Build Your Infielders’ Skills with This Softball Fielding Drill
Is your team struggling to center on groundballs? Fielding is hard work, and the differences between infield and outfield techniques can leave your players more than a little confused. This infielder technique drill helps build your infielders’ skills by teaching them how to center on a groundball. Unlike many other drills, this one should be specifically performed on the field, and will require several individuals.
A Look at the Drill
To set up this softball fielding drill, you’ll need to position your infielders on the field – line them up behind third base, with the line starting at the base and running into the foul zone. Depending on the number of players you need to train, you may need to alternate lines, giving each player time to learn the techniques.
While the players are lined up from third base, the coach will stand at home plate. You’ll need a catcher as well. The coach should have a bat and a bucket of balls. You’ll also need a player stationed in short left field. She’ll act as the backup.
The coach will hit the ball to third base while shouting, “Go”. This is the signal for the first player to run for the ball. However, she won’t attempt to field it. Rather, she’ll “straddle” the ball, allowing it to pass between her open legs, without hitting either foot. The focus of this portion of the drill is all about getting players to center their bodies on a groundball. Once the first player has done so successfully, move sequentially down the line, with each player having a chance to try. If necessary, repeat this portion of the drill until all players can successfully center on the ball.
The next portion of the drill changes things a bit. Rather than just centering their bodies over the ball, players will need to bend down like they’re going to field it (but without actually scooping the ball up in their gloves). The ball should pass through to the backup player, who will then throw it back to the catcher.
Once your players have practiced bending while centering on the ball, it’s time to add the glove to the mix. Have them perform the drill the same way as previously, but rather than letting the ball pass between their legs, they should field it, and then toss it to the catcher. Repeat this three to four times per player.
Change It Up
While there’s plenty of variation in the drill as described above, you can always add a bit more zest to your practice by changing things up a little. For instance, if any player is hit in the foot or leg by the ball, penalize her. Make her tell a joke as a penalty, or stand on the sideline with one leg raised and one finger touching her nose. Penalize players for missing the ball entirely during the fielding portion of the drill (or if they don’t reach the ball before it passes them in the early stages of the drill). If a player attempts to cheat by running before the coach yells “Go”, she should also be penalized.
Keep your penalties fun and lighthearted, but make sure you do penalize any infractions. This will keep things enjoyable, but ensure that your players are focusing on the drill and the mechanics, rather than anything else. You can also vary things by letting players take a turn at batting while your fielders practice. This gives the entire team an opportunity to perform the drill together.