I see young players often freeze during a [tag]softball game[/tag] when they field a ball. I use these [tag]beginning softball drills[/tag] to get them used to [tag]fielding[/tag], and throwing to first as their immediate reaction.
Drill: Roll and Go
Level: Beginner (mostly with 4-7 year olds)
One player is stationed at home plate with a [tag]softball[/tag], one player is stationed at the pitcher’s spot, and one player at first base. The player at home plate rolls the ball to the pitcher, and then takes off for first base. The pitcher must field the ball, and throw to first to get the runner.
Goals: For the child in the pitchers spot, the rolled ball should be easier to field, and the focus is on picking up the ball and getting rid of it to first base. The first baseman gets to work on receiving throws at first. The runner should work on running THROUGH first base.
Variations: In the very beginning stages, the coach may want to tell the runner, “Go” a few seconds after the roll to make the plays close at first base. As the kids improve throwing to first, they can move back to shortstop to start rather than the pitcher’s spot.
Also, you can make this an outfield drill by moving the fielders to the outfield, and having 2nd basemen and shortstop positions. The outfield should focus on getting the ball to second base (using a cut-off man). In this version, a coach at first base can instruct a baserunner to run through first or round first and go to second. This gives the runners practice at looking for the base coach.
Kids seem to really like this one. Several are engaged on one play, and there is a slight competitive aspect to it.