Practice Drills & Tips
 

EQUIPMENT TO PRACTICE ON YOUR OWN!
You want to be the best or improve your skills to help your team. You must practice on your own. Many skill improvements can be done on your own. All you need is the following inexpensive items & you'll be on your way to helping out the team!

1) TEE - $15, Tony Gwynn would hit 300 balls a day.

A lot of tees have home plates attached.  Be sure to keep your feet well-back to get maximum arm extensions.
That home plate on the bottom is a bad thing, make sure you keep behind it!

2) NET - If you don't have a net to hit balls into, hang up a old bed sheet (or 2) up on a clothes line.

Draw a red box in the center about 5 feet off the ground. Aim for the center to indicate a pure line drive. This sheet can also be used in a basement during the winter months.

3) BALLS- use inexpensive whiffle balls & whiffle golf balls. the smaller the target the better your eyesight will improve. Tennis balls also will work and are readily available at any tennis center. Many centers throw out old balls. For strength and maximum benefit, use baseball as long as you have a safety net.

4) OLD WATER SOAKED BASEBALL - check the throwing tips to see what this is for.

5) BATTING GLOVES - more pyschological than anything these do help protect the hands from blisters and injuries while sliding. Getting better means more work (swings) Extra stress on the hands could result in more blisters Take caution.

6) Baseball pants/batting helmet etc. - you should practice hitting in what you'll wear in the game.  Get used to it now.

7) COLOR PAPER CIRCLE CUTOUTS - cut out 4" circles from colored paper. (see hitting drills)

8) Video - Have someone video tape you hitting. Watch yourself hit, what did you do right on the one's you crushed? What did you do wrong?

Show the tape to your coach, Slow motion works great in picking up one's problems.

9) BOOKS - Pick up some books at the library on Baseball. Your teachers will tell you
that You can learn alot from reading.

10) BROOMSTICK - have a parent saw a broomstick to around 31" and hit whiffle balls and golf whiffle balls with it.

11) OLD TIRE - hung from a tree limb and tied tight to stay in place, this is an effective way to strengthen your swing and develop a knack for hitting the outside pitch. Use an old bat.

12) DESIRE/ATTITUDE - this free item means the difference. Either you have it or you don't. Accepting failure and rebounding from it makes character. You want to improve, start with your insides first!

13) HOMEPLATE- inexpensive rubber or one made form cardboard, should be essential in all the drills.
Make sure if you make one on your own that it is the right demensions. 17" wide / 25 1/2" long. Use this with all the drills including hitting, tee work, catching and pitching.

HITTING
You want to become a better hitter??? It's won't happen overnite! You must work at practice and also on your own! Be dedicated and use these drills on your own in addition to getting to a local batting cage.

DRILLS:

1) Tee Drill - make sure feet are behind the ball. Hit the ball with your arms extended. After you hit the ball, head should be down looking at the top of tee. After a while reposition tee to different heights and locations (outside pitch/inside pitch). Make sure you use a separate home plate & not the one attached to the tee.

2) Tee Drill - take a marker and put a dot about the size of a quarter and hit the ball on the dot. Improves vision.

3) Softtoss - w/ a partner stand in a good hitting stance and have your partner off the the side throwing balls underhand in various locations. Keep eyes forward and concentrate on the ball. Two balls can be used at once with the caller saying low to hit the lower ball and high to hit the higher thrown ball.

Some people have used to different colored balls as well. Ball can be bounced of a block of food or cement block with the hitter striking the ball on the way up. This helps aid in development of the changeup and breaking ball.

4) Stride drill - practice your hitting stride. Place some tape on the ground where your back pivot foot should be. Then take some swings noting where your foot front foot lands. Is it in a straight line with the other foot? It should be pointing straight to where the pitcher is. Try in 10X with your eyes open, then with your eyes closed during the swing. Check each time to make sure your stepping straight into the pretend pitch.

5) Broomstick - following the sof toss drill #2 use a narrow bat (broomstick) and whiffel balls to enhance your concentration and vision.

6) Ball or Strike? - Have your friend or Parent pitch some balls to you. Don't swing at the ball but yell back ball or strike. Let the person know before the ball reaches the plate. A net or wall behind you will stop the ball.

7) Mirror swing - In your bedroom or basement, wherever you have a mirror. Tape the 4" colored circles mentioned in the equipment section to different spots on the mirror. Standing well back from the mirror and other objects, practice swing at the different targets. For better results make them white w/ red laces to look like real balls. Watch yourself in the mirror. Try it, it works!

Throwing

How to Grip the Ball

Drill #1 - Grip Drill: sit down with the ball on the ground.  Pick the ball up with your bare hand, grip it, hold it up over your head.

Drill #2 - Grip Drill w/glove: ball in your glove, bare hand away.  grip the ball and hold it up over your head.

Drill #3 - Fire Drill: Line up the squad.  Pass the ball over the shoulder, grip it, pass it to the next person.  1st squad done wins.

Drill #4 - Play Catch: CP's - look for the proper grip.  Lead toe pointed towards the target.

Fielding

Drill #1 - Ground Balls: Ready position, ground ball, charge the ball, use proper form, put the ball in the bucket.  "Keep the backgate closed"

Drill #2 - Fly Balls: CP's - catch above the shoulders, use two hands, catch on the throwing side.

Drill #3 - Ground Ball: Ready position, come forward & charge, ready

Drill #4 ?Tag Play: 1 base with a slide laying on the ground just off the base.  Put the line 10?away.  Have the player run up to the base and stradle the rear of the base.  Catch the coach thrown ball, tag the slider, backout and look for the play.

Drill #5 ?Stretch Play: line up side-by-side.  Put your glove on the line and stand in front.  If you throw with the right hand, then put the right foot on the line.  On “go? step forward, put both hands out in front.  If you use the glove left, then stretch left, etc.  Modification: run to the base, put the foot on the base and stretch.

Drill #6 ?Ground Balls: Run, split, stop.  Put the base out.  In the ready position, roll the ball, charge the ball.  Feet apart, hands in front, charge the ball, move back.

Drill #7 ?Catch: For the ball thrower - Point your leading toe at the target.  Grip the ball properly, For the ball catcher ?give a good target with both hands, catch the ball with 2 hands.

Drill #8 ?Fly Ball Communication: 2 bases & 2 balls & gloves.  ½ team on each base 60?away.  Coach is a triangle away.  Throw a fly ball into the center between the bases.  The players are CF & LF for priority.  Yell, “I got it?or “Take it?  CP’s ?catch with 2 hands on the throwing side.

Drill #9 ?Drop Step: Players side-by-side with a double arms length spacing.   Gloves on and in the ready position.  Coach point left ?drop the left foot back and take two steps.  Coach point right ?drop the right foot back and take two steps.  Modification: point, turn, take 3 steps, catch a fly.

Drill #10 ?Fly Ball Communication: 2 bases & 2 balls & gloves.  ½ team on each base.  Coach is a triangle away.  Throw a flyball into the center between the bases.  The players are CF & LF for priority.  Yell, “I got it?or “Take it?  CP’s ?catch with 2 hands on the throwing side.

Drill #11 ?Fly ball to left: ½ the players are runners at 3rd and ½ the team are left fielders.  Throw a fly ball to left.  The runner at 3rd tags up and sprints home.

Drill #12 ?Run Downs:  2 bases with 2 kids at each base and 1 in the center.  The goal is to get the runner out with as few throws as possible.  The person on the base with the ball runs hard at the runner with the ball held up.  This creates a throwing zone.  At about ½ way, the fielder on the other base calls for the ball.  The guy with the ball either tags the runner or throws the ball.

Drill #13 ?Live Tag: ½ the kids are runners at 1st base and ½ the kids are defenders at shortstop.  The coach yells, “go?and the shortstop sprints to 2nd base while the runner is running from 1st to 2nd base.  The coach throws the ball and the shortstop tags the runner.

Drill #14 ?Catch: For the ball thrower - Point your leading toe at the target.  Grip the ball properly, For the ball catcher ?give a good target with both hands, catch the ball with 2 hands.

Drill #15 ?Stretch Play: ½ the players at shortstop and ½ the players at 1st base.  Coach throws a grounder to shortstop who picks the grounder up using proper form and throws to 1st base.  1st base sets up for the stretch play.  CP’s ?toe on the 1st base bag with the heel up.

Running

Drill #1 - 2 bases, no ball, no glove, 5-6 min/drill.  Base-to-base: Coaching Points (CP's) - run through the base, rotate right and look for an overthrow

Drill #2 - Home to first: CP's - round the base to the left 4-5 steps, shuffle back, left foot on base, rotate right to look into outfield.

Drill #3 - Straight-in-slide: CP's - slide w/back to play to protect yourself.  Top leg straight, bottom leg bent (like a "4"), slide w/back on the ground.

Drill #4 - Home to first or Home to first with a turn: Look at the 1st base coach.  He’ll tell you to go straight through or to make a turn

Drill #5 ?First to third: 3rd base coach with either hands up or wave through.  Use a straight-in slide into 3rd.  Run full-speed through 2nd.

Drill #6 ?3-Point Stance & Slide: Everyone side-by-side w/double arms distance.  Everyone into a 3-Point stance.  If sliding right, then right leg forward and throw left hip over & slide.

Drill #7 ?Straight-in Slide: slide under the straddling coach.  Back away from the play and on the ground.

Drill #8 ?PopUp Slide: same as straight-in slide, but use final momentum and under-side leg to push back up at the last second.

Drill #9 ?3-Point Stance & Slide: Everyone side-by-side w/double arms distance.  Everyone into a 3-Point stance.  Slide on the right-side once, slide on the left-side once.

Drill #10 ?Straight-in Slide or Pop-up Slide: 2 bases.  At the halfway point, the coach tells the player straight-in or pop-up.

Drill #11 ?Hook Slide: to be used when the ball has beaten you and you are making it most difficult to get you.

Drill #12 - Home to first: 1 base coach & 1 runner.  1st base coach yells, “go straight through?or “make a turn?

Drill #13 ?First to third: 3rd base coach is a kid with either hands up or wave through.  Use a straight-in slide into 3rd.  Run full-speed through 2nd.

Drill #14 - Home to first: Coach pretends to pitch.  Coach yells “stride? “swing? “go?  CP’s ?player pushes off the back foot.  Runs through the outside edge of 1st base, turn right and stop.

Drill #15 - Home to first: w/kids coach & 1 runner.  1st base coach uses hand signals “go straight through?or “make a turn?

Drill #16 ?First to third: 3rd base coach is a kid with either hands up or wave through.  Use a straight-in slide into 3rd.  Run full-speed through 2nd.

Drill #17 - Home to first: w/kids coach & 1 runner.  1st base coach uses hand signals “go straight through?or “make a turn?

Drill #18 ?First to third: w/kids 3rd base coach with either hands up or wave through.  Use a straight-in slide into 3rd.  Run full-speed through 2nd.

Drill #19 ?Second to home: w/kids 3rd base coach with either “stop on the base? “make a turn? or “all the way?

Drill #20 ?Sliding: 2 bases.  Practicing the straight-in slide, or the pop-up slide, or the hook slide.  The coach is on the base with the runner running towards him.  The coach either: 1.  Stradling the base waiting for the ball (straight in), 2. Stradling the base holding the ball (hook), or 3. Turning to chase the ball (pop-up to continue on to the next base).

Pitching

Clyde Wright Pitching Lessons, Home Run Park, 711 S. Beach Blvd., Anaheim, CA  92804   (714) 952-9717,  CW: (714) 828-5860

The Clyde Wright Pitching School is run out of a fenced off bullpen area and a small shack in the back of the Home Run Park Batting Cages.  Lessons are $280 for 8 (=$35/½ hour lesson).  The first session is throwing a bucket of balls with Clyde watching and doesn’t count as one of the eight lessons.  Each lesson is made of warming up by playing catch then throwing 2 buckets of balls with Clyde giving tips.

Week 1
Throw a bucket of balls.  Clyde looked pitcher over and gave him the following tips before having him throw a second bucket of balls.

1. Stand sideways to the batter with the side-edge of your foot touching the pitching rubber.
2. Grip the ball properly.  Use a 4-panel grip; 2-3 fingers on top across panels and thumb below.
3. Put the ball in your hand in your glove.
4. Left foot back then forward and up; hands up then down to your chest at the same time.
5. Left knee up and bent.
6. Left foot steps towards the batter, right arm rear back and?/font>
7. Throw.
8. Follow through.

Week 2

1. Throw and follow through (bend over) like you’re going to catch it.
2. When you step back with the left foot, leave the right foot on the rubber flat;
    don’t raise the toe up.
3. Throw hard!

Week 3

1. Short step back, not a big one.  Clyde put a sandbag behind pitcher to force a 
   shorter step back.
2. Step straight to the catcher.
3. Throw hard!  ?or throw ‘like a girl?

Week 4

1. Short step back, but don’t squat

Week 5

1. Throw "over-the-top".
2. Step and throw.
3. Make the mitt "pop".
4. Take your time.
 

Hitting

Drill #1 Hitting Stance: ready, stride left on front foot, pivot back foot

Drill #2 Coach Pitch and Call: Player in the batters box with interlocked hands.  The coach throws 5 balls over home plate.  The player calls either a ball or a strike, inside or outside, high or low.

Assorted Drills

CLOCKWORK
Outfielder drill.

Set a cutoff-approx. 50 ft. from the catcher.  And 5 or 6 outfielders-each spread out from right to left, approx. 50 ft. from cutoff.  Start by hitting a ball to the player farthest left, who throws to cutoff, cutoff throws home.  After throwing to the cutoff, the fielder then runs to take that players spot, the cutoff after throwing home, runs home to become catcher, and the catcher is to run to the open spot in the outfield.  In a short amount of time, fielders get to field in all outfield positions, work on throws, and get some conditioning.

FUNNEL
Players can do this drill after warming up their arms, with their partner.  One player keeps their glove on, the other takes their glove off.  The partner with the glove rolls them the ball.  The fielder must get down on the ball, or they’ll miss it.

They also learn they must get completely in front of the ball, and scoop or "funnel" the ball to their waist.

GROUNDERS
This drill allows each fielder to see nearly 75-100 ground balls within 20 minutes.

You need 2 coaches (if players are skilled enough let them hit the grounders), 2 crates of balls (25 in ea.), & 2 empty crates to set at designated base.

The drill goes as follows: Grounders to 3B who throws to First; other coach hits to 2B who throws to SS covering second. Then: SS to 1B, 3B to 2b; 2B to 1B, SS to 3B; 1B to 3B, SS to 2B.

There are variations we mix in also with catcher throwing to bases.

INFIELD-OUTFIELD-RELAY
This drill fits every level of play.  It develops both the INFIELD mechanics, OUTFIELD mechanics, and RELAYS to HOME.

I divide the team into 2 groups.  One group lines up behind third-base. The other group lines up in deep right-center.  I have an assistant coach acting as my catcher as I hit hard grounders to the first in line at third-base.  They field the ball and quickly make a sharp throw to home-plate.  I then hit a deep fly ball to the first in line at right-center.  As this player sprints to catch the ball, the fielder that was at third-base sprints to a relay position for home-plate.  The outfielder hits the now relay fielder who should be properly positioned to receive and relay the throw to home-plate.

The cycle repeats as the infielder that was the relay joins the rear of the line of outfielders.  The outfielder that caught and threw the ball to the relay then joins the rear of the line of infielders.  This cycle should be repeated as to correctly get everyone to field, catch, throw, and relay through an entire cycle.

OUTFIELD FLY
Place half the team in left field and the rest in center.  The coaches hit flyballs between the first two outfielders in line.

They both go for the ball with one catching it and the other properly backing up the fielder.  If the ball happens to get by both fielders then they’ll use a relay throw to get the ball back to the coach.

This drill has helped greatly in backing up on all balls, and easy to do before games.

STAR
The star drill for outfielders.

The fielder stands 20 yards away from the thrower.  The fielder runs to the right and makes the catch, then drops the ball and hauls it over to the far left, makes the catch, drops the ball, then runs away from the thrower for the long-ball, catches it, drops it, and runs straight towards the thrower for the shallow-ball.

RELAY THROW
Have the players line up in a line stretching to the outfield.  Have the first player throw the ball to the glove side of the second player in the line.  Do the same for the rest of the players.

This teaches the proper location for the relay throw and also teaches quick turn and release of the throw.

SITUATIONS
The infield takes their positions and the coach makes up situations.  For example, A runner on 1st and 2nd...2 outs...and then hits the ball like its a real situation and have the players figure out what to do with the ball so they'll be ready for real game situations.

The coach goes through every situation possible with us so the players won't get confused in a game.  The coach does this every practice.  It helps cause less confusion during games.  The outfielders participate too.  It's just like a real game going on except it's practice.  It really helps improve the mental aspect of your fielding skills.

THAT GAME
We call this drill "that game" because we don't have a name for it.

You split your team into 3 teams it works well with 12 players and 2 coaches.  One team goes to the outfield, one team plays the infield and the other team is up to bat.  One coach pitches and one catches, you can also use the tee if you only have one coach, She/He needs to play catcher, or you can play pitcher and catcher after the ball’s been hit.  The pitcher pitches 3 pitches and the batter hits the ball and has to run the bases, the team who touches the ball first has to field the ball and pass the ball under their legs until the ball has been passed to every player on their team and the last player has to throw the ball to the catcher before the batter/runner makes it home.  The throw home has to be a good throw and the coach receiving the throw home can stand on home plate and can stretch to catch the ball but cant leave the plate.

If the ball arrives before the runner then the home team has one out--three outs and they go to the outfield and the infield team is up to bat, the kicker is that the pitcher can pitch as soon as a batter is up to the plate with a helmet on so if your team was just at bat you better be running to position yourself in the outfield.  We end up with players not even taking their helmets off, but they also learn teamwork, they have each others gloves ready for their teammates on their way to the field and they usually have the player with the best arm line up at the end of the line to assure a good throw home, coaches beware, this game has just pooped me out, especially when you are playing pitcher and catcher!!!!

The batter gets 3 pitches, if they don’t hit a fair ball after 3 they’re out. And no bunting.

TIGER
This drill is used to have everyone participate in fielding, catching and throwing.

Have everyone spread out evenly into a deep infield position.  One player on first and I use another player for backup to the first baseman.  Have an assistant catch or you could use another player.

Start the drill by coach saying, ‘ready?  This is a cue for getting the players into the ready position.

Hit a grounder or fly balls to them.  They’ll need to be sure and call it if it is a fly ball.  On grounders make sure they setup in the PFP (Perfect Fielding Position) and keep the ball in front of them.  Once the catch is made a good throw to first base is then made.  The first basemen then throws the ball to the catcher.

If a ball is missed the player missing the ball runs and retrieves the ball runs back and rolls the ball into the backstop while everyone else continues on with the drill. After they all have received at least one ball hit to them I will then yell switch.  At that time the player that is backing up the first baseman becomes the first baseman.  The first baseman goes to where third would be and everyone else rotates toward first.

I usually have punishments for trying to correct certain aspects of the drill.  For example not getting ready, not getting in front of the ball, not using PFP, making bad throws to first etc. have to run a short distance and return to the drill.

I also award players doing things correctly.

PFP - Perfect Fielding Position - Glove foot forward.  Other foot shoulder with apart at the inseam of the glove foot.  Glove out in front and on the ground.  Back parallel with the ground.  Shoulders square with the hitter.

TRIANGLE
You have to divide your team up into 3 groups.  The first group stands between first base and second base.  The second group stands at short stop.  The third group stands at home plate.  A coach and the catcher stand a little to the side of the plate.  The coach hits the ball to the first group, then the first group catches it and throws it to the second group while running to the second group position. The second group player that catches the ball throws it to home plate while running there.  You just keep on rotating in all of the positions.

This drill gets you in shape and alert the whole time.

BAT AROUND THE HORN
This drill works on every aspect of the game--Hitting, Fielding, Throwing, Base Running and requires two teams of 5 players. (It can be played with 6 players or more but each player scores for themselves.)

One team takes the field at 1b,2b,ss,3b, and c.  The other team is at bat.  The batter hits a ground ball (from a tee, soft toss, or just toss the ball up and hit it). Fly balls are outs.  An infielder catches the ball and throws to 1b.  1b then throws to one of the other infielders.  That fielder throws back to 1b. 1b then throws to the other infielder (who hasn't touched the ball) who throws back to 1b.  The ball then goes around the horn (1b to ss to 2b to 3b) and then to the catcher.

Each fielder must touch their base before throwing except for around the horn and home.  If the batter-runner can run all the way home before the ball gets home, 1 run scores.  If the ball gets home first, one putout is made.  Fielders rotate one position clockwise and next batter hits.  Each Fielder has caught 3 ball and made 3 throws.  Every catch and throw must be accurate or a run scores.  Bat until 3 outs are made and change sides.  Batters need to wear helmets.  Play 3-7 innings.  With more than 10 players - Fielders can rotate in at 3b.

Here's an example:

Ball hit to 3rd.
3b catches batted ball, steps on 3rd, throws to 1b
1b catches ball, steps on 1st, throws to ss
ss catches ball, steps on 2nd, throws to 1b
1b catches ball, steps on 1st, throws to 2b
2b throws to 1b (now around the horn)
1b throws to ss
ss throws to 2b
2b throws to 3b
3b throws to c and c steps on home plate

GROUNDER FLYBALL GROUNDER
Line all your players up at third base.  Hit a hard grounder to the first person in line.  As soon as they throw it in to the coach, throw a high fly to first.  Make the player hustle to get it.  As soon as they throw it in, hit another grounder to third, thus making them run back across to get it.

This drill is good for foot speed, fielding and personal effort.  Speed it up as players advance.

GUTS
The players have created their own names for this drill - guts, kill your teammate, the grounder game. Divide the players into two teams.  Have the teams form two lines about 40 to 60 feet apart, with players shoulder to shoulder three feet apart.  Place something two feet from each player at either end of both lines.  These are the goal posts.  The goal posts can be buckets, cones, balls, or the parents.  Hand a ball to one of the players.  To play the game, the players take turns trying to throw grounders through the opposing line.  They can throw as hard as they want (make sure they're spaced far enough apart).

The rules are simple: The player who fails to prevent the ball from going past the imaginary line between goal post is out of the game.  The team who loses all its players first loses.  The ball must bounce in front of the players to count.  If a player's ball is caught on the fly without bouncing they’re out - if it is dropped, they stays in.  If a ball goes through the line without bouncing, it has no effect. Any throw outside the goal posts has no effect.

As players are eliminated, move the goal posts in until the last player has a goal roughly six feet wide.  Hint: if the players learn to charge the ball, it gives one of their teammates an opportunity to back them up .  If there is a question as to which player allowed the ball to get through the line, the opposing team decides.

3-2-RUN
Place 3 balls on the ground evenly spaced, about 3/4 of the way from third base to home.  The fielding team has a third baseman and a group at second base.  Another team is at bat (without bats).  When the coach yells, "Go", the batter (runner) runs as fast as they can to first base and on to second.  The fielder at third base runs to the first ball and makes a throw to a teammate at second base, then goes to the second ball and makes a throw to the same fielder at second base and does the same thing with the third ball.

The object of this game is to make 3 good throws from third base (third base line) to second base before the runner gets to second base.  If the runner gets there first, or if the fielder makes a bad throw or bad catch, the batters get 1 point (you can use any value you want).  If the fielders get all 3 balls to second base before the runner gets there, no points are awarded.

HIT THE BUCKET
To improve throwing accuracy and footwork in the infield, I divide my team in two groups.  Half are positioned at short stop and the other half are positioned at second base.  We mark off a starting point that the players must stay behind until a ground ball is hit to them by a coach at home plate.  Each group alternates players fielding ground balls and throwing to home plate where two stacked buckets are located.  Each time a player hits the top bucket on a bounce 1 point is awarded.  Hitting the bucket without a bounce gets 2 points.

My players charge the ball as hard as they can so that they can get a shorter throw.  First group to 10 points is the winner and usually gats extra hacks during BP.

JAMIE
This is an excellent drill to start your defensive practice using every player on the team to warm up fielding & throwing.  I usually start this drill with 4 balls allowing for 4 overthrows.  As we are trying to field the ball correctly we are also emphasizing accurate throws.  If the 4th ball is overthrown the entire team will take a lap around the field (jogging) and the drill will start over.  I've had great success with this drill narrowing the no. of balls down to two.

Setup a player at 1st base with a 2nd player as a backup.  Setup a catcher at home.  All other players are at 3rd base with one player playing 3rd base and everyone else in line outside the foul line.  Coach is at home plate with the 4 balls and a bat.  Coach hits grounder to 3rd baseman who fields the ball; makes an accurate throw; follows the throw and becomes backup at 1st base; player playing first base after catching ball makes accurate throw home to catcher; then follows the throw to become catcher; catcher tosses ball to coach (catcher than goes to end of line at 3rd base) who hits to next player in line at 3rd base.  After entire team completes fielding & throwing to from 3rd base; move to ss; then to 2nd base; then back to 3rd base and run bunt defense with a player at 2nd base moving to 1st base for the catch (other words on the bunt defense you now have the 1st base backup playing 2nd base and 1st base as well as 3rd base are charging the bunt.  After the play the 1st base comes home to be catcher; 2nd base becomes 1st base, 3rd baseman moves to 2nd base and catcher gets in line at 3rd base.

MECHANICS SERIES
This throwing drill is used for warm ups and is done is a series.  It allows the players to focus on the "mechanics" of proper throwing techniques, using certain isolation drills.

1.) Indian style: have the players start approx. 10-12 yards from their partners sitting Indian style.  By throwing in this position, the players isolate the upper body motion, using the glove hand for proper shoulder rotation.  To help emphasize proper follow through, the players should follow through (this can also be done in the kneeling position with both knees on the ground, bodies square to their partners.)

2.) One Knee: Have the players proceed to the one knee position, stride leg in front pointing towards their partners.  The players should move back to approx. 15-20 yards.  This focuses on upper body mechanics and accuracy.  Again, the players should follow through.

3.) Standing: Players put all three together and begin throwing from the standing position.  Again, emphasize using the glove hand to point at the target as well as proper follow through.

4.) Crane: Players begin in the "crane" position.  That is, with their stride leg raised in the air (knee bent), their glove hand pointing at their target, their throwing hand in the launch position (ball outside ear), players hold in this position for 2-3 seconds before releasing the ball.  To ensure proper follow through, the players then take one full step towards their partner after releasing the throw.  This helps the players focus on properly using their glove hand for emphasis on shoulder hip and knee rotation.  What I tell the players is that (if righty), their left shoulder, hip and knee point at their target and when they are done, their right shoulder hip and knee should be pointing at their target.

5.) Quick throw: Players work on framing and quick release.  Players catch and throw without hesitation for approximately 1-1.5 minutes straight.

6.) Tags: While partners are working their "Crane" positioning, the receivers set up in the straddle position.  When the throw comes in, they perform sweep tags.  This allows the receivers to train as well as the throwers.

7.) Throwing for distance: Once the series has gone through, continue to have the players back up until they are able to make accurate, strong throws DIRECTLY to the receiver.  No lob throws.  This allows arm strengthening.

FIRST AND THIRD
Split up your team into two teams and have the catcher on each team make up signs for her players.  The other team runs the bases.  One starts on first the other on third.  The player on first has three pitches to steal second base on and the team in the field can not let the player score at home.

If the runner scores at home that team gets three points.  If the runner scores at home and the player is out at second the out doesn't count because the player scored.  If the player scores at second base and the other is out at home then they get one point and have one out.  The catcher calls the play before the pitcher pitches the ball.

The object is to stop the runner from scoring while trying not to just give the runner second base on an easy steal.  Usually we play one or two innings and the losing team has to run sprints.

This drill really helps during the games and the players feel more comfortable about the steal when there is a runner on third base.  As well the catcher feels more comfortable throwing the ball down with a runner on third base.

THE RUNNING
Half the team line up at second base and half line up at home.  On the signal, one player from each team runs the bases until they reach the base they started at. When they get there, they tag the next runner in line and then they run the bases.  This is done until all the runners have run.  Whoever reaches their base first wins.  The other team has to pick up the bases.

This is usually the last thing we do at the end of practice.

THUNDER
This game is played with 2 teams.  One team is at bat with a tee or soft-toss, the other team has one fielder on third base and one on first base.  The batter hits the ball off the tee or from a soft-toss as hard as they can and runs as many bases as they can until BOTH fielders have touched the ball.

Keep score by counting bases reached before the ball is touched.  After all batters have batted, switch sides.

TREES
We play at a location that has 1 field and quite a bit of open space.  The open space had may trees spread out.  Some were 15-20 feet apart while there were 2 trees that were 60-70 feet apart.  The trees I picked were in a circle but the could be in any order.  Get enough trees to make even teams.  Get a stop watch and time how long it will take to go 2-3 times around.  On the second go round players positioned themselves to locations where the throws they would make in a game.  You would be surprised on the improvement in time.

BATTING
The players arrange on the field (just anywhere) and 1 player bats.  If the batter hits a fly ball and if someone catches it then that person who caught it gets to bat, BUT if the batter hits a grounder and a player fields it then the batter lays the bat on the ground, the fielder has to stay in the same spot where they fielded the ball and rolls the ball on the ground and trys to hit the bat.  If they hit the bat then they get to bat.

BUNTING
I’m a big proponent for turning every drill into an intra-squad competition.  The players forget they're practicing.  I also believe in allowing them to take control of a drill.  They learn more by coaching each other and have more fun doing it. Coaches should try reversing roles.  Let the players tell the coaches what they are doing wrong.  It's a great way to reinforce what they’ve learned.  You'll discover real fast how much these kids have learned.

Bunting - Draw sections in the dirt in front of home plate.  In each section, write a number representing a point value based on what the coach considers the perfect bunt.  For example, a two-foot diameter circle in that no-man's area between the pitcher, catcher and either 1st or 3rd base.  Divide the players up into teams. Each player takes their turn bunting.  They’re awarded the point value of the section that the ball stops in (not lands in).

After every player has taken their turn, total up the points and reward the winners.  Once or twice in a season we'll hand out a small piece of candy (Tootsie Roll or Starburst) for each point.  After the players have played this game, let them take turns drawing sections in the dirt and assigning point values.  Even if they give high point values to what would be considered a bad bunt, they are still learning how to control the bunt and put it where they want it.  If you use your own pitchers, they get practice.  Caution: the pitching machine balls tend to be more bouncy than real softballs and are more difficult to control.  Make the sections larger and explain why to the players.

BACKSTOP
One thing I like to have my catchers work on is retrieving balls near the backstop and making the play at the plate. I dump a bucket of balls along the backstop behind the catcher.  The catcher starts in their usual stance; the pitcher starts approximately halfway to home.  On "GO" the catcher must turn around, go for a ball, look quickly, and backhand the ball to the pitcher running in.  The pitcher works on fielding the ball and making the tag. We do this 30+ times until the catcher is able to accurately place the ball at the plate on repeated tries.  This drill has improved the speed and accuracy of the catcher's throws and the effectiveness of this play.  It also helps alleviate some of the pitcher's anxieties about making the play on a player stealing home.

HIT THE BUCKET
To improve throwing accuracy and footwork in the infield, I like to divide my team in two groups.  Half are positioned at short stop and the other half are positioned at second base.  We mark off a starting point that the players must stay behind until a ground ball is hit to them by a coach at home plate.  Each group alternates players fielding ground balls and throwing to home plate where two stacked buckets are located. Each time a player hits the top bucket on a bounce 1 point is awarded.  Hitting the bucket without a bounce gets 2 points.

Players charge the ball as hard as they can so that they can get a shorter throw.  First group to 10 points is the winner and usually gats extra hacks during BP.
 

CIRCLE
Circle up your players with 15-20 feet between players and coach in the middle.  Give one player a ball and have them throw to the next player (clockwise or counterclockwise).  Have them throw around easy until you get 2 laps and expect them to drop it a few times.  After 2 laps, tell them you want 2 more laps faster but anyone who drops a good throw or makes a wild throw will owe a lap around the outside of the circle.  You can inject a 2nd ball and a 3rd ball if they get going good.  Also, you can develop the relay-pivot maneuver with this same circle drill.  You'll be amazed at how the challenge aspect of this drill perks of their enthusiasm and skills!!  It really works.

 

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