Now that the basic mechanics of running, throwing and catching have been
taught, it's time to move on to the nuts and bolts of the game.
First 15 Minutes (Warm-up)
Have the players stretch
- especially the arms, back and legs - and have them jog a moderate distance.
Sit, with legs extended
out flat on the ground in a V position. Lean forward, reach for the toes and
pull back on the toes. Hold for a 10 count (have the girls count down from
10). Repeat. This works the hamstrings, calves and lower back.
Stand straight, bend a leg behind the
body, grab the ankle and pull the heel toward the backside. Hold for a 10
count. Mimic with the other leg. This stretches the quad muscles.
time to incorporate throwing and catching into the warm-up routine. Form two
to three lines, depending on your number of coaches. One at a time the girls
step up in a ready position, balanced on the balls of their feet, with their
hands in the proper position. Throw them the ball and have them throw it back
- always stressing the proper mechanics. That includes the stride, arm angle,
proper trunk rotation and snap on the throw (always have them aim to hit you
square in the chest with the throw). When catching the ball, stress the
proper placement of the glove and remind them to look it all the way in and
to squeeze the glove.
Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)
Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them
hustle back to the field.
Next 15 Minutes (Infield, Fielding Ground Balls)
Demonstrate the following and have each player mimic the movement:
Infield Set Position: Middle infielders
will have their feet outside the shoulders, be balanced on the balls of the
feet, knees flexed and butt down with the arms down and away from the body
and the glove as close to the ground as possible. The consensus now is to
have corner infielders with their gloves up - near the face - to protect
themselves against hard-hit line drives.
Fielding Position: Feet outside the
shoulders with the glove-side foot about a foot or more in front, knees
flexed, butt down, with the hands out away from the body and the glove on the
ground (tell them you want them to bring up dirt with the ball), with the
throwing hand about 18-24 inches above the glove.
Accepting the ball: As the ball
enters the glove, trap it with the throwing hand and in one motion, funnel
both hands to the waist, straighten up, step through with the plant foot,
step and throw (to teach the step through, put them in the fielding position
and draw a circle in the dirt, one stride in front of them. Have them funnel,
straighten and step with the plant foot into the circle).
to move to the ball, demonstrating the crossover step: right over left to go
left and left over right to go right.
Footwork, glove on the ground,
funnel to the waist.
Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)
Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to
Next 10 Minutes (Fielding)
Line up half your team at second base and half at shortstop. Place a coach
and a catcher about 10-15 feet up each line. The coach on the first base line
hits to shortstop, the coach on third base hits to second base. One at a
time, each girl receives a ground ball, throws it in and moves to the back of
the line. Stress the proper mechanics.
While you're working on fielding, you can have a hitting station going on,
where one of the coaches works with the girls on hitting off a batting tee,
which is important for getting young hitters to develop good mechanics and to
Batting Tee Drill: Have the girls kneel - front leg up and back leg down -
at the tee about an arm's length away and centered to the body (you need the
shortest, lightest bat you can find. If you can't find the right one, use a
Wiffle Ball bat). Take one-armed swings from the load position (alternate
arms). Focus on the hitters bringing the hands straight down from a load
position to the ball. Focus on keeping the hands inside the ball and
extending to contact.
Next 10-15 Minutes (Fielding Contest)
Pick two even-numbered teams. Line the girls up opposite each other at an
appropriate distance so that each one has a partner on the opposing team.
Each player on one team has a ball (gloves are optional with this game). On
your command, they roll the ball toward their partner. The object is to
receive the ball, step through and then roll it back. Each time the ball gets
past a player, it's a point for the other team. The team with the most points
After the players get some water, gather them together.
Review what the girls learned and congratulate them on learning another
skill. Alert them to the next scheduled practice and follow up with an e-mail
to the parents.
Starting out as a softball player is no easy task. There are many elements to the game and it can be overwhelming without the right guidance. Coach Jodie Ricciardi makes the process of coaching players at the rookie level easier with 75 softball drills, skills and coaching tips developed for beginner and intermediate girls' softball players. This collection of instructional video courses provid...