I found my younger players getting quickly bored with some of our standard drills and they were making fundamental mistakes when just practicing throwing, catching and fielding exercises. We had a particularly bad training session and they were becoming very despondent. I realized they needed COMPETITION!!

Bandana Drill
I prepared 6 blue and 6 red bandanas, wrapped them up and put them into a bucket. When they arrived for training, each one in turn reached into the bucket and pulled out one bandana. These were then their teams. They immediately had that sense of competition and a new determination was instilled in them.

We then had drills where they competed against each other.

Their favorite one was where I gave them a large bucket each, placed half way in the diamond.

They split up with 3 in each team on opposite sides of the diamond. Each one was to take a throw in turn and keep the rotation going until their points total was achieved.
The object was to line up a throw and hit the bucket (5 points) or get it into the bucket (10 points). First team to 50 won.

What it taught them:
Throwing straight and hard.
If they missed the bucket, the throw had to be fielded by their opposite player.
The importance of backing up your team mate – they wasted a lot of time if the ball was missed.
When the bucket was hit, they had to quickly replace the bucket, fetch the ball and get back into position for their next throw.

So – that meant they developed their throwing skills, their fielding skills and backing up all in one drill.

They often continued the game up to 100 points as they improved and just wanted to BEAT the other team.

We let them re-draw their bandanas the following week, so they didn’t always play on the same sides.

Overall, they became sharper and enjoyed the competition aspect.

    8 replies to "How to Cure Softball Practice Boredom – Bandana Drill"

    • Shayla

      My softball team does a game like the bucket one. We put two bats hanging on the backstop and split the team into two teams. We draw a line in the dirt and we stand behind it. Each team throws the ball at their bat. If they hit the bat it’s 5 points and if they hit the bat and it falls off it’s 10 points and we play until a team gets to 50 points. Our team has a blast every time. I really recommend trying it.

      • Jack

        Shayla, that is an awesome idea, will definitely be using it next practice!

    • Cathy

      We modified it a bit because we couldn’t get the idea (until I just read Scott’s comment). We lined up the teams at first and third with the bucket at home. Coach hit grounders to the “live” player on each team (alternating). The fielder got the ball and threw at/for the bucket. They quickly figured out if you charge the ball, you get closer to the bucket and have a shorter distance to throw. So they got the idea of both accuracy and charing the ball.
      Thank you for the great drill, we’ll try to get to the initial version of it next practice.

    • Scott

      I like it. Not sure how the rotation would work, but I think I have a way to work it. Have half the team at 2nd the other half at short. the buckets between 3 and 1st. one team throws at 3rd base said and the other at the 1st base side. one player at 1st and one at 3rd. the player backing up the bucket goes to the cloest base ie 3rd or 1st and throws grounders to the other team. It’s perfect. They have the honers system work perfect for them

      • Becky

        I like it Scott! Thanks for the suggestion!

      • Jason

        Scott I like the sound of this , but I’m not sure if I fully uderstand where they’re throwinf to or from.

    • Jodi Murphy

      A little healthy competition goes a long way! Making a drill a challenge means keeping the players engaged and interested. They are invested in doing well and aren’t just going through the motions.

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