Ground Ball Series
During this first series of fielding drills, your 1st baseman is going to work on fielding ground balls left, right, shallow, and working her footwork without actually throwing the ball. After you’ve worked on this for a while, go ahead and proceed into a series where your player will actually be throwing to the various bases.
For the first series (minus throwing), have your player focus on the following:
- Setting her feet in line with the intended base or target
- Rotating around and switching her feet as quickly as possible
After you’ve spent some time on the series without actually throwing the ball, it’s time to amp it up and have your first baseman actually throw the ball to the appropriate base.
Change it up and have your player work on a short throw, focusing on the staying low and making sure that her throwing hand doesn’t go above the shoulder and that she doesn’t cock the wrist.
Next, have her focus on a medium throw. During this, she’ll want to focus on pointing her toes to the foul line, lining up the ball on her load side, staying balanced, and finally releasing the ball.
Once it’s time to move on to the long throw, remind your player to focus on staying balanced so that she keeps her throw inside the baseline, making it easier for the intended baseman to receive the ball.
It’s a good idea to work on having your first baseman first throw to the second baseman (short, medium, and long throws), then have her work on throwing to the third baseman (short, medium, and long throws), then end up with her working on throwing to home (short, medium, and long throws).
Here’s something for you coaches to keep in mind while running these drills:
- Does your first baseman have a weak backhand? Have her focus on working on that backhand until she feels more comfortable with it. If she has a weak forehand, you can have her focus on that until she’s mastered it. Once she has solid fundamentals, then you can mix it up and have her alternate between forehand and backhand.
This set of drills involves actual tags. There are two ways to tag a runner: forehand and backhand.
The forehand tag involves your player tagging the runner with her forehand and catching that runner off the base. Your first baseman should focus on:
- Being quick
- Receiving the ball as quickly as possible
- Her drop step
- Making a vertical tag to the base
The backhand tag involves your first baseman tagging the runner with her backhand; she should be focusing on the same points above for her backhand tag.
Catching the Strike
It’s important to also spend time working on your first baseman’s ability to catch the strike.
Your player should work on dropping back on her forehand and her backhand side. She also has to work on communicating with the outfielder–this communication is key.
Foul Fly Ball
The key with a foul fly ball is to make sure that your first baseman feels comfortable going right up next to the fence. And if she has to, she should feel comfortable moving back towards the field of play.
You, as the coach, should be one to throw these poor throws–you don’t want your other players to practice at throwing poorly. However, it’s important for your first baseman to have sufficient practice catching poorly-thrown or poorly-hit balls so that she’s prepared during game time.
Next step: check out our complete collection of drills for softball defense. It includes fundamental skills, plus game situation drills that involve multiple players.