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Objective: Develop endurance and stamina with muscle memory.
Drill: After a pitching working, use 3 balls and have them set to the side of the pitcher’s mound. The catcher will call out 3 pitches for the pitcher to throw in a row. The catcher will drop the balls near the plate after they are caught. The pitcher throws all 3 pitches as quickly as possible, then runs and picks up the balls by the catcher, and runs back to the mound. The catcher repeats the cycle and calls out 3 more pitches to throw. Continue this drill for about 6-8 sets.
Goal: Gain endurance, speed, mental strength, and muscle memory. As the body tires, the brain loses focus; the goal is to develop both physical and mental strength while pushing the body to its limit.
Objective: A hitter must create resistance on the front side so that the hands can move quickly to the ball. The same applies in pitching. A pitcher must create front side (stride leg) resistance in the order for the throwing arm to move quickly through the windmill motion. The purpose of the leap series is to allow an athlete to feel what it is to create front side resistance in pitching.
Drill: The leap series consists of 3 drills:
(1) leap and stick: the pitcher starts in a balanced position on her dominant side (push/drag leg) foot. With the opposite leg (stride leg) off the ground, the pitcher leaps out (not up!), from the push/drag foot, and lands on the stride leg foot. The landing should be on the ball of the foot and held for 5 sec.
(2) leap and hop: the pitcher starts in a balanced position on her dominant side (push/drag leg) foot. With the opposite leg (stride leg) off the ground, the pitcher leaps out (not up!), from the push/drag foot, lands on the stride leg foot and then immediately hops straight up and lands again on the stride foot. The landings should be on the ball of the foot and the hop does not need to be high but does need to be quick.
(3) leap and push back: the pitcher starts in a balanced position on her dominant side (push/drag leg) foot. With the opposite leg (stride leg) off the ground, the pitcher leaps out (not up!), from the push/drag foot, lands on the stride foot, and then immediately hops back to the push/drag foot. The landings should be on the ball of the foot and the hop backward does not need to be long but does need to be quick.
Each of the three drills should be repeated 3 times and followed by 2 fastballs in order to transfer the feel of the drill to the pitch.
Objective: To react quickly to balls thrown to first base by infielders and becoming confident in fielding bad throws.
Set-Up: First baseman sets up in her ready position with a coach/teammate throwing the ball from different positions. The first baseman would drop step with her right foot (chest open to the field) and run back to get to the base, putting her foot on the middle of the inside of the base. The foot placed on the bag should be the left foot for left handed first basemen and the right foot for the right handed players.
Drill: The coach would throw the ball starting from behind the pitcher's mound once the player gets her foot on the bag and turns open to receive the ball. The ball can be thrown to the player's left and right. Many times players stretch too soon and don't step toward the ball. Wherever the ball is thrown, the arm and glove extends as well as the leg on that side of the body (glove side) straight toward the ball. The first baseman wants to get comfortable getting set quickly and stepping to the ball as soon as it leaves the hand of the person throwing it, making sure to step straight in line with where the ball is going. When the ball is not too far to either side and is more in front of the body, the first baseman wants to get as much as a stretch as possible, making sure to keep the back foot on the bag during the stretch. The coach can move all around the field doing this drill, throwing the ball hard and soft, and starting closer and further from different positions.
PHASE 2: Working on balls that bounce before reaching the bag: To get a player's confidence up at first base on bad throws, start out by throwing long bounces to first base. Once the player recognizes that the ball is going to be low and bounce, she should wait to step and react as she sees where the ball is going to bounce. The first baseman needs to keep her head down and glove open and scoop the ball. We need to remind the first baseman to try to catch the ball on a long hop or to go reach for it and make it a short hop. If it bounces 5 or more feet away, we should not step out, but should read the long hop and field the ball. If it is closer on the hop, we need to extend our glove foot out as far as possible and try to keep the glove on the inside of your leg (not outside of your body). Fingers will be down to the ground and you want to reach forward as you scoop the ball. The coach can throw long and short hops, giving the first baseman a chance to read the ball. The coach should only start to throw the ball hard when the player has success on easier bounces. Confidence will build success. Our goal is to help our first basemen to become a wall at first base, not letting anything get by them.
Objective: Teach communication and aggressive defense in the outfield.
Set-Up: Have 2 outfielders side by side in the outfield, preferably in left center and right center. Have a coach set up to hit balls from the plate.
PHASE 1: The first ball hit, should be for the defender in right field. This ball is going to be hit towards left center and will force her to sprint hard after it, not allowing it to hit the ground. Her second outfielder's job is loud communication to help her with ball judgement. The next ball will be hit towards right center for the left fielder to defend. Same principle here.
PHASE 2: Hit balls in the middle of the two defenders, now knowing that they both have the range to get to it. The two athletes are to communicate loud with one another to safely and successfully finish the play by making the catch. When finish with this phase of the drill, you can rotate other athletes in for the same drill.
To make the drill harder, make the gap between the 2 defenders wider, while keeping it in perspective how much ground each defender should be able to cover. You can also implement diving with this drill, to emphasize that no balls should hit the ground with out maximal effort exhibited.