As a coach, you want your players to get better by practicing, but at the same time, you don’t want them to get bored. That is why you need to put more thought into selecting the infield softball drills you use so that your infield players can progress properly.
Your infield drills for softball must suit the playing level of your players, which means you can’t use college softball infield drills for 10- year old newbies.
So, without further ado, here are the TOP 5 Softball Infield Drills you can use in everyday training and which are fun and will help your infielders deal more effectively with grounders and other situations:
1) Blind Wall Infield Softball Drill
- This drill requires 3 players
- Set 2 cones about 20 feet apart
- A player stands at each cone with an empty bucket
- The third player stays in the middle as he/she faces the wall
- Coach stands behind the third player with a bucket full of softballs
- Throw the balls at the wall
- Fielder deals with each ball as they alternately throw the ball to the left and then right player
- Run each drill for 45 seconds for each fielder
This kind of softball infield drills requires at least 3 players so you won’t have too many players get bored by the sideline. It also requires cones from softball equipment, but if you want to add the challenge, you may want to use paddles or softball infielder gloves.
With this infield softball drill, your infielders can learn the right infield mechanic, improve their footwork, and throw the ball for double pace and to 1st base more accurately. This drill can be very tiring, so you run the drill 45 seconds for each fielder. The catch and the throws should be very quick, and at the end of the drill should really tire the fielder out.
2) Circuit Drill
Rotation 1 (Min 1-3)
- One coach hits balls to the first baseman. Player fields the ground ball tags 1st base and throws the ball to 3rd base
- At the same time, the second coach is hitting balls to the middle infielders to work on double plays
Rotation 2 (Min 4-6)
- One coach works on 6-5, a ground ball hit to the shortstop moving towards the 3rd baseman
- The shortstop fields the ball and throws or tosses to 3rd base
- The second coach works on 3-4s. With the second baseman covering first base
- Coach lays down a bunt or a soft grounder so that the 3rd baseman has to attack the ball and throwback to 1st base where the second baseman is covering
Rotation 3 (Min 7-9)
- One coach works on 5-4-2 double plays, hitting the ball to 3rd base
- The 3rd baseman tags the ball and throws to 2nd for the double play
- The second coach immediately follows with the ball hit to the shortstop and throwing to 1st base, working on 6-3 plays
Rotation 4 (Min 10-12)
- Ground balls hit to the infield with the play at home
- Fielders immediately throw the ball after fielding
Rotation 5 (Min 13-15)
- Coach lays down bunts, 3rd baseman, pitcher and 1st baseman attack the ball and communicate.
- Between bunts, the catcher is working on steal throwdowns
- The coach can toss the ball or pitcher can throw a pitch to the catcher, who then throws down to the shortstop who is covering second base on the steal.
This infield softball drill is done in 5 rotation. It requires two coaches and is beneficial for the whole team as they are all included. The best thing about this drill is the chance to sharpen your instincts through rigorous reps.
Players have an opportunity to make a bunch of plays so that when they make an error they have to make another play immediately. It really challenges them mentally and teaches them to get past their mental mistakes.
3) Middle Infield Defense
- Drill requires 2 middle infielders
- Coach stands at home plate and then hit grounders to players
- Players must keep the ball getting past the dirt with whatever means necessary including dive, slide and run like hell
This infield softball drill serves to train your middle infielders (the shortstop and 2nd baseman) to keep the ball in the infield. You don’t want to let the balls go past to the outfield.
You can hit them with all kinds of grounders, whether it’s straight at them, up the middle, or in the holes. To motivate your players you can have them run a lap for each missed ball. You could also take note of their progress so that later you can have them preventing all the grounders from getting past them.
4) The Three- ball Drill
- Have a player begin at their position
- Lay three balls in front of them at three, five and 10 feet away
- When ready have your fielder sprint to the first ball, grab it and throw to the designated base
- Then have them sprint back at their position repeat this for the second and third ball
This infield softball drill serves to improve throwing accuracy under pressure. You can use this drill primarily for the corners, for example, the 3rd baseman usually throws at the first base, but it can be adapted for the middle infield.
It’s a simple drill that you can modify to work on a lot of different skills. Depending on what you work that day you can adjust it to different situations. For example, the drill can be set up to throw to home to practice squeeze bunt situations. Also, this versatile drill can be timed to reinforce speed and accuracy in fielding and throwing.
5) “Every Day” Indoor Softball Drills
- Have players line up five feet apart
- Have them roll groundballs to each other
- The fielder should be set up in a triangle position (knees bent, shoulders over knees, elbows inside knees, hands out in front, palms up)
- Have players bounce short hops to each other
- Fielder should set in a center stance
- From that position they should practice backhand, forehand, crossover backhand and jab- step backhand catches.
- Recommended 10- 15 minutes every practice to train like this daily, hence the name of this drill, Every Day.
This drill focuses on softball infielder gloves work, good fundamentals on fielding and hand-eye coordination. The infielders work in pairs and equipment that is usually used is baseball and nine-inch kiddie gloves.
The small object makes them focus, so when they see softball in games it will look like a watermelon to them. This drill gives fielder lots of repetition in a short amount of time and forces them to focus on correct glove angle and movement.
Additional Tips For Infield Softball Drills
- Always try to change things for your practice drills. You want your players engaged and not bored
- If you are using a new drill for an old one, make sure that the new drill focus on the same aspect of in-fielding as the old one
- It’s better to have really intense drills that run only for a short amount of time. The key is that players need to take the drill seriously
- Warm-up your players before you do your drills. A good warm-up will let them move more effectively, and it will help prevent injury
- Invest in a few paddles, as they can help make drills more interesting and challenging
- Make sure players have the right and proper softball equipment like good softball cleats, gloves and others
- Unless weather is moody, always do outdoor drills and not indoor softball drills. Players belong on the field where the game is played
- Look for drills that improve camaraderie instead of just their skills. Softball is a team game and your players have to learn to trust each other.
Final Thoughts On Infield Softball Drills
Infield softball drills differ from outfield softball drills. They are for different positions and they focus on defense. Even though they often say how the offense is the best defense, defense should be the bread and butter of your team because your games would often come to who has the best defense, especially narrow result ones.
Hence why you should take good care of your infielders and train them well. Stick to our tips, do the drills that we recommend, make your practices fun and engaging and very soon you will see how strong defense makes a difference when it comes to games.
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