Today we’re going to talk about some softball drills that focus on hitting; doing these types of drills is the foundation to becoming a better hitter.
I want to emphasize two important points when you’re doing hitting drills. One, be patient regarding your rate of success; and two, when you’re doing your drills, make sure that you have quality in every single swing.
Side Toss Drills
During side toss drills drill, your pitcher will toss the ball into different zones. For example, the middle zone, and your hitter will work on hitting the ball up the middle.
Once again, timing’s going to come into place here. You hitter should wait until the ball gets into the zone. She should watch the ball come right out of the pitcher’s leg area, simulating a live BP pitcher. Every pitch won’t be perfect. If your hitter does get a bad pitch, she simply should not swing at it.
You can also do a same version of the side toss drill, but incorporate the SB401 short barrel training bat with an 11″ softball. A smaller target area will force your hitter to have good hand-eye coordination.
Always remind your hitters that in order to be successful, they need to stay compact in the swing, have a good athletic position, keep their head on the ball, and do a good job of hitting through the ball upon contact.
For the next version of this softball drill, we’re going to need to talk about two-strike stances.
The two-strike stance refers to when we’re in a game situation where the batter has two strikes. We want our players to feel comfortable in that situation, knowing that they open up their zone a little bit, they widen their stance if they’re comfortable with a little bit of a wider stance, and they shorten their swing. It’s ideal to practice this Monday through Friday so your players feel confident when they’re in that two-strike situation.
For this version of the side toss drill with a partner, your pitcher’s going to put the ball over the strike zone. So the batter doesn’t really know where it’s going to go. Because, as you know, a two-strike stance has to cover a lot of the plate. Because you’re swinging at anything that’s close when you have two strikes.
Remind your hitter to stay compact and balanced throughout the entire swing. When you have two strikes, you’ve got to be confident when you step into the box. When in doubt, you’re swinging when you have a two-strike count. One thing you never want to do is go down looking at a pitch. Once you master this with a bigger zone, you’ll feel very confident come game day.
After you’ve run this variation of the drill, you’ll want to have your hitter do it again with the training bat and smaller ball to work on precision in her hand-eye coordination. A quick tip to remember when you have two strikes: Any time your body has to break down to reach for a pitch, clearly, it’s not a strike. So remain balanced and compact in your swing; even with a large strike zone, you should remain focused on your good hitting mechanics.
With these types of softball drills, the player will have to make a decision and call out the color of the ball as it comes into her zone. The good thing about this drill is it has a number of colors on each panel of the small ball. It forces the player to wait until the ball comes into the strike zone. She then has to call out the color and hit it at the same time. Throughout this drill, the pitcher should toss the ball all over the strike zone.
Many coaches and players don’t have the money to buy the colored balls. In this case, you can simply call out yes or no. When the partner throws a strike, yell out yes; and when the partner throws a ball, yell out no. It forces the hitters to be more focused on the drill and to wait as long as possible before they make contact. It forces the player to keep their head on the ball because they actually have to see the ball coming into the zone.
Do you feel as though you’ll try out these softball drills during your next practice? If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow our Facebook page for more hitting drills and coaching tips!