Objective: Sometimes, we run out of time to do softball conditioning during practice. These 2 softball conditioning drills will allow you to work on your conditioning while you still practice the fundamentals of the game.
Softball Conditioning Drill #1 – The Star
Purpose: To work on conditioning, infield communication, footwork, and catching and receiving the ball.
Organization: Start with players at their normal fielding positions. The catcher starts with the ball. There is no pitcher.
Execution: The ball starts at home. The SS starts the drill by breaking for 2B to receive the throw from the catcher, who is in a catcher's stance with ball in glove. When the ball is caught by the SS, the third baseman breaks for her base using proper footwork. The SS throws the ball to 3B. When the ball is caught by the third baseman, the first baseman break to receive the throw at 1B. She then throws the ball home to the catcher using proper footwork. You can run the drill continuously for several minutes which will train your players' stamina.
Coaching Point: Watch players as they break for their base to make sure the footwork is correct. Also make sure they use proper technique when receiving the ball and that a quick transition is made.
Softball Conditioning Drill #2 – Continuous Fielding
Purpose: For infielders to work on conditioning, basic fielding technique, and to develop mental toughness.
Organization: Each fielder starts at her position. The catcher stands in and feeds the balls to the coach, who is hitting fungo. You can use your outfielders to fill in off to the side in foul territory to ensure that balls are quickly getting back to the coach so the drill doesn't break down. All throws go to 1B.
Execution: The coach starts by hitting balls at the third baseman. Most balls are either right at the fielder or a step or two in either direction or up in front. The idea is to keep hitting at the player until you can tell her legs are getting fatigued, which will vary for each player. Players might field between 15 and 25 balls depending on their level of conditioning. After you get a sense of what is a good goal for your team, make the drill competitive by giving players a number to reach that will be extremely challenging. After the third baseman has had her turn, next is the SS, second baseman, first baseman, and catcher. With the catcher, you can use bunts to throw to 1B.
Coaching Points: This is a great drill for the end of practice. The energy from the team should be apparent. Have the team cheer each player on as she executes the drill. Balls should be hit in a quick manner but with enough time to let players get back to their start position.