This is one of our favorite softball teambuilding drills. The players love it and it puts them into actual game time decisions and plays. It encompasses both offensive and defensive portions of practice as well as on deck batter and their responsibility on a runner scoring and a potential play at the plate.
Our players really like this as they can visualize the concept of where to throw the ball and where everyone moves to on hits to different areas with various runners on base. We use it every day.
Example: Scoring from Second to Home and Home to Second
Purpose: To improve outfielder decision making on whether to go for the lead runner or the batter-base runner.
The on-deck batter practices coaching the runner coming home, and pitchers practice backing up home.
1. From home plate the hitter hits balls to all parts of the outfield.
2. The runner attempts to score and the batter tries to reach second.
3. The runner at home starts on the right side of the plate out of the hitter’s way and goes on contact to make the play realistic.
4. The runner at second assumes a leadoff position and then reacts to the hit.
5. The outfielder must choose to throw home or to the second baseman or shortstop covering second.
6. The first baseman assumes the cutoff position. On the hit the pitcher immediately takes proper backup position at home.
7. The on-deck batter moves into position behind home plate, facing the runner and giving hand signals to the runner to stand or slide to one side of the plate or the other.
8. Runners can actually slide or can stay upright and swing wide to the right to avoid any contact.
9. Players rotate. The runner going home moves to the on-deck batter circle (ready to coach the next runner at home) and then joins the runners at home. Pitchers rotate to the pitcher’s mound from the line behind the first-base line.
Variation: Add the shortstop to practice relays on balls through or over the outfield.