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Softball Performance Tips – Softball Throwing Drills Tips

Softball Throwing Drills Series

Of all the several skills in softball, I consider the art of throwing one of the most pivotal. Often, throwing is a highly emphasized and a greatly important skill in softball. Sadly, when one’s hitting practice is to daily run across the field as a warm-up. Then stand before a catcher and make over 50 daily swings holding a ball with each single throw trying to make it look perfect, it obviously becomes boring. As a result, such a throwing drill may not achieve its goals as intended. That could be the reason I opted to put across some simple drills that can ensure one becomes an expert hitter with ease.

Drill #1: The Arm-Flipping Drill:

This is the simplest and easiest drill. The aim of this drill is to strengthen the wrist muscles and teach on making the correct throwing spins. As such, it is highly recommended for beginners or as an exercise just after the warm-up.

Equipment:

– 4 – 5 balls

Procedure:

  • First Pair the players and let them take a knee at a distance of about 8ft from each other.
  • The option of the knee to be on the ground should be with regard to the throwing arm. That is, the “lefties” opt for the left knee as the “righties” chose the right.
  • Then with the correct hand grip on the ball and the throwing arm maintaining a 90 degrees elbow-bend, let the ones having the ball throw it to their partners.
  • This drill should not exceed 5 minutes when training.

Note:
i. Ensure that all players have learnt on the correct hand gripping.
ii. Also ensure the correct throwing spin as it is the main aim of the drill.

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Softball Beginner Drills: How to increase the softball Bat Speed

One of the fundamental skills of a hitter is that of handling a bat. Usually, hitters are trained to hold a bat and hit in an almost similar way that result to the same bat speed (40 – 45 mph). This is a very good practice when beginning your tuition as a hitter. Nonetheless, there is always a notable distinction between pro hitters and novice hitters by examining just the agility of hitting (bats peed). Often, expert hitters always win by hitting easier, faster and accurately whereas learners don’t.

A study that was carried out by Ralph and Karen (Human Kinetics, 2012) to examine the relationship between the bat speed and the performance of a team’s has affirmed this popular hypothesis [1]. According to their publication on the research, a faster bat speed is likely to boost the chances of a team’s win by almost a half. Thus, this edition seeks to enlighten you on a few proven tips and drills that will help you or your team to increase your chances of winning through increasing the bat speed.

Points to remember …

Hitting is an art. It isn’t majorly a talent as many would love to put it. It is therefore important for any hitter to remember the following before reading further:

  • That all hitters can become perfectionists, as long as they practice regularly
  • The tips and drills below are only effective if practiced not if read.
  • Most of the drills and tips are greatly effective if shared and practiced by a partner/friend. So, don’t be solo, share this.

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Hitting Drills to Increase Bat Speed

Drill #1:  Training with a Hitting Tube

Aim:

As noted before, the training drills that will increase the strength of a player will ultimately increase the bat speed as a consequence. This drill aims to strengthen the forearms and the elbow of a player.

Implementation:

  • Suspend a hitting tube vertically in position letting the tip of the tube be close to the approximate height of the height of striking.
  • Keep striking the tube slowly gently and gradually increase the magnitude of the hits and the speed.
  • Keep increasing until the tube gets to an uncontrollable speed; which will happen when the tube hits you.
  • Keep doing it for at least 10 minutes.

 Note

  • If you are playing with your friends, keep adjusting the height of the tube relative to the height of the player.
  • Never use a hitting tube that is too heavy to break a bat or hurt you in the case of swinging.
  • Never use a hitting pad with a rough surface as it is likely to damage your bat.

 

Drill #2: The Heavier Ball on Tee

Aim:

Just like Drill #1 above, this drill too aims to develop stronger elbow and arm muscles of a player. But besides the two, this drill will also seek to train accuracy when hitting. As a coach, you can as well use this drill to train beginners on the softball hitting essentials.

Implementation:

This drill requires to be practiced in a batting cage or a well aerated enclosed place. It can be practiced best when training with a coach; then again, you can try it out with a friend but ensure you are never doing it alone. Now proceed as follows:

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Free Pitching Drill Video to Increase Speed

Former Olympian and Professional pitcher Lauren Bay demonstrates a simple softball pitching drill for increasing your pitching speed and power.

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Fastpitch Softball Drills Work Better When…

softball-drills-catching-tips

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Fastpitch Drills Work Better When You Know Why You’re Doing Them

Yet another story from the fastpitch front, i.e. lessons. Tonight I was doing a pitching lesson where the pitcher brought her own catcher. The catcher happens to be a girl named Lindsay, a former player of mine and a personal favorite.

As the pitcher was working, she occasionally threw a ball into the ground. My expectation was that Lindsay would drop and block the ball, or at least catch it competently. But instead, she was just sort of swatting at it, which looked very odd.

After the pitching lesson I asked her what gives, and that’s when she told me she’d just come from a team workout (not sure if it was HS or travel ball) where the coach was bouncing balls into the catchers, who were only wearing masks. I asked her what the purpose/point of the drill was, and she said she didn’t know. None of the catchers did, apparently.

To me, that’s a problem. Forget that the drill itself is downright idiotic. Catchers need to learn to block the ball, and bouncing the ball in to them with no equipment on is no way to make that happen. It’s counter-productive and pretty much guarantees runs will score that shouldn’t.

For me, the problem is none of the girls executing it had any idea why they were doing it — or bothered to ask. If that’s the case, how do you know whether you’re doing it right or wrong, or getting out of it what you’re supposed to?

In my opinion there are good drills and not-so-good drills. But even the not-so-good drills can serve a purpose in the right hands.

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Softball Performance Tips – The Funnel Approach

softball coaching tips-funnel approach
By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

Whether you’re working with a team or an individual, many fastpitch softball coaches struggle with where to start. There’s so much to learn in our game that it can be quite overwhelming.

This is where coaches can take a cue from the business world — in particular the “funnel” approach used in sales. Most sales organizations have it down to a science. They know that if they’re going to close X number of sales, they need to X number of customers to come to the website, which means they need their promotional efforts to reach X number of people in total.

In the case of coaching, it works this way. Start with the big things, get those happening first, and then work your way down into the details.

Now, that may seem rather obvious but you’d be surprised how many coaches try to get to the detail parts too quickly — or try to teach everything about a skill at once. What usually happens is the player becomes so overwhelmed by information that she doesn’t learn much of anything.

Let’s take hitting as a good example. As you’ve no doubt seen on the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, those who get into hitting often really get into it. They will spend hundreds of hours or more looking at video of top-level players and analyzing everything down to the way their eyebrows twitch when they’re waiting on the pitch.

That’s fine as an intellectual pursuit. Where the problem comes in is when they try to impart all that vast knowledge to their players. If they don’t prioritize in a way that creates success for the player, it’s likely that the player will become frustrated and simply give up.

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Softball Hitting Drills – The Helicopter

By Ken Krause, Life in the Fastpitch Lane blog

One of the most common problems softball hitters face is a tendency to want to drop the back side down to early. Rather than rotating the shoulders and then dropping the
back shoulder down to get on-place with the ball, they first drop down and then come forward. That creates all kinds of problems – including extreme difficulties with hitting the riseball.

The softball hitting video below shows something I call the “helicopter drill.” It’s designed to give hitters the feeling of rotating the shoulders first and then getting on plane. Have them
stick their arms straight out and start to turn like a helicopter. They turn, then angle in.

On the video, the third one is the best example. It shows the shoulders staying up, coming forward and then coming in. And no, Coca-Cola is not paying a product placement fee. 🙂

Softball Hitting Drills – The Helicopter

softball hitting drills

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Is This a Good or Bad Softball Drill?

softball fielding drills

By Ken Krause

Is this a good or bad softball drill? This is a question I get asked all the time. A player or parent will tell me about a drill their daughter’s high school, travel, rec league or other coach had the players do, and then ask if it’s a good or bad drill.

While there definitely are some bad drills, and some terrific drills, I find that most fall somewhere in between. Because the truth is it’s not the drill itself most of the time; it’s how you use it.

Take this hitting drill for example. A coach kneels in front of a player and soft tosses small objects at her. Could be wiffle golf balls, or corn kernels, or kidney beans, or some other small object. Is that a good or bad drill? Depends.

You see, if the hitter has good mechanics and uses them while executing it, it’s a good hitting drill. It can be very helpful in developing hand/eye coordination. But if the hitter has poor mechanics, trying to hit small objects will probably just make them worse.

In that case she’s practicing to fail not to succeed, because her measure of success is whether she hits the object, not whether she uses a good swing in doing it. Better to leave this drill behind until her mechanics are better.

There are lots of pitching drills — entire books are filled with them. Some are good, some are not so good, and again, some depend on who is doing them.

softball pitching drillI’m not a big fan of anything that encourages a stiff arm or locked elbow. Yet that’s what I see when people try to over-complicate the arm circle and create too many “stages.”

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Softball Performance Tips – Your Lateral Speed and Agility

By Coach Marc

Softball is a sport that requires a lot of speed and agility. More specifically, you need quick footwork and the ability to change directions quickly (agility).

Here’s a very simple drill with variations that will really help these skills:

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7 Softball Hitting Drills to Spice Up Your Practices

softball hitting drills

By Coach Marc

Coaches use softball hitting drills at almost every practice.

However, humans are creatures of habits and we do the same thing the same way all the time.

Coaches are no different; we tend to use the same drills over and over. That’s especially true with softball hitting drills.

That can get pretty boring for the players and they don’t get as much as out of it.

Variety is not only important for motivation but also to throw a different learning stimulus to your athletes. They need to be challenged in order to improve.

To help you spice up your hitting practices, here are the softball hitting drills for you:

Pepper Game

To develop bat control and short, quick swing with

Coaches are no different; we tend to use the same drills over and over. That’s especially true with softball bats ,stand approximately 22 feet away from the three fielders who position themselves two feet apart. Hit the ball using a short, quick, downward stroke. Hit the ball sharply with one or two hops (ground balls) to the fielders.  A fielder fields the ball and quickly tosses a half to three quarter speed pitch back to be hit.  Hit the ball where it is pitched. Preferably use four players in this drill and not more than five. Hit the inside pitch to the fielder to your left (for a right handed batter). Hit the pitch in the middle to the fielder directly in front of you. Hit the outside pitch to the fielder to your right (for a right handed batter). To make the drill more difficult, use two softballs at once, keeping the hitter constantly ready to swing and fielders always head-up.

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