While [tag]coaching softball[/tag] to my younger girls softball team(ages 11-13), I’ve noticed that if they get behind in the game it is sometimes hard to keep them focused on the game. Here is a drill I like to do to work on just this situation.
Caught in the Pickle
I have a runner at first and a runner at third.
Have the runner attempt to steal second trying to get the pitcher or catcher to throw the ball down to get them caught in a pickle. This allows the third base runner to advance to home. This really works well if the other team is not disciplined enough to not throw the ball.
I challenge the girls to score before the girl gets out between second. If she can get home before she gets out they do not have to run fences. If she does not score before she gets out they both run.
I have the girl start in between first and second with the [tag]softball[/tag] on first base or second base. Or I have a girl start running from home on a hit or walk and instruct them to keep running to second trying to bait them into making a play at second to create the pickle.
This drill teaches the runner on third to stay in the game and not to daydream and to run hard for home. It helps teach her to be more focused on what her responsibility is to score. There are times that the girls watch the pickle instead of running home. It also teaches them that anytime a pickle is on if they can, to advance bases, good drill.
It teaches the runner in the pickle how to slide if she gets the chance and to be quick on her feet. It also teaches the other girls how to perform the squeeze to get some one out. The pressure for them to score gives them real game time pressure so they do not have to run. It also helps explain the look back rule if the runner is coming from home plate to first and the pitcher has the ball.