I just returned from the first Softball Cruise Clinic and was asked by one of the parents to share information about one of the sessions that I did. It is something that I learned from one of my mentors, Bobby Simpson of Higher Ground Softball. As I previously shared in a post Bobby likes to challenge pretty much everything, and believes that practice should resemble game speed and game situations as closely as possible. One of the most important thing any defensive player has to do is “get rid of the ball” once they have it, and more often then not in a game they are moving and their target is also moving. So this drill session is quite simply targeted at making the girls move and “get rid of the ball.”

You can start the drill with the girls in two lines, both facing forward as partners. One of the partners would start with a ball. They would simply walk forward and they would toss to each other. The partner on the left side would do a sideways toss like a second basemen would need to do to try and turn a double play at second, or a shortstop would do tossing it to third. The partner on the right would receive the ball and immediately try and get rid of the ball by making more of an underhand toss like a SS would make to second, or second basemen would make to first. They simply proceed walking to the end of whatever distance you’ve marked off. On the way back they would be doing the opposite type of toss because they would be on the opposite side. The drill would be repeated at a jogging pace. Then at a fast game speed pace.

You can then adjust the drill so that the partners face each other and shuffle their feet sideways from one of the field to the other making the toss to each other. Again start walking it through, then shuffling faster and faster.

Another progression would be to have the partners jog at each other and make the toss. This forces them to make adjustments for a closing distance as their speed varies. Once they have this down you can do a very fun and challenging variation. Form 2 lines that face each other from opposite ends of the distance you’ve marked off using just 1 ball. First girls in the line proceed to jog at each other and the girl with the ball makes the toss. Once she makes the toss the next girl in her line would then start jogging. The girl that received the ball would then make the toss to that girl as she approached. At that time the next girl in the line she was from would then start. The lines would continue alternating in that manner and the goals can be whatever you want. Every girl makes it to the other line without a dropped ball. There and back without a dropped ball. Complete the drill there and back at a speed that beats some given time to force receiving and getting rid of the ball at a faster game speed etc.

Toughest variation of the drill would be where the 2 lines face each other but they turn backwards. So that they are approaching other back peddling and they have to throw the ball to each other. What you will see is that girls will continue to try and make tosses but when they are both moving in opposite directions they really need to throw the ball and put something on it. They need to judge what the distance will be, and not toss based on what the distance is at the time.

There are tons of variations that you can add to the drills:
1. Toss the ball to lead the player instead of tossing it to her.
2. Popup type tosses that lead the player.
3. Karaoke steps instead of shuffling feet.
4. Hops instead of jogging.
5. Have a coach or player with a helmet walk back and forth between where the players will be going to cause “baserunner obstacles”.

Hopefully you and your players will get something out of these type of active movement drills. Encourage your players to come up with their own variations, because you will find that they can be very creative with this type of activity. Be sure to comment and share those variations so that others (and I) can benefit from their creativity.

Category : Coaching / Training