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Drills & Skills in Baserunning

Drills & Skills in Baserunning

There can be no doubt that in many softball teams there is a lot of work to be done at the bases. Sadly, most players and coaches never notice it.  This is because most coaches assume that some players are naturally good base runners than others. Thus, most coaches do neglect coaching base runners for they perceive baserunning as a natural talent that can hardly be improved. However, there has been evidence that teams with great and well trained base runners are better performers than their counterparts. In support of this notion, Coach Ralph & Karen (of the University of Tennessee) in 2012 wrote that “…To have a high scoring offence, a team must be aggressive at the bases and be willing to take risks.”

As such, because the drills have borne fruits in most of their earlier embracers, then learning them for success is possible; yet because of the former perception, a need for baserunning drills is necessary. While it is true that not everyone has been blessed with great athletic speed needed for base runners; it is also factual that everyone who truly desires to be a great base runner can be trained to be one. Thus in this edition I am going to explore some important drills for all base runners.

Basic run

Just as the name suggests, this is the simplest drill to try out. And it works very perfectly for beginners as well as for advanced players as a warm-up exercise.

You will first have all players lay on the ground with their heads facing a coach while leaving a reasonable distance (a leap distance) between them.  This will make them lay forming a circle-like formation. Pick a random player to start with, who will then have to run over all players without steeping on any of them. The player will then rest her initial starting location and the player on her right will arise and do the same. The same process will continue for all players or for at least 20minutes for a group of 6 – 10 players.

The Baserunning simulation

Divide the team into halves that will be aligned at the home plate. Let one half align itself ahead and inside the other half. The coach will then stand at the pitcher’s circle with two bats. Now the coach will signal the beginning of the drill by hitting the two bats together. At the first striking of the bats, the two leading players on the two lines will take off simultaneously with one player running through the first base (like one beating out a ground ball) while the other makes a turn and continues to second. This move sets two runners: one at first base, the other at second and two lines of others aligned at home. At the next signaling from the coach, the drill will move as previous; only that now the player on second will run to third and try to score while the player on first will take the second. From this stage onwards, all the bases will remain loaded. The players on third and on second who try to score will have to return to back to home queues after a score attempt. Such is to ensure that every player gets a chance at all positions.

This drill should be stopped only by the coach when he/she feels that players have had enough of it. The main coaching points to be considered will be on running, making turns and the players’ stamina.

The Speed Ball

The main aim of this drill will be to increase the speed of runners. The coach will begin the drill by dividing the players into two teams. In the first team, place one base-runner in the first base and another on the third base. Next, place a pitcher on the second team with a ball on a tee or softly toss it to a pitcher (in the second team). The pitcher will then pitch the ball as hard as she can (targeting home) and try to run to as many bases as she can before both base runners in the first team touch the ball. Every base she touches before both the two touch the ball earns her team one point. Allow the teams to cheer their representatives and keep interchanging the players and later swap the entire teams after every 10 minutes. The ladies will love this!

 

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