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Softball Hitting Drills

Last Hitter Standing

This is a great competitive drill for your whole softball team. Each batter gets one ball from the machine. She has to hit a ground ball or line drive to stay in the game. If she hits a fly out, fouls it off, or completely misses she is out and has to run (or do abs or pushups, depends on what kind of conditioning you want to do) until there is 1 batter left.

If she is unsuccessful, she has to quickly drop her bat and helmet and start doing the conditioning. Make sure that the rotation of the hitters moves quickly. submitted by: Coach K

60 SECOND

One of my favorite drills to improve softball bat speed is the 60 second drill which was taught to me through my uncle. What you do is, get someone to time the player for 60 seconds and make them swing as many times correctly as possible. While you are timing the player make sure each swing is done correctly. Submitted by: Meghan

BARRIER

Front Barrier Drill: Have the batter stand one bat length from a barrier (I prefer a net to prevent damage to the bat, but you can use a fence). Have her take her normal swing. If she hits the barrier, she is unlocking her elbows before her shoulders and getting wide on the swing.

Rear Barrier Drill: Place a barrier directly behind the batter and have her take her normal swing. If the bat hits the barrier, she is dropping her hands. You can use this barrier even when you are using a pitching machine or live pitching for instant feedback to the batter that she is dropping her hands. Submitted by: Coach Mike

BATTING BEAM

Here’s a drill you may find useful. Construct a batting beam with pieces of 2″ x 4″s. The main piece should be about 4′ long. Two cross pieces about 18″ should be nailed about 16″ from each end of main piece. Have player stand on this during soft toss. The player should remain on beam throughout swing.

The beam encourages the batter to be on the balls of the her feet and to maintain a balanced swing. It also helps the batter to take their timing step straight to the pitcher. The players don’t like this beam at first, but it does help. Submitted by: Jim K

CONTACT DRILL

I like to finish batting practice by having a contact drill. This drill only takes 7-10 minutes.

All players line up next to the dugout with their bat and helmet ready to hit. Each batter gets 1 pitch, regardless if it is a strike or not, and must make contact.

A foul ball is good, a bunted ball must stay in fair territory. Each player that swings and misses, grabs his/her glove and shags balls. The players that make contact return to the end of the line for their next chance. Keep going until you have 1 player left.

I use a pitching machine and usually have to crank the speed up towards the end. After all balls have been picked up, I usually have all the players except the winner of the contact drill sprint to the outfield fence and back. The 2nd place finisher only has to run half the distance. Submitted by: Coach Doug

Note from Buck: Thanks Coach Doug. That’s an awesome drill. I’ll be sure to introduce it to my softball team. They’ll love it!!.

HANDS TO THE BALL DRILL

I know this drill is old as the hills but I’ve found it to be rather effective when teaching younger hitters to hit.

Have the batter set up approximately 3ft. from a fence in her batting stance just as she would at the plate. With one exception, have her bat resting on her shoulder. The coach then tosses a softball up to her, the batter must then attempt to hit the ball with only the butt (End cap on the handle) of the bat. Since I work with fairly young girls I have to remind them on a daily basis NO SWINGING ALLOWED! The coach can toss the ball in various locations (High, Low, Inside, Outside, etc.,…).

This drills teaches the girls to move there head/eyes (Or as I like to say keep there nose on the ball; Because if you can point your nose at something you have to keep both eyes on it.) to and with the ball and take there hands to the ball as opposed to just swinging and hoping for the best. Hope this helps. Submitted by: Walter Watham

KNEE HITTING DRILL

Set up a net with a mat in front of it. Place a medium size orange cone on the mat. Have the hitter kneel on their back knee. The front leg should be straight out in front towards the net. Place a softball on the cone and have them hit. This allows them to concentrate on the proper hand and arm movement without worrying about the legs.

I have one player hit and the other feed the balls. This allows me to concentrate on the hitter and keeps the players involved. Submitted by: Coach Scott

MILK JUG

This drill again teaches follow through and hitting through the ball, but it also strengthens the muscles needed to do this. Take an empty gallon milk jug or something similar (I used an old punching bag and it worked great) and fill it almost to the top with sand and replace the cap. Hang this jug by a rope through the handle from a branch or any protruding pole that will allow it to hang down and away from the fence or wall (I tied ours to an “On Deck Hitter”). MAKE SURE THE HITTER WEARS HER HELMET!!!!!!!

Have the hitter take a fairly slow swing and when her bat hits the milk jug, it will stop dead. Now the hitter must force her bat through the contact zone, using her wrists and arms, moving the milk jug with sand until the bat slides under the jug. This drill strengthens the muscles needed to drive through the ball and creating a powerful swing and line drives. With all of these drills, try this out in the backyard or with your assistant coaches BEFORE going the field so that you can instruct the players in the proper mechanics of the drill. Submitted by: Coach Mike

TEE

There are many types of Tee Drills, but the ones we use the most are the:

1. Hip turn: Place a ball on the tee at hip height. Have the batter hold a bat behind her hips and take a normal batting stance. Have her pivot and knock the ball off the tee. This teaches proper hip rotation and explosion.

2. Locate the tee at the proper impact point for inside pitches and then outside pitches. Place the balls on the tee and have the batter hit from a normal stance. This teaches the proper techinque for hitting these pitches. Submitted by: Coach Mike

BUNTING

I am a big proponent for turning every drill into an intrasquad competition. The players forget they’re practicing. I also believe in allowing them to take control of a drill. They learn more by coaching each other and have more fun doing it. Coaches should try reversing roles. Let the players tell the coaches what they are doing wrong. It’s a great way to reinforce what they have learned. You’ll discover real fast how much these kids have learned.

Bunting – Draw sections in the dirt in front of home plate. In each section, write a number representing a point value based on what the coach considers the perfect bunt. For example, a two-foot diameter circle in that no-man’s area between the pitcher, catcher and either 1st or 3rd base. Divide the girls up into teams. Each girl takes her turn bunting. She is awarded the point value of the section that the ball stops in (not lands in).

After every player has taken her turn, total up the points and reward the winners. Once or twice in a season we’ll hand out a small piece of candy (Tootsie Roll or Starburst) for each point. After the girls have played this game, let them take turns drawing sections in the dirt and assigning point values. Even if they give high point values to what would be considered a bad bunt, they are still learning how to control the bunt and put it where they want it. If you use your own pitchers, they get practice. Caution: the pitching machine balls tend to be more bouncy than a real softball and are more difficult to control. Make the sections larger and explain why to the players. Submitted by: Gary Anderson

STRIDE BOX

If you are having trouble with players overstriding I recommend building stride boxes using 2x4s. the inside of the box should be no longer than their bat as well as the stride should not be longer than the bat. We build a 32 inch, 33 inch and 34 inch stride box and use it during our soft toss station. The front foot hits the front of the box and it causes the players to shorten the stride. Good when hitting in doors. Submitted by: Todd

DIZZY LIZZY

This is one I had almost forgotten about. If your players have been working really hard for a while, you may want to do this one just for fun.

Have one team at bat, and one team in the field with a fielder on third base and one at first base. The batter must take a bat and place the knob to her forehead and the other end on the ground. She now spins around 5-7 times, then hits (or tries to hit) a ball off a tee and runs the bases until both the fielders have touched the ball in the outfield (or where ever it has gone). If you have some uptight players, this will loosen them up in a big hurry. Submitted by: Coach Mike

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