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Softball Drills & Lead-up Games

Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson, we highlight just a few of the drills and lead-up games that can help turn a group of casual softball players into an expert softball team.

Softball Drills and Lead-up Games

Baseball and softball are played by millions of Americans each year. One of our favorite games, it is rare to drive through a city or town during the spring, summer, or fall and not see the game being played on a dirt or grass diamond - whether it's kids as young as 3 or 4 hitting balls off a tee or adults in their 40s and 50s rounding the bases.

But for those who want to get good at softball, it's important to do more than just gather once or twice a week for a game or two. The game is so complicated; each part must be practiced and perfected. In this lesson, we'll go over a few of the most popular drills and mini-games that can aid in developing the skills necessary to be a great softball player.

Drills

A softball drill is an instructional exercise meant to hone or sharpen one or more skills important in the game of softball. These can range from fielding skills, to batting, to base-running.

  • Snapback

This drill helps to improve bat speed and the quickness of a batter's hands and reflexes. The batter should start in a normal stance and then swing the bat as hard as they can. At the end of their follow through, they should hold the position for one second before swinging the bat backward as fast as possible to return to their normal position. They should hold the bat there for a second before repeating the process.

  • Reflex Fielding

This drill helps improve a fielder's quickness and ability to read batted balls. Players start about 40 yards away from the batter. The batter then hits balls either to the left or the right of the fielder. The fielder must react quickly, moving to the left or right to field the ball, diving, if necessary. Drill should be repeated as many times as needed.

  • Fielding/Relay Drill

Line three players up, 10-15 yards apart. Give the first player the ball and have him rapidly turn around and throw the ball toward the ground with the intent to bounce the ball off the ground once. The next player fields the ball then rapidly turns around and throws the same way to the third player. The third player then throws it back the same way. Players should rotate positions. This drill teaches them both how to field the ball off the hop and also relay a throw quickly to the next fielder.

Fielding/Relay Drill
Diagram of Fielding drill

  • Soft-toss

This drill will help improve a batter's eye and help them watch the ball to the bat. A batter and a partner should situate themselves a few feet from a fence or backstop. The partner gets several balls and sits on one knee a few feet away (just outside the reach of the bat). He/she rapidly tosses the ball to the batter, tossing again as soon as the batter has returned to their pre-swing stance. The batter hits each ball into the fence. After several repetitions, the batter and partner should switch places.

Lead-up Games

Lead-up games or mini-games are more involved than drills. They usually involve the whole team or at least a part of a team, and focus on different skills or situations in a softball game.

  • 21 Outs

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