Check out these two softball coaching tips.   The first one is the Paddle Drill which works very well teaching your players how to field the ball quickly.   The second tip is for all coaches experiencing the cutbacks for school sports or just wanting a cost effective means to teach hitting–how to make your own batting machine.

Paddle Drill
One of the softball fielding drills we use a lot is the paddle drill.   It incorporates several key fundamentals into catching ground balls which include:   catching the ball in front of the player, using the player free hand to catch the ball, and soft hands.

The paddle is a flat glove-shaped piece of plastic with cushioning on one side and five elastic pieces of fabric on the opposite side for your fingers.
During this drill each player gets five ground balls.
After each catch the player must crow hop and make a good throw back to the catcher.

Additionally this drill incorporates a quick release with the crow hop after each catch.

Cost Effective Batting Machine
There are many teams that do not have the resources to buy or rent batting machines so I will share with you what I did with my players during my beginning years coaching.

I took worn out stockings pressed them together in the shape of a baseball.   Then I tied a light rope, about 10 feet long, around the end of the stocking and would swing that ball around in a circle at different heights and speeds. My girls would   get their practice swings.

This allowed them to adjust to different speeds and locations of the ball at little or no cost.