Stand facing a wall or fence gauging the proper distance by placing the knob of the bat against the belly button and the end of the bat against the wall or fence. With a normal stance and stride, and without moving back from the wall or fence, the hitter takes her normal swing. This drill emphasizes that the hitter must rotate her hips ahead of her hands and pull the knob of the bat through the hitting zone before extending the arms in front of home plate. Hitting the wall or fence with the bat means hitter is sweeping (i.e., extending the arms too soon).
Kneel on the left knee next to a batting tee. Place the knob of the bat against the belly button and the end of the bat against the tee. Using only that distance, execute the hip turn and swing without the barrel of the bat hitting the tee.
One Hand Off Tee
Kneel on the left knee parallel to the tee. Take 25 swings with the forehand and 25 swings with the backhand. Work on keeping the hands in and drawing a line across the chest as the hands take the bat to the ball.
Place a ball on the tee at hip height. Have the hitter take a normal batting stance, but place the bat behind her hips with her arms holding it in place. Have her pivot and knock the ball off the tee. This teaches the proper hip rotation and an explosive turn.
Knob of Bat to Tee
Place a ball on the tee. Set up properly with stance and hands. Take the knob of the bat to the ball on the tee, hit the ball with the knob, and then follow through with the swing. This emphasizes proper hand movement and a short compact swing.
Double Tee Drill
Set one tee in front of the plate; set the other behind the plate and two inches higher. Have hitter take proper stance, except farther back from the plate than normal in order to hit the ball in front of the plate. Place ball on front tee and hit the ball without disturbing the back tee.
Inside-Outside Double Tee
Hitter sets up in normal stance in front of double tee. Place one ball on inside corner in front of plate and another ball outside and in middle of plate. Tell batter to hit one ball or the other without changing her hitting position.
One Hand Toss
If right handed, hold the bat in the left hand in the ready position. Toss a ball up and out front with the right hand and draw a line across the chest as the hands move to the ball and drive it. This forces the hitter to keep her hands in and to execute a proper swing. Reverse for left handed hitters.
Coach takes a position in front and to the side of the hitter. Using any of various size whiffle balls, toss ball out in front of the hitter, using little arc, and observe mechanics. Make sure the hitter is striding and pivoting correctly ("squashing the bug"); rotating the hips with an explosion to the ball; unlocking the shoulders, elbows and wrists in sequence while throwing the hands straight to the ball; watching the ball to the bat; and following through after contact.
High-Low Soft Toss
Set up in the same manner as soft toss, only the coach throws two balls into hitting zone and then calls out which one to hit -- either "high" or "low." This forces the hitter to wait until the last minute to start swing. Another way to stop "cheating" is to place a ball in each hand and rotate them before tossing one up. Player is never sure on which rotation the ball will be coming.
Hitter sets up as in soft toss. Player or coach stands on bucket, chair or milk crate and drops ball into hitting zone. Forces batter to take hands straight to the ball. Batter should not move prior to release of the ball. Vary releases to keep batter from cheating.
Toss From Behind
Hitter sets up normally for soft toss, only coach tosses ball from behind the hitter. Coach can use tennis balls or regular softballs for this drill. This drill forces the hitter to wait until the last second to start swing and reinforces the quick, compact swing.
Bunting and Slap Hitting
Players get into groups of three or four. One player pitches, one hits and one or two field. Position players at a distance of 15 feet and practice bunts, drag bunts from left side, and fake slaps that turn into bunts. Move players back to 30 feet and practice slap hitting from the left side.
Coach walks slightly in front and to the side of hitter and bounces tennis ball into the hitting zone. Hitter must load up and swing while walking. Bounce 3 or 4 balls before switching batters or returning to start area. Drill can start by using a regular size bat but then progress to using a smaller (or stick) bat.
Rear Wall Swing
Have hitter stand so fence or wall is directly behind her. Have her take normal swing. If the bat hits the wall, she is dropping her hands or sweeping. Use the wall or fence drill in the batting cage or in soft toss to get instant feedback on whether a player is dropping her hands.
Basketball - Cone
Have hitter set up as in any tee drill, but use a highway or construction cone and a deflated basketball or soccer ball. Batter should take a normal swing and follow through using a regular sized bat and wearing a helmet.
Players pair up. Player 1 runs at full speed with player 2 running backwards, in front of her, applying resistance to her shoulders. Players run about 100 feet and then reverse positions. Continue until all players have performed drill at least four times.
Explosive Start #1
Players line up at first base. A pitcher performs her motion and, using a rocker start with right foot on outside corner of the base, the first player times her start to the pitcher's motion. She should lift her back foot as the pitcher's arm is at the top of her delivery. Repeat at least five times per player.
Explosive Start #2
Players line up along first base line and simulate the rocker start. On signal, players take three steps towards "2B" and turn to look at "batter." After hesitation, during which players use a sidestep motion, they use crossover step to explode towards second base as the "batter" hits the ball or a passed ball occurs.
Runner is in rocker start position at a base. Coach is in basepath holding tennis ball at eye level. As the ball is dropped on a piece of flat wood, the runner leaves the base and attempts to catch the ball before it bounces off the wood a second time. Slowly increase the distance as players get quicker starts.
Out of the Box
Batter stands in batter's box to take a normal swing. Coach is in the basepath holding a tennis ball at eye level. As the bat enters the hitting zone, the coach drops the ball on a piece of flat wood and the player runs out of the box to catch the ball before it bounces a second time. The player should drive the right elbow back and outside the hip to initiate her running and she should drop the bat with the left hand.
3 - 2 - Running
Form teams of two; place 3 balls equal distance apart about ¾ of the way from 3B to home. Place fielder on 3B (one foot on bag) and 2B (team 1). Have runner (team 2) at home (one foot on plate). On signal, runner runs to 1B then 2B. Player at 3B runs to balls and must throw all 3 to 2B before runner gets there to get 1 point; player at 2B must catch balls without foot leaving 2B. Otherwise, running team gets point. Rotate fielders for second runner. Then runners become fielders; next team becomes runners.
Stand with feet apart facing the catcher. Extend the throwing arm straight down with palm forward. Without moving arm, snap the wrist toward the catcher and release the ball. Repeat 15 times. Glove hand can be placed in front of pitching arm to keep it from moving.
Stand in stride position. Extend throwing arm to rear, parallel to the ground, and glove arm forward, parallel to the ground. Pull down the throwing arm and glove arm and release the ball with a full wrist snap. Do not stride, but shift weight slightly to the stride leg and close hips towards the catcher after release. Allow throwing arm to follow through to bent release position. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
Stand in stride position but with legs closer together than for Pull Down. Hold ball directly overhead with arm comfortably extended, and extend glove arm towards the catcher. Pull down the throwing arm to the release point while striding forward along the power line towards the catcher. Release the ball with a full wrist snap, pulling glove arm behind the body. Complete a full follow through while dragging the pivot foot forward. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
Stand in release position. Raise stride knee off the ground (thigh parallel to the ground and calf perpendicular to the ground). Balance weight on the pivot leg. Extend throwing arm over left thigh and knee, and glove arm over throwing arm. Push glove arm and throwing arm towards catcher while pushing out with stride leg. Perform full arm circle while striding forward. Release ball, complete full follow through. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
For pitchers who are not maintaining a good arm circle along the power line, position in stride position next to a wall or fence. Perform full arm circle three times before simulating release of the ball.
Arm Circle Drill
For pitchers who are not extending arm properly during arm circle, position in stride position facing catcher. With glove and hand pointed towards catcher, perform three arm circles before releasing ball to catcher and following through. Repeat until proper arm circle is achieved and then return to using full motion.
Pitching into Glove
Stand in stride position with glove open next to left thigh. Wrist Snaps, Pull Downs, "K" Drill, Arm Circle Drill, and full motion can be performed with ball released into the glove. Have pitcher follow through to bent arm position after releasing the ball. Use a sock ball or other soft ball to perform these drills indoors.
For pitchers who can't keep weight back during stride. Set up to pitch in front of wall and perform full motion without releasing ball. Also, coach can hold rubber surgical tubing around the pitcher's waist to help her keep her weight back. Also can have pitcher stride onto inside toe area and not drop heel until after pitch is released.
Step Back - Arm Circle
To help a pitcher keep her weight back, have her stand in stride position and perform a full arm circle drill. With glove and hand pointed towards catcher, have her perform one arm circle, driving the back knee in to the front knee at ball release. She should immediately take a step back with the back leg giving her a sense of falling back. She should fall back along the power line or she was off balance at ball release.
Weight Back - Full Motion
To help a pitcher keep her weight back, have her deliver a pitch at 75% speed driving her back knee into her front knee and holding that balanced position until the catcher returns the ball.
Players pair up and kneel with both knees on ground 5 yards apart. Players support throwing elbow with glove and, using only wrist action, throw to each other for desired period.
Players pair up and kneel on ground 10 yards apart. Right handed players kneel on right knee with left leg out front. Players throw to each other for desired period, then move another 5 yards apart. Emphasize proper shoulder turn, hip turn, and follow through. Continue moving apart and throwing for desired period of time and distance apart.
Players pair up and stand sideways facing each other at a 90° angle and 10 yards apart. Players throw to each other using only shoulder and hip turn -- no stride. Players throw to each other for desired period, then move another 5 yards apart. Continue moving apart and throwing for desired period of time and distance apart.
Players pair up and throw to each other. Players must be moving forward and through the ball when they catch it and must be in position to throw quickly to partner. Emphasis should be on catching the ball with stride foot forward so a quick throw can be made. Players must back up quickly after each throw so that proper distance can be maintained between them. Players should move apart in 10 foot increments after an appropriate number of throws are made. Players can also throw grounders to each other.
Throwing on the Run
Form two lines at opposite ends of workout area. First player from one line, with ball held up, runs toward first player in opposite line. At midpoint between lines, she throws the ball to the receiver and runs to the end of the receiver's line. The player receiving the ball puts a tag on "runner" and then runs toward first player in opposite line. At midpoint between lines, she throws the ball to the receiver and runs to the end of the line. Continue until everyone has performed at least four throws. Helps players overcome tendency to throw high in this situation.
Stationary Ball Throw
Players form a line about 20 feet in front of coach. Each player has a ball. First player throws her ball to the coach who places it on the ground. Player runs to ball, picks it up and throws to player 60 to 90 feet away. Player receiving the ball keeps it and runs to the end of the line. Player throwing the ball runs to the receiver's position. Vary the direction of throws.
Drill used to practice backhand and underhand throws. Players form a circle around a single player in the middle. Player on circle throws underhand to player in the middle and follows her throw to the center of circle. Player in the middle throws backhand to next player (clockwise) on the circle and follows throw. Player receiving the ball throws underhand to new player in the middle who throws backhand to the next player on the circle. Try using two balls at opposite ends of the circle and two players in the middle.
Three or more players are spaced up to 50 feet apart from each other. Players make relay throws to each other being sure to turn towards the glove side as they throw to the next player in line. Turn this into a game by awarding prizes to the team that performs the fastest.
Five players are positioned at normal infield positions. Catcher throws to shortstop. Shortstop throws to first baseman. First baseman throws to third baseman. Third baseman throws to second baseman. Second baseman throws to catcher.
Variations: start a runner at home and try to get her into a rundown between home and 3B or between 3B and 2B after making all five throws.
Around the Horn
Players are positioned at their bases with both shortstop and second baseman at 2B. Catcher throws to third baseman who throws to second baseman covering 2B; second baseman throws to first baseman who throws to catcher. Then repeat in opposite direction with first baseman throwing to shortstop covering 2B. Each player applies a tag to "runner" before throwing to next player.
Players are positioned at respective bases. Throws are made in the following order: catcher to 1B; 1B to 3B; 3B to 2B with second baseman covering. Second baseman throws to catcher who throws back to 2B with shortstop covering. Shortstop throws to 1B; 1B to 3B; 3B to catcher. Each player applies a tag to "runner" before throwing to next player.
Position players in two lines: one line at midpoint between 1B and 2B and one line between 2B and 3B. Two coaches hit balls from opposite sides of home plate. One player shags balls for each coach. Hit three balls to first fielder who throws to shagger. After third grounder, fielder moves to shagger (running around other coach/hitter) and shagger moves to the end of the opposite fielding line. Mix in line drives and pop ups as drill progresses.
Position players in two lines in outfield about 30 feet apart. Put one player in relay position and one player as shagger. Hit fly balls between first two players in line and have them call for the ball while the other backs up the play. Player in right line moves to the end of the left line; player in left line moves to relay position. Player in relay position moves to shagger; shagger moves to the end of the right line.
Lateral Movement #1
Place six balls in a row, each ball 10 to 15 feet apart. Put 3 to 5 players in defensive positions in a line between balls 3 and 4. The players use a cross-over step to first ball on the right, return to starting position, pause, then use cross-over step to the first ball on the left. They continue in this manner until all balls have been covered. Bring in new group of players and repeat drill as long as necessary.
Lateral Movement #2
Position 6 to 8 tossers (with a ball each) in a row with each tosser 10 to 15 feet apart. Position a receiver up to 50 feet in front of tosser 1; tosser 1 throws a grounder to receiver who throws the ball back to tosser 1 and gets back into defensive position. Tosser 2 throws a ground ball to the receiver's right who moves laterally to field the ball and throws back to tosser 2. After last tosser, receiver reverses direction and then takes the last tosser's position. Tosser 1 becomes the receiver. Vary by throwing line drives and soft flies.
Lateral Movement #3
Have players pair up. One player assumes fielding position about ten feet from wall. Partner stands behind player and throws ball against wall so that player must move laterally to catch the ball. Tosser should work the player from side to side for two or three minutes. Rotate positions and continue through several rotations.
Lateral Pick Up
Players pair up with each standing about 6 to 10 feet apart. Tosser rolls ball about 5 to 6 feet to the right of the fielder who moves laterally to field the ball and throw it underhand back to the tosser. Tosser then rolls the ball 5 to 6 feet to the fielder's left and continues in this manner for 5 to 10 repetitions before players exchange positions. Be sure fielder follows underhand toss before getting back into fielding position.
Players line up in left field. Tosser 1 stands between 2B and 3B, tosser 2 behind pitcher's rubber, tosser 3 between 1B and 2B. Tosser 1 has ball bucket and throws short fly to 1st player who catches the ball running in and throws it back to tosser 1. Player then runs toward CF and catches a fly over her shoulder from tosser 1. Player throws ball to tosser 2, runs in for short fly, returns ball to tosser 2 and then runs toward RF for long fly, throws the ball to tosser 3 and repeats sequence with tosser 3. 2nd player starts drill as soon as 1st player makes throw to tosser 2. When all players are in RF, repeat the drill in the opposite direction.
Two or more coaches stand against one wall; players line up at one end of the room along opposite wall. First player runs laterally along wall; 1st coach throws a ball she has to stretch for. Player stops quickly, pivots, and throws back to coach then moves laterally to receive throw from next coach. Players form new line at the other end of the room. Reverse direction after all players have moved to opposite end.
Position one player 60 feet in front of player/hitter; position shagger to the right of the hitter (or left, if left-handed hitter). Form as many groups of three as desired; have some groups hitting grounders in the infield and others hitting flies in the outfield. Have hitter hit 10 grounders or 10 flies to the fielder, then rotate -- fielder becomes shagger, shagger becomes hitter, hitter becomes fielder.
Players form lines of 3 or more facing a tosser who is 50 to 70 feet away. Tosser throws a grounder so the player must charge to the midpoint to field the ball before throwing it to the tosser and going to the end of the line. Outfielders can be positioned 90 feet from tosser and perform the drill in the same manner. For outfielders, emphasize dropping to one knee on routine grounders to ensure the ball does not get past her.
Fly Ball Pass #1
Players pair up standing side by side. The receiver runs out about 15 feet and the tosser leads her with a fly ball so that she has to catch the ball over her left shoulder. After quickly getting set and throwing the ball back to the tosser, the receiver runs back to the starting position. Continue with 4 more throws that increase the distance by 15 feet each time. Switch positions. Then switch again to perform the drill with throws over the receiver's right shoulder.
Fly Ball Pass #2
Players with one ball each form a line of 3 or more next to a tosser. The first player hands her ball to the tosser and runs out to catch a ball over her left shoulder. After the catch, the receiver sprints back to the end of the line. After 5 or more repetitions, switch to throwing the ball over the right shoulder.
Put 3 players in a line, evenly spaced, 50 feet apart. Player on one end turns her back to the others, rolls her ball out in front, runs it down, and turns to throw to the player in the middle who relays the throw (turning to the glove side) to the player on the other end. Player receiving the ball turns her back and repeats the drill. After 6 throws, the player in the middle rotates with a player on an end. Drill continues until each player has been in the middle a specified number of times.
Drill has as many tossers as the side fence or wall area allows. Players form up in groups of two or more. Player stands 20 feet from the fence or wall and the tosser throws a pop up close to the fence/wall. Player locates fence/wall using outstretched arm, then comes back to catch the ball. Players rotate after 5 catches each. Be sure players switch directions so they have to find the fence from both the glove hand side and throwing hand side.
Put fielders in defensive positions and have two tossers throw fly balls and pop ups between them. Fielder going back should normally go for the ball until called off by a fielder coming in. Fielder going back should only call for the ball when she is certain of the catch. On balls hit between the outfielders, the centerfielder is in charge. On balls hit between the shortstop and second baseman, the shortstop is in charge. Pitcher yields to all infielders.
Fly Ball Over the Head
Players form a line about 15 feet in front and to the right or left of the coach. First player in line steps out to face the coach who throws a ball over her head and to one side. Player must take a drop step and run to the ball. Be sure the player runs with her glove down and put emphasis on running to the spot instead of drifting to the ball. The player should be in a position to throw the ball once the catch is made.
One Knee Throwing
Two catchers kneel 30 feet apart on their left knees. After throwing the ball back and forth for a few minutes, they move apart 10 more feet. Continue throwing and moving back until the throws equal the distance from home to second base. Emphasize proper shoulder and hip turn to gain strength. Drill can be done with catchers kneeling on both knees as well.
Catcher 1 throws tennis balls, incrediballs, or softballs from 20 to 30 feet to catcher 2. The balls are thrown high, low, inside, and outside. The balls should be thrown close enough to the "plate" so that foot movement is not necessary. Catchers should practice framing the pitch.
Catcher 1 throws tennis balls, incrediballs, or softballs from 20 to 30 feet to catcher 2. The balls are thrown inside and outside, high and in the dirt. Catcher 2 takes jab steps to the left and right attempting to get the middle of the body in front of the ball. If using softballs or incrediballs, catchers should be in full gear.
Catchers position themselves 60 to 70 feet apart. Catcher 1 squats with ball in glove, then simulates a catch and throwdown to 2B. Catcher 2 blocks the "plate" as she receives the ball and applies the tag as if a runner is trying to score at home plate. Catcher 2 then squats with ball in glove and simulates throwdown to 2B. Continue for 10 to 15 minutes.
No Hands Blocking
Two catchers in full equipment stand about 20 to 30 feet apart. Catcher 1 throws balls in the dirt to the left, right and in front of "home." Catcher 2 practices blocking the wild pitches with shin guards and chest protector using proper technique and footwork only.
Put catchers or other fielders at each base. Put six balls in front of home plate. First catcher pops up, fields "bunt" and throws to 1B, 2B, and 3B, in turn, returning to the defensive position after each throw. Repeat second set to each base and then rotate to next catcher.
Place two or more runners with helmets at 1B and 2B. Put two or more shortstops in position with second basemen as backups optional. Put a pitcher on the mound. On the release of the pitch, runner on 1B tries to steal 2B and catcher 1 tries to throw her out. Everyone returns to positions. On the next pitch, runner on 2B tries to steal 3B and catcher 1 tries to throw her out. Repeat several times and then rotate catchers and shortstops.
Tag Play at Home
Place one or more catchers at home and three to six outfielders spaced evenly around the outfield. Give each outfielder one ball. First outfielder rolls ball a few feet in front, picks it up and makes a strong throw to home with catcher 1 simulating a tag; outfielder should end up at the edge of the outfield grass after throw. Catcher then squats facing outfielder and rises to throw ball simulating a long throw to second base. After each outfielder has thrown one ball, catchers rotate. Drill can also be performed with infielders at their positions.
Pick Off Play
Put infielders and pitcher at their positions and 3 or 4 runners at 1B and 3B. Pitcher pitches ball to catcher; on release of pitch, runner on 1B takes aggressive lead while second baseman breaks hard to 1B. Catcher tries to pick off runner. Shortstop covers 2B; runner attempts to dive back to 1B or breaks to 2B and gets into a rundown. Repeat with runner on 3B with shortstop covering. First baseman and third baseman should play well in front of the bag so runners are enticed to take bigger leads. After 4 throws, rotate catchers.
Foul Ball Communication
Put catcher, pitcher, first baseman and third baseman at respective positions. Coach is positioned behind catcher. Coach throws a pop up behind catcher. Infielders call "up 1" if towards 1B, "up 3" if towards 3B, "up" if ball is straight over home, and "back" if ball is straight back. The coach can substitute other calls if desired.
Put infielders at their defensive positions. Put three to six outfielders with one ball each, evenly spaced 10 to 20 feet beyond the edge of the outfield grass. Pitcher (or first baseman) moves to cut-off position in front of outfielder 1 who throws ball on a line to home. Catcher yells "cut" and the base number to tell the cut-off to throw to a base (e.g., "cut 2"). Catcher says nothing if she wants the ball to come through. Continue until each outfielder has thrown three balls. Rotate catchers.
Catcher Flip to Home
Put catcher behind plate with six balls evenly spaced at backstop distance. On signal, catcher goes to first ball and flips it to the pitcher or first baseman covering home. Catcher returns to plate and runs down remaining balls in turn. Catcher should retrieve ball with bare hand and flip it in one motion along the ground so the player covering home can apply the tag smoothly. Emphasize pitcher/first baseman's positioning as much as catcher's technique.
1st and 3rd Situation #1
Place runners with helmets at 1B and 3B. On pitch release, runner steals 2B. Second baseman moves to a position halfway between 2B and pitcher's rubber. Shortstop covers 2B; third baseman covers 3B. Catcher looks at 3B and throws there or to 2B if runner stays close to 3B. Second baseman watches runner on 3B; if she moves off base enough to get out, second baseman cuts and throws to 3B. Second baseman cuts off-line throws. She fakes catch and throw to 3B if she allows ball to go through.
1st and 3rd Situation #2
Place runners with helmets at 1B and 3B. On pitch, runner steals 2B. Second baseman should move to cut-off position and shortstop covers 2B; third baseman covers 3B. Catcher looks at 3B and throws there or to pitcher if runner stays close to 3B. Pitcher looks at runner on 3B; if she moves back to 3B, pitcher turns to look at runner going to 2B and throws for the out if there is a play. Key is for catcher to make aggressive throw to pitcher to tempt runner on 3B to break to home. If pitcher turns toward 2B, but makes no attempt at play and runner on 3B steps off the base, she is, by rule, out.
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Vienna Girls Softball League