These are some of the indoor softball drills that we use that helps both hitting and fielding techniques. The objectives for this drill: Batter – line drives to infield, base running with fielders in the way; Fielders – base runner should not be able to get home before all throws are made.
Indoor Infield T-Ball Around
Equipment: 5-position tee, throw down bases, dozen softie balls, bat and batting helmet
Area: ½ Basketball Court
Players recommended: 5-6
Time: 15-20 minutes
Place bases on modified (smaller area) diamond, place 5 players at all infield positions (excluding pitcher – if only 5 players available, have coach play catcher)
One player is the batter who hits off the tee (different tee positions and batter’s box adjustments are used)
Batter uses proper hitting technique to hit ball off the tee. Batter stays at tee for first four hits and runs on the fifth and final hit.
Fielders are instructed to go to 1st base no matter where the ball is hit to in the field. Once the first baseman receives the ball and steps on the base, the 1st baseman throws to 3rd.
Player covering 3rd base (may be either SS or 3rd baseman depending on where the ball was originally hit) makes a tag on the ground (as if a runner was coming from 2nd) and then throws to 2nd base. Player covering 2nd base (may be either SS or 2nd baseman depending on where the ball was originally hit) makes a tag on the ground (as if a runner was coming from 1st) and then throws home. The catcher then makes a tag on the ground in front of the plate on the 3rd base side.
On the fifth and final hit from the batter, the batter drops the bat and attempts to run around all bases and make it home before the ball is thrown successfully around the bases by the fielders.
Batter – by using the proper hitting technique off the tee, batters get better feedback than they do from tee hitting into a net. Line drives are the goal to having a steady level swing. Grounders and pop-ups are a sign of unlevel swing. Using different positions on the 5-position tee gives feedback on where a properly hit inside or outside pitch will end up.
As a runner on the fifth hit, the batter gets used to having the ball in play and a baseman near/over the base when running. Runner is instructed to avoid collisions for safety reasons.
Fielders – because of the smaller diamond size, fielders must be quick to move to field the ball. The softie ball bounces more and fielders must focus more on keeping their eyes on the ball all the way into the glove.
Fielders focus on proper fielding mechanics and throwing footwork to make the initial throw to first. Fielders learn to follow the ball once it’s hit. If hit to 3rd baseman, SS covers 3rd base, 2nd baseman covers 2nd base, if hit to 1st baseman, 2nd baseman covers 1st base and SS covers 2nd base, etc.
Good throws are practiced to each base; good sweeping tags are made to contact the floor/ground. When the batter is running on the final hit, fielders are practicing keeping their eyes on the ball and not the runner. Making good throws with a runner in the baseline.