Getting the Most Out of Indoor Practice
Indoor softball drills have been developed to help you capitalize on those tight and restrictive spaces. There is nothing like practicing outside, but when you must, maximize the indoor facility. The key to this is creating a good stations practice program.
Here is an example of what we established as our indoor program. As you can see, the drills program is divided into different areas with a time limit to keep things moving and fresh for the players. The purpose is to hold the softball player’s attention in these very un-softball conditions.
Many of these softball drills have been shared on other pages, and we will provide links to those pages as we refer to the softball drill. The total elapsed time of the session is 2.5 hours, with all but ten minutes dedicated to a series of activities. Scale the time to fit your schedule.
© Helmut Steinwender
The first hour is spent on what would seem to be "non-softball" activities. In essence, it is about getting the team in shape for the coming season. That is right, 40% of the time on conditioning. Why? Think about how your players are dragging during those 900+ weekends on the third game of the day. It is extremely important that conditioning begins now so that it will pay dividends later. In addition to the standard conditioning drills listed on the document, I really like this e-manual from SoftballPerformance.com
that employs its Dynamic Warm-Up for Softball
. You may also want to incorporate some of these conditioning drills
to help supplement your program. Whatever you do, DO NOT SKIMP ON CONDITIONNG! Players may complain. Parents may not see the point. But in July, they will understand why.
Finally, the players are thinking to themselves, we get to practice softball ..., but note that each of the fielding and running drills involves conditioning. So keep them moving! The fielding drill is as simple as forming two lines and having two coaches hitting ground balls. Keep all of the players rotating from being the fielder, to being the catcher and then back to the end of the opposite line as demonstrated on the outdoor fielding drill page
. The pop ball catch drill is demonstrated on the outfield drills pages
. The nerf ball drill can also be used indoors. The base running drills are explained on the base running drills page
. The only drill not explained is the ball toss zig-zag drill.
Name of Drill:
Rotation through the entire team
The object of this drill is to instill proper footwork when going after a ball that is over a player’s head. You never want the player to simply run backwards, as the only thing that will likely happen is that she will lose her balance and fall on her duff. The proper way to run after a ball over the player’s head is to turn and run based on the shoulder the ball is traveling towards. If it is towards the right side of the body, she should turn her shoulder and hips and run in that direction. If towards her left shoulder, she should turn her hips and run in that direction. If it is directly at her, she should turn towards the glove side and run in that direction. The object of this drill is to instill that behavior. Keep working with the particular player until her footwork is correct and then proceed with the drill.
The players get in a line facing the coach. The coach holds up a softball. The coach holds the softball to his right (player’s left) the player runs to her left and back (as if the ball is over her head) in proper form. The coach then moves the ball to his left (player’s right) and the player reverses direction and runs to right and back, again with proper form. (He may repeat the right/left a few times.) The coach then throws the ball over the player’s head and she must go and catch the ball. Note that she does not have her glove up until the last possible minute to catch the ball. This is for two reasons. The first is running with your glove out actually slows you down. Secondly, you will end up with a “stiff” glove and the ball will likely bounce out, versus putting your glove out at the last minute, resulting in soft hands.
Proper technique for running and catching balls hit over a player’s head. Conditioning.
© Kim Jew Photography Studio
As far as hitting drills, these softball drills
are covered on the linked pages, especially the three ball call out and bunting drills. Should you have the space and can safely set up a pitching machine
(with requisite nets
for safety), by all means do it. There is nothing like a pitching machine to get your player’s swing in order. Note, however, that because a pitching machine will usually throw at the same spot at the same speed, you will want to alter the location of the pitch (up/down/inside/outside) as well as the speed of the pitch to try and simulate a real game situation as much as possible.
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