BARNEY BOP The final thing we do at every softball practice is to have a game that teaches a skill. Here is of my very favorites and a favorite of my players.
The game is called “Barney Bop.” Take a stool or high chair and place it straddling first base with a net or fence behind it to stop any errant throws. Place a stuffed animal on top of the chair (I use a Barney Doll, hence the name). Divide your team into two equal teams or as equal as possible. Both teams stand out by the shortstop position, with one member of the first team ready to field a ball. The other members of her team are awaiting their turn in line, as well as the members of the other team.
Hit a grounder to the first member of the first team. She must field the ball cleanly and make a throw to first base attempting to knock “Barney” off the chair. If she does, her team gets one point. Then do the same to the first member of the second team. Alternate teams until every player of each team has had at least one throw at “Barney”. The team with the most points wins!!
I also like to have the players also do this drill from center field with “Barney” at second base and also from second base throwing to first base. I have found this game to be a great way to involve competition with efforts to improve throwing accuracy.
Submitted by: Coach Mike
BOBBLE BALL Set up an infield with players playing 1st, 2nd, ss, and 3rd. Have two coaches at home plate, one to hit & one to catch in. Coach hitting the ball will be hitting quickly and randomly to the players on the infield. Player fielding the ball will throw to 1st base who will throw ball home to coach catching in. Other players are on the sidelines heckling those fielding the ball trying to distract the fielders to actually create a bobble or an error. If, and when this happens fielder will verbally admit to the error “Uh-oh my bad or my fault” and will leave the field and a player on the sidelines will take her place. The object here is to A:) Learn to focus no matter what noise is going on in the stands. B:) If you make an error- admit it, deal with it, get over it and continue on. C: ) For my girls it is a competition as always and some of our best dives for the ball will happen.
Note: When the ball is missed and extra effort has been made such as a dive then this is not considered an error and fielder will continue.
Submitted by: Vickie O’Brien
CLOCKWORK One drill I use with outfielders is called “clockwork”.
A cutoff-approx. 50 ft. from the catcher. And 5 or 6 outfielders-each spread out from right to left, approx. 50 ft. from cutoff. I start be hitting a ball to the girl farthest left, she throws to cutoff, cutoff throws home. After throwing to cutoof the fielder then runs to take her spot, the cutoff after throwing home, runs home to become catcher, and the catcher is to run to the openspot in the outfield. In a short amount of time fielders get to field in all outfield positions,work on throws, and get some conditioning.
Submitted by: Andy Bell
FUNNEL This drill was one of the most helpful drills as a player, and now as an assistant coach. Players can do this drill after warming up their arms, with their partner. One player keeps their glove on, the other takes their glove off. The partner with the glove rolls them the ball. The fielder must get down on the ball, or they will miss it. They also learn they must get completely in front of the ball, and scoop or “funnel” the ball to their waist.
Submitted by: Tonya Jungwirth
FOOTBALL FLYS This drill has worked well for youth (U12). In order to have them practice catching running fly balls over the shoulder we use soft footballs.
They run out like a football receiver from the coach. The coach throws the football and they have to catch it over their right shoulder or left shoulder using both hands up and bringing in the ball. They cannot turn around and back up. This helps with hand-eye coordination also. After several successful catches we put their gloves on and they catch the football with the glove on. They always use both hands. After more successful catches we move to the softball. This drill is fun and has really improved our fly ball catches.
Submitted by: Gracie
PADDLE For this drill we made paddles with straps out of ping pong paddles and stapled a strap on to the back of the paddle. Have the players strap on the paddles and hit them tennis balls on the ground. This teaches them to go to the ball with both hands and also to have soft hands. It also teaches them to watch the ball all the way to the glove.
Submitted by: Coach Mike
TRIANGLE My Coach this year taught our team this drill. You have to divide your team up into 3 groups. The first group stands between first base and second base. The second group stands at short stop. The third groupstands at home plate. A coach and the catcher stand a little to the side of the plate. The coach hits the ball to the first group,then the first group catches it and throws it to the second group while running to the second group position. The second group girl that catches the ball throws it to home plate while running there. You just keep on rotating in all of the positions. This drill gets you in shape and alert the whole time.
Submitted by: Caroline
KNOCK OUT When my team is stuck in the gym for a couple of days it’s hard to keep up their interest. I do an X-out drill where the team is divided into two teams and stands on the corner of gym on opposing corners.
Each coach stands on the opposite end at the corners and hit/throws grounders or fly balls to their team cross court. Each coach has a catcher who feeds the ball to the coach and also must catch all balls if possible. To complete the play the player must catch the ball successfully and make a catachable throw to their catcher for a point.
This goes on for about 3 minutes with the winner watching the others run or getting a treat. My girls like this drill the best.
Submitted by: Barb Solly
PEPPER The name of this game is Pepper. A coach gathers a small group of players which are only a few feet from him/her. The coach then hits or bunts the ball to the players in any random order, then the players must use quick reactions to retrieve the ball and accuracy to pitch, this pitch is only a toss, for the coach to hit again.
You do this drill to improve the players reaction time. You have to do this drill as quickly as possible and the pace will increase as time goes on, and the players improve. This can also be used to help players with bunting by having a player bunt the ball in place of the coach.
Submitted by: Mark Conrad
BOUNCE TOY I came accross a fun little toy … a spherical bunch of balls randomly put together like a bunch of molecules. It bounces every which way and very good for eye hand coordination and reaction.
I get the athletes in a small circle and they call the ball and must catch it on the 2nd bounce (it bounces funnier on the 2nd bounce) Very good for those rainy day practices indoors. Sorry, I don’t know what they are called.
Submitted by: Sally Halvorson
Note from Buck: This is a great training aid. It is called a “Reaction Ball” and can be found at Softball.com for $14.99.
STAR My name is Kate Earnest and I play for Galloway High School. I attended a fastpitch camp this summer and one of the drills that we learned was the star drill for the outfielders.
The fielder stands about 20 yards away from the thrower. The fielder runs to the right and makes the catch, then drops the ball and hauls it over to the far left, makes the catch,drops the ball, then runs away from the thrower for the longball, catches it, drops it, and runs straight towards the thrower for the shallow ball and that’s it.
Submitted by: Kate Earnest
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