Working Ground Ball Series
Let’s take a look at the third baseman working ground ball series and working the bunt and the short game, with throws to first base.
It’s a great idea to have your first baseman sitting on a bucket to enforce your player to throw strikes to the intended target. Ideally, you want to have that throw on the inside part of first base.
Let’s look at the ground ball series now with the third baseman throwing to second base. Go ahead and have a ground ball series again, where she’s going to get all sorts of ground balls, and also the bunt. This is so she can work on her footwork and throwing strikes to the intended target.
Now we’re going to take a look at the third baseman fielding all the ground ball series and the bunt with the throws to third base. Have your third baseman practice with hard shots right to her, three-quarter throws, and medium throws. Your third baseman should work on throwing it to the third baseman on the tag side.
The next drill series involves the third baseman making the throw home. She should practice making long throw, the medium throw, and the short throw.
The key to remember as a coach or a player is you have to bare-hand the ball that is moving very, very slowly. If it’s moving any quicker, you’ve got to make that you use two hands to receive the ball.
Fly Ball Softball Drills
The next drill for the third baseman is the fly ball over the forehand side and over the backhand side. Have your third baseman work on dropping back on each shoulder, as well as the side fence catch. Remind your third baseman of the following during this drill:
- Don’t make an L-turn and go out of your way to receive the ball
- Drop your shoulder
- Stay on the correct line of the ball
- Use two hands when you can
Now we’ll finish up with some fly balls right on the side fence. The key to this drill is to make sure the third baseman is comfortable with receiving the fly ball close to the side fence. As a right-handed third baseman, you can go ahead and use your bare hand as an antenna when you get close to the fence.
Many times the third baseman will stop prematurely when she has more room than she thinks. When in doubt on whether it’s staying in the field of play, run to the fence and then come back towards the infield if you have to.
This next drill series is for the third baseman to work on fly ball and fly ball communication. She’s going to work on dropping back on the ball, but also working with her teammate to make sure that they know who has the ball.
As a coach, it’s important they have a communication system in place so all fielders know who has priority over whom.
Make sure your players call ball more than once; preferably at least three times.
Do you, as a coach, spend a good amount of time running these types of softball drills with your third baseman? Which of these defensive drills do you think will improve your third baseman’s playing the most?