Whether you're a first-time softball coach or a parent of a player, you know how important practice is to building strong players.
Championship players recommend practicing three times a week, for at least an hour each session. For the best all-around training, players should alternate fielding, pitching, and softball hitting drills.
While field and pitching strategies are both important to building a good game, little emphasis is placed on hitting other than making contact. However, a strong batting game should be a part of the total package of player skills.
If you haven't tried the wide variety of softball hitting drills that are time-tested and most effective, try adding these 5 drills to your team's practice routine.
Players should know how to hit a ball with accuracy, in a specific and defined direction. In order to hit a ball to a line on the field, it's important to focus on the work of the top hand.
Place a feeder about 10 feet away from the plate, behind a protected screen. Have your hitter stand at the plate, prepared to hit rapidly. Have the feeder aimed at the outside of the plate.
Get your batters trained with drills of 12 hits per turn of trying to hit the ball along a specific line. Most of the work is on the top hand for making sure the ball goes in the intended direction.
In order to build better swing technique, on-deck players should hit fungoes to fielders on the infield. Set up a few hitting stations and focus on downward swing, followthrough, weight shifting and batter hand action.
After all of your hitters have gone through a rotation, switch your infield spots out and have your infielders practice their batting. Get players to try to hit the top half of the baseball with short, downward angled swinging.
Hitting rhythm is important to build. In order to get batters to learn to drive a ball, use a tennis ball bounced in front of them.
For these softball hitting drills, have pitchers make a tennis ball bounce up into the strike zone from the area in front of the batter. When it bounces, the batter is meant to get their hands started into the swing.
Keep lots of tennis balls on hand. There are a lot of different drills you can run with them.
Set up a feeder about 10 feet from the batter. Have it shoot plastic golf balls that batters will hit with a broomstick or a hit stick. Set up a net behind the feeder to catch the balls with a net.
Have them focus their bat speed by trying to go at about 90% in order to make contact. The point is to make solid contact with the ball on every swing.
Batters need to build good hand speed for dealing with the ball. Have the batter get into a stance with a partner placed on a ladder above them.
The batter asks for the partner to drop the ball. The batter then takes a full swing.
If you're missing a ladder, try bleachers or a chair to keep the partner at a safe distance. Building teamwork and trust are some of the core life lessons you learn from playing softball.
See what works for your team. Adapt any known drills when necessary. It's not as important that your team performs a drill perfectly so much as they get the practice.
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