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