In this article, I’ll cover two of my most effective fastpitch softball drills. You can use these activities with teams of all ages. Make sure to start by demonstrating the skills in slow motion, and feel free to stop the drill at any time to reinforce key coaching points. Enjoy!
Fastpitch Drill #1: Quick Plays
This drill will help players get ready for the ball and react quickly to make a play.
How it Works:
This drill begins with sets of four or five players. One player will be facing a line of the other players about twenty feet away. The line of players should stand about five feet apart and they should each have a ball. The one player shouldn’t have a ball.
Starting on the left, the first player in the line of players will either throw a line drive to the player facing the line or throw a grounder to that player. The one player will field the ball and throw it back.
Then the next player in line will do the same thing and this will continue until the coach blows the whistle and players rotate to the left (with the player on the end of the line becoming the one player and the one player going to the end of the line on the right).
Before receiving each throw or grounder, the one player must get in ready position to receive the ball.
The coach should stress the importance of keeping this drill moving but not throwing the ball too soon. The coach should also make sure the one player is getting in ready position each and every time. The player should be on her toes, with her knees slightly bent, and her feet shoulder width apart.
Fastpitch Drill #2: Handling Five Balls
This drill will help players charge a ball and make a quick play. This drill works best with infielders but it can also be run with outfielders.
How it Works:
This drill can be used for any position. One player at a time performs this drill with five balls and a player to throw the ball to. The balls will be placed ahead of the player and the player will have to charge the ball and throw to a designated place.
For example, for a third baseman you would place five balls between the pitching mound and the third base line. The third baseman would charge the ball that’s farthest on the right, pick-up the ball, and throw it to first. This would simulate a bunt or weak hit off the bat. Once the third baseman throws the ball, she should return to his position and then charge the next ball on the right.
This drill can be run in a similar fashion for any position on the field. Obviously the position of the balls will change and the place where the player must throw the ball might change too.
For example, an outfielder might have to hit a cutoff while throwing toward the plate. (This would simulate the outfielder trying to throw a runner out at the plate after a single.)
The coach should make sure the player surrounds the ball and fields it cleanly. The player should move quickly but still be under control.
If the player somehow looses her balance then she should regain that balance before making the throw or she shouldn’t throw the ball at all. It should be stressed that it’s a tough play to make and the worst thing that could happen is a bad throw that will give the opponent extra bases.
Next step: Watch this free coaching video to learn the #1 fastpitch softball drill every coach should know!