08 July, 2011
Softball Evaluation Drills
One of the most challenging aspects of being a softball coach involves tryouts. You must evaluate the skill level of your players at various positions, determine what players have a positive attitude toward improving their game, and ultimately select a squad that will best be able to achieve your coaching goals for the season. To fulfill these tryout criteria, have your players engage in drills that will demonstrate their prospects with the team.
This general conditioning drill tests your players’ throwing abilities, speed, fielding and catching abilities. Stand at home plate with a bat and ball while a catcher gets in position behind you with a ball. At first base, one player stands on the foul line, with a backup player in position behind her. A player stands in position at third base, and a line of backup players stand behind her.
Hit a ground ball to third, which the third baseman then scoops up and throws to the catcher before charging toward home plate. The catcher rolls a simulated bunt for the third baseman to pick up and throw to first base. After the first baseman catches the ball, the third baseman replaces the backup player at first, who moves into position at first. The first baseman sprints to the end of the third base line after throwing the ball to the catcherk and the drill repeats.
Fielding and Throwing
Working on throwing and catching fundamentals is something you should do at every practice with your players because it is such a necessary skill for softball. To gather a basic assessment of each player’s fielding and throwing abilities, have your players stand in a line. Hit a ground ball to one of the players. The player should move forward to attack the ball, keeping her glove flat on the ground and the palm up as she scoops up the ball and quickly transfers it to her throwing hand.
When throwing, the player’s back foot should be parallel to the target while the front foot points toward it. Players should grip the ball with the thumb crossing the front seam and the three longest fingers crossing the back seams. The pinkie relaxes along the side of the ball to balance it. Have the player who is fielding the ground ball throw it to you or a designated catcher. Observe proper form during the throw and correct the player when necessary.
This drill assesses a player’s ability to hit the ball in the correct area of the field in a particular situation. Have a full defensive team take the field, place the hitter in the batting box and then set runners on the bases depending on the situation you want to drill. The batter takes the offensive play signal from the third base coach and then receives three pitches to execute the play properly for the given situation. For young and less experienced players, you can pitch easy balls or have them hit from a tee for this drill. After completing the drill, have the offense and defense switch positions on the field.
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