Here’s some basic Fastpitch Softball – Basic Fielding Softball Drills
Everydays – Drill
Focus on glove work, good fundamentals of fielding, hand-eye coordination
Begin by having partners line up five feet apart. Have them roll groundballs to each other. The fielder should set up in a triangle position (knees bent, shoulders over knees, elbows inside knees, hands out in front, palms up).
Next, have the partners bounce short hops to each other. The fielder should set in a center stance. From this position, she should practice backhand, forehand, crossover backhand and jab-step backhand catches.
The Bulldogs spend 10 to 15 minutes on these drills in every practice, hence the name. The infielders work in pairs and focus on good glove work. The drill uses baseballs and nine-inch kiddie gloves.
“The small object makes them focus, so when they see that softball (in games) it will look like a watermelon,” Sheppard said.
This drill gives the fielder lots of repetition in a short amount of time and forces her to focus on correct glove angle and movement.
“We try to get them in all the different positions they’re going to be in (during a game),” Sheppard said.
Beginner’s Ground Ball Drill
Roll grounders to infielders to get them comfortable with the basic mechanics before you start hitting ground balls at them. Line up the infielders at the desired spot on the diamond — the usual second base position may be a good place to start because they’ll have a short throw to first. Roll a grounder to each infielder, who handles the ball in her glove and throws to a first baseman. Each fielding player then returns to the end of the line. Roll the first ground balls directly to each fielder. On subsequent grounders, roll the balls to the glove side, or the backhand side, or force the fielders to charge short grounders. You can also move the fielders to different positions, or have them throw to different bases.
You can begin teaching infielders how to handle a grounder on the backhand side without using a ball. Have the infielders assume a ready stance, then have them reach toward their backhand side while simultaneously stepping in the same direction with their glove-side legs. A right-handed fielder, for example, reaches her glove down and to the right for the imaginary grounder, and also crosses her left leg in front of her right to step toward the ball. When the fielders are comfortable with the basic motion have them take another step with the throwing-side leg — the right leg, for right-handers — while their body rises into a throwing position. With the throwing-side leg planted, they’re now in position to throw the ball. You can also perform the drill by rolling or hitting grounders to each infielder’s backhand side.
THE OZZIE DRILL
Hand-eye coordination, trust in instincts and glove work
Have a fielder set up on her knees with her chest straight up, perpendicular to the ground. Her glove should be low and her palms up. When ready, the partner throws short hops within an arm’s length of the fielder. The fielder then snatches the ball with a quick motion moving toward the ball. Have the partners practice forehand and backhand catches.
This is a popular baseball drill that also works well for softball players. The Bulldogs also use a baseball for this short-hop drill. The drill focuses on fielding in front of the body and on good hand and glove position. The fielder will develop quick, smooth movements with her glove and build confidence in her instincts.
Double Play Drill
Outs aren’t easy to come by in softball, so it’s important to convert a high percentage of your double play opportunities. To help teach second basemen and shortstops the mechanics of throwing and catching double play feeds, arrange the players in two lines with each line facing the other. The front players in each line move forward, with one player tossing the ball to the other. The thrower runs to the end of the other line, while the receiver continues forward and the player who was behind the original thrower moves up to catch the ball. The players continue the pattern, weaving back and forth. They can begin with short underhand tosses, then progress to longer overhand throws. All throws should be chest-high and should be caught with two hands.
THE THREE-BALL DRILL
Improve throwing accuracy under pressure
Have a player begin at her position. Lay three balls in front of her, at three, five and 10 feet away. When ready, the fielder sprints to the first ball, grabs it and throws to the designated base. She then sprints back to her position and repeats this for the second and third balls.
The Bulldogs use this drill primarily for the corners — for example, the third baseman usually throws to first base — but it can be adapted for the middle infield.
“It’s a simple drill, but you can modify it to work on a lot of different skills,” Sheppard said. “Depending on what we’re working on that day, we can adjust for different situations.”
For example, the drill can be set up to throw to home to practice squeeze bunt situations. Middle infielders can run the drill to practice throwing to first base for an out, throwing to second base to start a double play or throwing home to catch an imaginary runner.
In addition, the versatile drill can be timed to reinforce speed and accuracy in fielding and throwing.
Quick, accurate relay throws can cut down baserunners and help keep opponents off the scoreboard. To practice catching relays from the outfield and throwing quickly to the appropriate base, line up a group of players in the outfield grass, just past the infield. The players will face the outfield, catch a throw, then turn and throw to the designated base. A right-handed infielder should catch the ball near her left shoulder, if possible. As she catches the ball, she begins stepping back toward the target with her left leg. Once she secures possession of the ball she’s in position to throw.