Are you coaching kids over 14? Here’s a fun high school softball practice plan that will challenge your players and improve their skills.
We’ll start off with a Warmup block, followed by a Stations block. Then finish up with two Game Preparation drills to bring out your team’s competitive juices.
Ready to go? Let’s get it!
Phase 1: Warmup (15 mins)
Dynamic Warmup (5 mins)
Jog & Skip Forward & Backward, High Knee Runs, Carioca, Walking Lunge
If using the infield, simply have the players line up at home plate. Otherwise, you can just place two cones 60 feet apart in the outfield and have the players line up at one.
- The coach will yell ‘Go!” and the first player in line will sprint hard to 1st base.
- Once the player is about halfway down to 1st, send the next player in line.
- To give players a sense of their progress and to make the drill more competitive, you can time players trips down and see who can take the crown.
Players should be focusing on overunning 1st base – not leaping on the base and staying there.
It can also be a good wrinkle for older players to get them used to looking over their right shoulder after hitting the bag, looking for the wild throw and seeing if they should continue onto 2nd base.
Relay Throwing (5 mins)
Split the team into 2-3 lines, spread out so that they have enough distance between them to safely throw to each other. Each player will need their glove, and the first player in each line will have a ball as well.
- The first player in line will throw down to the next player in her line, continuing on like this down to the end of the line and back.
- Players will receive the throw with their glove ready and their weight on their back foot, ready to receive the throw, pivot and throw to the next player in one motion.
- Make it a race! First team to get the ball down and back is your winner!
The player receiving the throw should be showing a target for the thrower that’s out toward the glove side.
With younger kids, it can be helpful the thrower to call out the receiver’s name as they make the throw
Phase 2: Stations (40 Mins)
For the next stage of this high school softball practice plan, we'll split the team up into two groups, then rotate them through two stations for 20 minutes each.
Inside Outside Hitting Drill (20 Mins - Infield)
For this drill you will need 2 batting tees and 2 softballs. Also each batter will need a helmet and a bat of their own.
Set one tee up on the front inside corner of the plate at thigh level – this will be the inside pitch. Place the other tee on the outside in about the middle of the place at belt level – this will be your outside pitch.
This drill is best done with a hitting net or in the open outfield with whiffle balls.
- As the player takes her stride and begins her swing, call out ‘Inside’ or ‘Outside’.
- The player will listen for the coach’s command and adjust her swing accordingly, hitting the correct ball.
- Keep the drill moving quickly – you should have spare balls, and the next batter should be ready to step in and take their swing immediately.
- See which player can make good contact with the correct pitch location the most consecutive times!
It’s important you wait until after the stride to call out the pitch location, as otherwise players will be able to cheat by adjusting their stride to the inside or outside.
Pepper Drill (20 Mins - Outfield)
Have 3-5 fielders spread out side by side in the outfield. The batter will stand facing them, about 15 feet away.
- The fielder will start by throwing an underhand pitch that the batter can hit and control with confidence.
- The batter will hit a soft ground ball back to the group of fielders, who will field the ball before throwing it back for the batter to hit again, with the drill continuing like this.
- If the batter hits a ball that a fielder can’t catch or even just whiffs on a pitch, the batter will take the position of the 4th fielder, with 1st fielder taking the batters spot.
You want to make sure players are focusing on soft, controlled swings, leading to soft ground balls. For this reason, when doing this drill with younger or less experienced players, use whiffle balls or some other kind of soft core softball.
Phase 3: Game Preparation (60 Minutes)
Over the Line (30 Mins)
Split the squad into two equal teams. The team on defense will line up in the outfield by twos, like in the diagram. The offensive players will line up at home plate, with their helmet and bats. You will also need a coach at home plate to throw soft toss.
- The goal for the hitter is to hit a fair ball as deep as they can - anything left of 2nd and to the right of the left foul line.
- Hitter will get points for how far the ball travels. For each “layer” of fielders the ball gets by, the player is award one point. So if the ball was picked up in the infield, the hitter would receive zero points. If the ball were hit all the way out past all three rows, that would be three points. Any ball caught in the air is an automatic out.
- The coach will soft toss to the batter and keep track of score. After 3 outs teams switch sides.
Keep track of the points scored – you should playing this like a full 6 inning game, even pointing out imaginary baserunners to the players throughout.
One player at home plate ready to bat with a helmet, with the rest of the players in the field playing defense. Coach stands in as pitcher.
- The coach will throw pitches to the batter, with the batter attempting to hit ground balls or line drives.
- The batter will stay up at bat until she is unable to hit a ground ball or line drive, at which point the next batter will rotate in and the hitter will join the rest of the team on defense.
- If the batter is able to connect 5 good hits in a row, she must sprint to 1st and make it safe to keep hitting – otherwise, next batter up.
Whichever player at the end of the drill has put together the most consecutive hits without an out is crowned the “Ground Hog!”
Or if you're ready for the fast track, check out Softball Super Stations by clicking the link below...