Dear Softball Enthusiast,

We have had many requests from new coaches wondering where to start with their teams. We believe that regardless of the level of play that you are at, you must start with the basics. We do this using drills. There are so many good drills that it is hard to know where to start, but here are three that we use at every practice.

SOFT TOSS DRILL

1. Have your batter stand beside home plate as usual only facing toward the back stop, so that she will be hitting into the backstop.

2. You stand beside her, about 5 - 6 feet away with a bucket of balls (10 or 12 balls).

3. Begin tossing the balls into the player's strike zone.

4. The batter should swing at every pitch as hard and fast as possible.

5. Keep tossing the balls one after the other so that she must get her bat back quickly. This builds up power, bat speed, follow-thru, and hand-eye coordination.

6. Do this drill at the beginning and again at the end of each practice. It is a good way to get 20 - 24 swings in quickly. It is also a good way to analyze the player's swing. (this works well as something to do as the players get to practice so that those who are on time aren't just standing around waiting for those who are late)

BREAK AND THROW DRILL

1. Have the players pick partners and line up in two rows across from each other.

2. In the first row , each players should have a ball.

3. The other row is receivers.

4. The throwers stand:

*sideways to the receivers with feet spread shoulders width

*knees slightly bent and relaxed (they should be able to bounce up and

down easily)

*shoulders relaxed

*heads should be up

*eyes on target, (receiver's glove)

5. Receivers should stand:

*body squared to thrower

*glove and throwing hand in front of body, chest high, ready to receive

*knees bent slightly, relaxed (should be able to bounce)

*weight shifted forward and evenly on both feet ready to move to catch a bad throw

*heads should be up with eyes on the ball

*feet should be spread about shoulders width and should be moving slightly

6. COACH GIVES COMMAND, "READY!" (check that everyone is in correct

position before going on)

a. Throwers should:

*put the ball in glove in front of body chest high

*be sure that all of previous stance continues

b. Receivers should:

*be sure that all previous stance continues

7. COACH COMMANDS, "BREAK!" (check that everyone is in correct position

before going on)

a. Throwers should:

*bring their arms out to each side of their bodies

*throwing hand should be on the top of the ball

*glove hand should be facing backward like it was taking a picture behind them

*arms should be relaxed, shoulders relaxed, elbows slightly bent

*slightly bent at waist

b. Receivers should:

*maintain stance

*be mentally ready to catch ball

8. COACH COMMANDS, "THROW!"

a. Throwers should:

*EYES ON TARGET

*take a step towards receiver, rolling hip forward

*at the same time, bring throwing arm up over the top of the body

*release ball

*arm should end up across the front of the body

b. Receivers should:

*move feet to bring body in front of the ball

*catch with two hands

*immediately grab the ball from the glove

*hold ball above head and yell, "got it"

9. Receivers now become throwers. Repeat. As the players get the steps down,

(3 or 4 rotations) speed up the drill until it is a continuous motion. Ready - Break - Throw

This drill teaches the correct way to throw and catch. Once you work up to continuous motion you can make a competition out of it. If a receiver misses the ball, both the thrower and receiver sit down. The last pair standing wins. This shows the players that it takes a good throw and a good catch and illustrates the value of team work. Our players love it!

RAPID FIRE DRILL

1. Players line up in a single line (2 lines if you have a coach who can help)

2. The first player in line gets into the receiving position used in the break and throw drill.

3. The coach throws a fairly hard (relative to the ability of the child) throw to the receiver.

4. The receiver quickly returns the throw using the break and throw steps in a continuous motion. *Note: If your players are at a high enough level of play, you should teach them to go from the receiving position (squared to the thrower) into the throwing position (sideways to the now receiver) by using a single hop rather than by shuffling their feet.

5. The receiver then hustles to the end of the line and the next player hustles up to receive.

6. Repeat as desired. You can get a lot of throws in in 5 or 10 min. with two coaches.

This drill reinforces catching and throwing and adds hustle.



We use these three drills at every practice, and others as we feel that we need to work on specific skills. If you have any particular skill that you would like a drill for, let us know and we'll tell you what we use. I hope that this helps you out.

Good luck,

Nancy Hartwell

1. IT'S A GAME; HAVE FUN!
2. ALWAYS GIVE 100%!
3. GOOD PLAY STARTS WITH GOOD BASICS!


1997 hartwell@plainfield.bypass.com


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Remember: When you cannot decide between two courses of action, choose the one that is best for the children. Coaches and parents are a distant second.

1997 hartwell@plainfield.bypass.com
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