. Rapid Fire Infield Drill

Infielders are at all positions with a catcher on each side of me. Hit the ball to short, who throws to 1st then home. Hit to 2B who throws to 3B who throws home. Hit to 3B who throws to 1B who throws home. Hit to 1B who throws to 3B who throws home.

This is done in rapid fire sequence emphasizing fielding/throwing/footwork. As the drill goes on you can vary where everyone throws to and work on DP, etc. I make sure fielding position is correct and any bad throws cost the player a foul pole. Bare Hand Infield I take the entire infield, except the catcher, and throw them ground balls to catch with their bare hands. Once they field the ball they take their glove hand and throwing hand to their throwing side ear. It has really worked well in getting the players to keep their gloves on the ground and not raise up too early and they have the ball up and ready to throw very quickly.

Softball Hitting Drills Going for the Points

Becky | | Comments (0)

This is the one of the softball hitting drills our kids love the most; we call it Going for the Points. It teaches aggressiveness and confidence at the plate and that, if it is a strike, you need to be swinging. This works equally well for softball and baseball. Going for the Points

Put a full defense on the field 3 kids form a hitting group Coach pitches Each hitter stays up until he either misses a pitch (strike), fouls a ball out of play (strike), or lets a strike go by. If you hit a fair ball you stay up. If you hit a base hit or if the fielders make an error that would have allowed the batter to reach base, you get a point.

Players in the field focus to make the fielding plays so as not to give away points and hitters concentrate on making contact and not letting good pitches go by. Hitting group gets 3 rounds then they go out and play defense and a different group of 3 comes in. Assistant coach or team mom keeps track of their individual points or if the groups are even ( 4 groups of 3) we have group scores. Player or group with most points at end of drill gets a rousing cheer at end of practice and is excused from wind sprints. They love it because it is competitive and they get to hit. coaches love it because they have to concentrate on defense and make the plays; they police themselves on lack of focus in the field and being ready to make plays.

Softball Hitting Drill Bunt Game for All Levels

Becky | | Comments (0)

I use this softball hitting drill for all levels from beginners thru high school.It is a fun way to learn bunting as well as quick hands for the infielders. Bunt Game, Tourney Style! Split up the kids into teams of 3 Use throw down base to make 4-5 fields in the outfield. I make the bases anywhere from 25-40 feet apart. Adjust accordingly to your players abilities.

The defense is comprised of a first baseman, pitcher and third baseman. The offense must bunt the ball between the pitcher and the third base line. You can also set up cones or a string line a little left of the pitcher to make it more difficult for the hitters. Any ball popped up is an out, whether it is caught or not. Any ball to the right of the pitcher is also an out. The third baseman must stay behind the base until the bunter makes contact. The pitcher makes a good crisp throw but must not throw too hard. The idea is to bunt the ball, not strike people out from a short distance. A run is scored each time the offense reaches first safely. No runners stay aboard, their goal is to simply beat the throw at first.

We play 3 inning games and do it tourney style. Every inning, rotate the defense so each kid plays each position once. Be sure to wear helmets. The kids always enjoy the competition and want to do this drill every chance they get. Great for infielders to practice quick hands and an excellent way to get plenty of reps in for bunting. Every year the girls talk about who won the bunt tourney!

Softball Hitting Techniques - 10 Absolutes of Good Hitting

1. A Balanced Workable Stance Good athletes are always balanced even in awkward situations. A balanced stance gives a solid comfortable base to work from, and helps reduce tension. 2. Rhythm and Movement in the Stance Although it isnt always obvious, good hitters always have some kind of body movement in the stance. They are like a car with the engine idling. This allows them to quickly execute movements and shift weights smoother. 3. A Smooth Weight Shift A smooth weight shift from back side to forward side to hit from a firm front side. A hitter must shift weight from back to forward to hit effectively. How smoothly and quickly this is accomplished will determine how hard you hit the ball.

4. Striding With The Front Toe Closed: Striding with your front toe open can pull you out of position, causes your hips to possibly open too much, and can throw off the timing mechanics of your swing. 5. Having The Ball In The Launch Position: Having the ball in the launch position before or when the front foot completes the stride or weight shift. Good hitters have the bat ready to launch before the foot completes the stride. Both movements are separate. They all step to swing as the two movements are separate. 6. Good Hitters Go To The Ball To Hit It: Good hitters go to the ball to hit it. They dont wait for it to come to them. Always strive to make contact with the ball. 7. A Tension Free Swing Is Crucial: A tension free swing is crucial. Tension prevents full extension, causes your head to move improperly, and prevents a smooth swing. 8. Keep Your Head Down And Eyes On The Ball:

Keep your head down and eyes on the ball as you swing and hit. Good hitters see the ball longer. Body balance is the key to being able to do this. 9. Use The Whole Field To Hit: Use the whole field to hit. Hit the ball where its pitched. Lay off the bad pitches. 10. Hit Through The Ball: Hit through the ball. Follow through and get out of the box and sprint to first as fast as possible.

Softball Fielding Tips - Developing a Middle Infielder

By Dot Richardson This article will address the defensive fundamentals for the middle infielders in the sport of Fastpitch softball. It does not matter what level an athlete reaches, she must concentrate on proper execution of these basic skills. The athlete who continually works on improving defensive fundamentals is the one who can build on her performance to reach new levels of success. Before discussing the physical aspects, it is appropriate to first establish the mental attitude. Every great ballplayer possesses the confidence in herself to keep reaching for a level of performance never achieved. As an infielder, this attitude is to get front of every ground ball and to move quickly. These concepts should be a permanent part of your thought process whether it be during practice or a game. If your mind is prepared to play, then your body will simply react. It is then that physical skills can be performed at their optimal level. The essential equipment for defense naturally are your glove and cleats. As my first coach always said, be good to your glove and it will be good to you! Ones glove should be shorter in length than outfielders because as you will see later the ground ball is mostly fielded in the palm area of the glove and not in the webbing. It should also fit your hand snugly. If you have small hands or simply would like better control of the glove, place the fourth and fifth fingers in the last finger slot. The suggestion for cleats is to wear a pair that fit comfortably, and even more importantly, the pair you run fastest in! An important phase of fielding is the ready position. Actually, it is probably the most important fundamental to establish in your game. The ready position is the time when you are mentally prepared for any situation that can arise and physically set to react both efficiently and effectively. When we first begin playing the sport, we hear a familiar voice coming from the dugout, Every one get in the ready position; gloves on the ground. I want to emphasize as middle infielders NOT to put your glove on the ground. The ready position should be one that allows you the freedom of quick and efficient movements. This is accomplished by being positioned at the level in which you run. If you have to lift your glove off the ground then that will be your first movement instead of one towards the ball. As a rule, the closer your playing position is to home plate the closer your glove is to the ground. In the ready position keep your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, knees comfortably bent, and slightly off the heels. It is extremely important that you play the sport on the balls of your feet. This will improve your range and performance tremendously. The arms should hand

comfortably with the elbows slightly bent.

You are now ready to explode toward the hit ball. Your first movement from the ready position is the most important. There is a significant difference in this reaction time between the average and above average infielder. Once the ball is hit, sprint at an angle that would put you in front of it with enough time to get yourself in proper fielding position. It is important to pump both of your arms when sprinting for the ball. There are many players that do not do this while running for a ball and it limits their range. When you are in front of the ground ball, line the ball up a little to the left of the middle of your body. This is because the glove is on your left hand (vice versa for left-handers). The proper technique for receiving the ball is to first position yourself on the balls of your feet, placing them wider than they were in the starting position. The width is determined by the location of the ball. The more the ball hugs the ground the wider your feet have to be and the closer your glove is to the ground. Once the feet are positioned, bend at the knees and then reach both of your arms out towards the ground ball. This reaching should lift your bottom up a little and result in the glove positioned past an imaginary line that exists between your forehand and the ground straight down from it. This may sound confusing but it is a very important concept to grasp. If a ground ball that hugs the ground is rolled to an infielder, the glove should be positioned way out in front of the athlete such that the arms are almost completely extended. The forehead should be seen with the glove properly located out in front of the athlete. This concept of fielding a ball with the glove placed out in front is an extremely important feature for fielding success. It features the advantage of not having to move the head, therefore, the eyes can accurately focus on the ball. Also the glove is positioned far enough in front of the body so the player has enough time to react to an unexpected bad bounce or miscalculation. Believe me, it will make a difference. It creates an ease in defense that adds to your ability to reach new levels of success. When fielding the ball, the glove should be positioned with the palm facing forward. This gives you the advantage of having the glove open for easy reception of the ball. If the glove was removed at this point, both arms and hands would be identically positioned to go on top of the ball immediately after it has entered the glove. As a reminder: when the ball is flat on the ground, your glove must contact the ground! Most fielding problems arise with the timing involved in getting into the proper position. A player may get into position too soon and as a result will be letting the ball play her instead of her playing the ball. More commonly, the player positions herself too late and as a result receives the ball between her feet. A good way to work on timing is to have ground balls rolled straight to you. Notice how you field the ball. Once the ball enters the glove and the throwing hand goes on top of it, stop and

analyze your technique. Notice whether or not you are on the balls of your feet, with the knees bent, and feet positioned wide enough to allow the glove to reach out level with the ball. Your bottom should lift slightly due to the extension of both arms out in front of you. Do not squat when fielding a ground ball! At the point of reception, the ball enters the palm of the glove and as soon as it does, the throwing hand goes on top of the ball! This is crucial for developing consistent defensive performance. Notice the palm of the glove was mentioned not the web. Oftentimes, the ball is lost in the webbing of an infielders glove. There is difficulty in finding the ball which results in poor execution of the play. Remember to get that throwing hand over top of the ball once it enters the glove! If your glove is positioned properly, the ball will enter the palm of the glove naturally. Once your throwing hand is on top of the ball, pull the glove with the ball and the throwing hand on top of it to a position just below your chest referred to as the cradle position. As this is being done, move your back throwing foot (right foot for right-handers) to where the glove was on the ground when you fielded the ball. If you field a ball that is off the ground, step with the back throwing foot to the ground immediately below where the ball was fielded. When placing this foot, land on the ball of the foot with the arch directed toward the receiving target. Pointing the arch toward the target will result in a sideways rotation of the body. When you bring the other leg through, this sideways rotation is completed. In setting up for your throw, before your front throwing foot (left foot for right-handers) touches the ground take the ball out of the glove. Notice the angle that your right bicep and right forearm make with each other once you removed the ball from the glove. This angle is approximately 45 -60 during the entire throw. When your front throwing foot makes contact with the ground: 1) you should be completely sideways to the target, 2) on the balls of both feet, and 3) the angle at the throwing elbow is the same as that developed from removing the ball from the cradle position, while the front elbow shows some extension. The sideways positioning is very important for generation of maximum velocity of the throw. If you find that in the sideways position your front foot points at the target, your hips have opened too early. Opening your hips too soon will eliminate some of the power you can generate. The hips should both be completely sideways to the target when the front foot contacts the ground. This concept not only applies to throwing but also to the rotation involved in hitting. When maintaining the sideways position, it is imperative that you land on the ball of the front foot to

allow the necessary rotation on that foot during the throw. The result of all of this will aide in the development of a good, strong and quick throw. The basic fundamentals are necessary for every type of defensive positioning. The forehand and backhand are considered emergency plays. Remember the goal of every good infielder is to get in front of every single ball that is hit. The forehand play is initiated from the ready position. One sprints at the appropriate angle toward the ball with the intent to get in front of it. When this cannot be accomplished, the glove leg extends out. Next, the glove arm extends toward the path of the ball with the glove leg bending to bring the glove to the appropriate level. Once the ball is in the glove, continue with your momentum for another stride in order to best position your back throwing foot for the throw. You want to try and get your body sideways to the target as much as possible. At the same time, bring the glove and ball up to meet the throwing hand. Then bring both to the cradle position. The cradle position is very important because it allows the infielder to get under control. Once sideways to the target, you are ready to complete the play. The backhand is similar to the forehand play. Start in the ready position. Sprint towards the ground ball with the intent to get in front of it. When it is apparent you cannot properly position yourself, extend your glove leg while moving your glove arm to the balls path. When reaching with the glove for the ball, bend the glove leg enough to allow the glove to get to the appropriate level for reception. Once the ball is in the glove, quickly bring the glove up to meet the throwing hand. Next, bring both up to the cradle position. When the ball is in the glove, make one more step onto your back throwing leg. You want to position it on the ground so that the arch is facing the target. When you do this, it is extremely important to stay at the level you were at when you fielded the ball. If this is executed properly, you will be able to shift your momentum onto the back throwing foot and then transfer all of it onto the front foot during the throw.
On the overhand, if you field the backhand and pull the ball back to you or take one more step onto the back throwing foot but stand straight up, all of your power will dissipate and the result will be a weaker throw.