Special thanks to Stan for sending these [tag]softball drills[/tag] in. If you’ve every struggled with coming up with fresh ideas for a [tag]fly ball softball drill[/tag], you MUST try this out!
Here is a [tag]softball drill[/tag] that I had a lot of success teaching young players to catch fly balls.
Fly Ball Drill
Many players want to catch fly balls in a “basket catch form” (arm straight out and palm to the sky). I converted an old basketball drill to help young players use the correct form. This will build confidence to catch fly balls and use the proper technique.
1. Have the player lay down, with their back to the ground.
2. With their glove on, extend the glove hand straight up in the air, wrist tilted back so palm is facing the sky and a slight bend at the elbow. (By keeping the palm to the sky the ball will not pop out as it would if the fingers of the glove were pointed to the sky)
3. The glove should not be directly in front of their face but slightly to the glove side of their face.
4. Have a coach or parent stand beside the player laying down and drop a rubber ball directly into the players glove. (depending on the age of the player, use a nerf ball, tennis ball or t-ball)
5. Be sure player is using correct fielding technique of two hands (thumb-to thumb) to catch the ball when it hits the glove. When the ball hits the glove the player should squeeze the glove and use the second hand to close the glove, so the ball does not pop out. If the ball pops out, chances are the fingers were pointed to the sky. (Because the glove is not directly in front of the face the player should see the ball all the way into the glove.)
6. Have the player toss the ball back up to the coach or parent’s hand directly above the players face. Repeat step 4 & 5 over and over again by dropping the ball. After the catch, toss the ball back up to the coaches/parent hand in front of the players face. (Have the coach/parent move the ball around so the player laying down has to move their glove to follow the ball and see where it will be dropped.)
NOTE: The reason for throwing the ball back to the coaches/parent hand is for advance catching. Once the player has progressed and can catch the ball from the coach or parent, have the player toss the ball up in the air themselves and catch it. This way the player can use the drill by themselves. At first the ball will be tossed all over the place but if they can get the idea of tossing the ball straight up above their face to the coach/parent, it will come easier.
7. Make a game out of this and see how many catches the player can make in a row. After a miss, start back at zero. This was so popular that during breaks or after [tag]softball[/tag] practice the players were having contests among themselves.
I hope this will help other coaches, it did for my players.