Tag Archives: Softball Drills

Some Awesome Baserunning Tips and Drills for your Softball Team

Winning a softball game does not depend on individual player’s skills, natural talent, or cruel coaching. It does however rely on knowledge of the game, team work, a lot of practices, and drills that involve repetition.

Whether you are a coach or a parent who wants to help children learn the basics of softball, the best place to start is by focusing on base running and various drills. Softball is not an easy sport to learn, but it is definitely a sport that children love. It helps direct their energy into something positive, teaches them discipline, and helps them learn to follow rules as a group.

Some helpful tips to keep in mind while practicing baserunning are:

  1. ALWAYS run hard to/through first base
  2. Turn in after running through the first base to find the ball and look for opportunity to advance
  3. ALWAYS think two bases on a hit to outfield – make your coaches hold you up
  4. Have baserunners work on reactions to batted balls at each base during batting practice
  5. Work on sliding on field/sprint turf fields to minimize wear/tear
  6. Work on sliding to avoid the fielders, and practice using hands to reach the base
  7. Work on getting good jumps by starting your movement during the pitcher’s wind up
  8. ALWAYS think of advancing on balls hit or thrown behind you

Here are some awesome drills for your softball team to help with their baserunning skills – 

3-2-1 Drill

In order to complete this drill, you will need three softballs. Place the three balls an equal distance apart on your practice field. Break your players into two teams. Team 1 is considered the “runners.” Team 2 is considered the “fielders.”

Place one of your fielders on second base with their glove. Choose one of your best catchers for this position. When you blow your whistle, the runner must run from home plate, to first base, and stop at second base before the fielder makes it to the field and throws the ball toward second base.

Each throw must be properly aimed. If the fielder gets a ball to the catcher standing at second base before the runner makes it to the location, the fielders get a point. If the runner makes it to their destination first, the runners get one point.

Not only is this drill a great way to train your team, it is also a lot of fun.

Base

This is a really fun drill that kids typically play as a game anyway. In order to set up this drill, a flat piece of wood should be placed a short distance from home plate. Make sure the flat piece of wood is within the base path.

Place a runner on home base. Hold a tennis ball at eye level. The ball is dropped from this height. As soon as the ball is dropped, the runner dashes from the base toward the ball. The goal is to catch the ball before it has a chance to bounce a second time.

The distance of the piece of wood from the base should be determined by the skill level of the player. As the season goes on, you should be able to move the piece of wood farther and farther from the base.

Beat the Ball

Kids absolutely love this drill. They love it so much, they don’t even look at it as though it is a drill, it is more of a training game. Just like in the 3-2-1 drill, split your players into two teams. Again, your teams are the “runners” and the “fielders.”

Place one fielder on first base and another on third base. Place a softball on a tee. Your runner will hit the ball and run through as many bases as possible before both fielders have had a chance to touch the ball.

For each base your runner touches before both fielders touch the ball, they get one point. After all of the runners have had a chance to go, switch out your teams.

If you coach a softball team in the Philadelphia area, make sure to visit Longstreth Sporting Goods. Here you will find the best softball equipment for your team including fastpitch softball bats, cleats and turf shoes.

Simple Tips to Improve Your Softball Hitting

Dog with Softball equipment-bat

Great athletes have a natural beauty and rhythm to their motion that makes everything they do seem effortless. The control they have over their game, like a good softball hitter with her softball gear, separates them from the average athlete. Softball hitting can be broken into six distinct steps, each one of which you can practice mindfully.

Box Position

Step into the batter’s box with your feet in line, greater than shoulder width. To give yourself more time to see the ball, stay toward the back of the box; to catch the ball before it breaks down or away, move up in the box.
Flex your knees, keep your elbows in, and ready yourself for the pitch. Generally, think fastball and adjust your bat speed down for other pitches, but be open to advice from your hitting coach or manager.

Grip

Grip the bat lightly to give your hands quick muscle movement. Start with the bat on the second joints of your fingers, curling your fingers around. Keep the bat handle out of the palms of your hands. Wrap your fingers of both hands around the bat and line up your second knuckles, eight in a row. If that is uncomfortable or feels unnatural, you can rotate your grip so the third knuckles of one hand align with the second knuckles of the other (a box grip).

Swing

The largest muscle groups in your body are in your legs, so use them to power the bat around and send the ball 300 feet. Push off with your legs to connect. Your legs, though, are the sturdy foundation for movements elsewhere:

  1. back foot turning
  2. hips rotating
  3. shoulders turning into the swing

If everything is moving into and through the swing, you should end up with your body loosely and comfortably twisted, watching the ball streak away with your feet still on the ground.

Contact

Contacting the ball with the bat differs by pitch:

  • Down the middle—make contact straight out from the leading hip
  • Inside pitch—must be hit more in front of the center of the body
  • Outside pitch—contact is made from the body’s center to the back hip

Contact should be level, so you are hitting the ball as close to its center as possible, even if your intention is to drive it up or down.

Follow-through

Follow-through means full arm extension, then continuing your swing around. Wrists roll and the swing ends with both hands near the front shoulder, your head aligned to your back shoulder (your chin is above the shoulder).

Attitude

Finding your comfort zone with hitting means practice and more practice. You are honing your swing and stance so that everything feels loose and easy as you step into the box.
Avoid over-thinking the whole choreography of hitting. By training repeatedly, you condition your muscles and gain instinctive proprioception (awareness of body position) so on game day you can step in, assume your proper stance, and swing away without consciously thinking about any of it.

Once you have matched the right softball equipment—helmet, gloves and bat—to the player, your bat becomes an extension of your body. For the finest in fastpitch bats and player equipment, step into Longstreth, and we will help you step into the batter’s box with confidence.