Teaching fundamental softball skills requires repetition. Proper fielding, batting and pitching techniques are crucial to a team's development and should be honed during practice. As a coach, it is important to stress the things your players can control, such as body positioning, footwork and arm angles. Implementation of fielding, batting and pitching drills in practice can help you address your team's weaknesses on the field, whether they be offensive or defensive.
Items you will need
- Softball field
- Bucket of softballs
- Softball bat
Run the bucket drill to improve your team's defensive fielding skills. Begin the drill by lining players up near third base. You, as coach, should stand between third base and home plate with the balls. One player should be on first base with an empty bucket, ready to catch and deposit the throws from third into the bucket.
Begin the drill by slowly rolling balls to third. Request that your players charge the ball, one at a time, and throw it to first as fast as possible. Increase the speed on your rolls and make the fielders move to the right or the left. Then throw difficult short-hop balls that bounce just before their feet.
Remind your players that the goal of the drill is to try to keep the ball from getting passed them (into the outfield). The bucket drill works best when it is carried out at a fast pace. This requires players to stay focused and will reduce down time. Allow each player to field 20 balls and offer incentives for those who successfully field and throw the most balls to first base.
Pitch batting practice to improve your team's offensive skills. Allow each player to see 20-50 pitches at game-like speeds. Try to pitch a ball at least every five seconds in order to allow your hitters to develop timing and rhythm at the plate.
Advise your hitters to be selective. Do not force them to swing at pitches that are not strikes. This will help them become disciplined batters -- ones that can work the count during a game.
Fix glaring mistakes in a batter's stance. If a batter is not standing with their shoulders square to the plate, it may result in excessive foul balls. In addition, be sure to remind your players to follow through on their swings.
Teach correct pitching fundamentals in practice. Discuss the mechanics of the back swing, push off and release. Practicing these important aspects of the motion will help your pitchers stay balanced and allow them to throw strikes.
Begin pitching fundamentals with advice on stance. Tell your players to take to the pitching rubber with their feet shoulders-width apart. Their hands should be at their sides, with the ball in one and the glove on the other.
Demonstrate the back swing by moving your right arm (for right-handed pitchers) back until it is parallel to the ground. After the back swing, move your arm forward and begin to transfer your body weight from the rear leg to the front push-off leg.
Push off against the front of the pitching rubber to start the long stride-step. Rotate the arm an entire revolution to gain momentum and release the ball as the arm begins to come up. The speed of the revolution will determine the speed at which the ball is thrown.
Demonstrate the entire pitching motion to your players. Have them practice the back swing, push off and release separately before putting them all together. This will help simplify the complex motion and allow them to understand the mechanics.
Hold accuracy competitions in practice to create a fun and competitive pitching environment. Give incentives to players who consistently throw strikes due to proper pitching technique.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images