- By Brandon Ogle
All while simply using regular household items to work on their game. It’ll not just get them more focused on the sport, but also at the same time, I’m sure you will see some rapid improvement with their on-field performance. Throughout this article, I’ll walk you through some at-home drills you can teach your players.
Drill #1: Posterboard Strike Zone
This drill you can do with a number of different things, but I’ll suggest using a posterboard. Grab some tape and create a strike zone on the board. Then, tape it about a foot off the ground. Once you have your strike zone built, head upstairs and grab a few pairs of socks rolled up (in other words, your softballs). The last item you’ll need is a camera. Anything will do here, you can even tell them to grab one of their parent’s phones. Set it behind where you’ll be pitching from and set it to record video.
Finally, now that you’re ready to practice, work on the motion of going through the windup and throwing the socks (i.e. softball) into the posterboard. With the video footage, you’ll be able to dissect the motion and overall throwing process. Some valuable insight that most youth players never evaluate.
Drill #2: Arm Strength and Hands Drills
A major part of being an effective softball player is having soft hands and a strong arm. An easy drill for this only requires a net or a wall. For the hands aspect of this category, all you have to do is throw the ball off the wall. This will allow you to practice various ground balls, short hops, and so on. Then, for arm strength, just use the wall as a way to practice throwing. Work on arm motion particularly here.
Don’t have a solid wall to use? No worries, just use a tennis ball and the garage. Trust me, it works just as well.
Drill #3: Take Some Cuts
This final drill might just be the simplest one for your players to practice. For this, they’ll just need a mirror and a bat. The player will get in front of the mirror and simply take full cuts while seeing in-person how their stance looks, as well as the swing. While it might sound like a nominal drill, it’s actually key to developing a consistent swing.
As for how often it would be recommended to do this drill, I’d suggest having them take 15-20 swings at a time on 3 different instances each day.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
In the end, one of your primary jobs as a youth softball coach is to develop the work ethic necessary to grow as a player and a person. Even though you won’t be working first-hand on these drills with your players, you will be the one responsible for growing their love for the game!