Congratulations, Coach, your kids are progressing nicely by this point, turning into accomplished softball players.

First 15-20 Minutes (Warm-up)

Use the standard warm-up routine: stretching, moderate jog to a finishing sprint. Then, catching, throwing and ground-ball lines. Always stress mechanics. If the kids struggled with the 'rapid fire' drill mentioned in an earlier lesson, don't give up, keep working at it. They'll get it eventually. As always, make sure you leave plenty of room between each girl during warm-ups. Remember, you can always go back to the two or three lines with coaches tossing the ball to get an effective warm-up.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back on the field

Next 10 Minutes (Review Outfield Cut-offs and Relay Plays)

Review your outfield cut-off and relay plays. Work from right field to left field and work from each position to each base. Make sure the kids are vocal. Make sure the cuts are lined up and that they receive the ball in the correct position.

Next 15 Minutes (Rundowns)

Keep in mind that rundowns happen a lot at younger ages because both the runners and fielders are prone to mistakes. Usually in a rundown, chaos reigns, in part because many teams neglect to work on them and the kids aren't sure what to do.

It's really quite simple. For the fielders: Rule Number 1: Don't panic. Rule Number 2: Always start the rundown by trying to send the runner back from where she came. Rule Number 3: Stay inside of the runner, so you never have to throw over the runner. Rule Number 4: Follow your throw. That way you'll never be caught out of position, possibly obstructing the runner. A key point: The less throws the better.

Here's how it works: The pitcher turns and sees the runner caught off third base. She takes an angle to run her back to third. At the proper time, she flips the ball to the third baseman. She continues to run past third and gets in line behind the shortstop, who has moved over to cover third. Teach the girls to hold the ball in the throwing hand and pump fake a throw to freeze the runner. Of course, when they go to tag the runner, it's best to place the ball in the glove and tag with both hands. If the third baseman has to toss the ball to the catcher, she does and then continues down to get in line behind the first baseman, who's moved down to back up the catcher, who is now running the girl back to third.

Coaching Point
  • Follow your throws. Use the pump fake. 

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back on the field

Remaining Time

Crown a rundown champion. You can do this between any two bases you want and you can involve all the kids. Have each girl take a turn as the runner. Stress the importance of staying alive. Decide who stays alive the longest and crown your champion.

Gather the girls together and congratulate them for their efforts. Give them the next practice time (or game time) and follow-up with an e-mail to the parents.