As a softball coach for kids, your first priority is for your players to have fun. But even young players know that the game is more fun when you win.
And to win, even young players need to practice their basic softball skills. You can make sure that these skills are learned by letting them practice a few beneficial softball drills for kids.
When it comes to young players, the drills should not be too complicated or advanced. The key is to simplify the drills so that basic skills are mastered. You also need to make sure that the children don’t hurt themselves while doing the drills.
Then ‘Em All Warm-up Drill
Before every practice, players need to warm-up first. Kids need to learn to warm up before anything else, and this is a habit that should be ingrained so they can retain it when they get older.
You can make the even warm-up interesting with the Touch ‘Em All drill. This is a dynamic warm-up, which is more effective warm-up than a static version. In a static warm-up, the players hold a position for a time. It’s not quite as effective as a dynamic warm-up.
For this drill, here are the steps:
- Prepare 4 bases.
- Have everyone start at home base.
- Get each kid to start jogging around the base.
- Have the next kid go after about 5 to 6 feet from the earlier player.
- Have everyone go 4 times around the base.
This warms up the kids. At the same time, they learn to work together, as they maintain the proper space between the players. No overtaking!
Hitting Off a Tee
This is perfect for very young players. This may not seem exciting for some players who are past the T-ball stage, however. But you can overcome this attitude by first showing YouTube videos of professionals taking tee hitting shots.
For very young kids, it’s enough that they get a good swing and hit the ball into the field. But for kids who are a bit older at 8-years old, the goal is to make a level swing through the strike zone. The hit should result in a line drive.
Have each player take 10 swings each. To keep it interesting, keep “score” as to how many line drives each player gets.
Single or Double Running Drills
Kids need to learn how to get to first base as quickly as possible. This should be done correctly. The player should go at full charge. The arms should pump at their sides and not across their body. There should be no lunging in the end.
- Kids should learn first to go straight towards first base.
- Then they need to learn to start a few feet to the right so they can go straight towards 2nd base.
- You can do a drill by announcing “single” or “double” when they start their run.
- You can announce it when they’re making their swing so that they can start at the right angle each time.
This is one of the most popular drills for baseball and softball, and it’s even suitable for professionals. It builds camaraderie, and it also develops fielding skills and bat control.
- Have 4 or 5 players participate.
- One batter faces the gloved teammates, who are within 15 feet of the first player.
- One of the fielders tosses the ball to the batter, who then lightly taps the ball to a fielder.
- The fielder fields the ball and then tosses it back quickly.
- After a few tosses, the batter exchanges position with one of the fielders.
This is a great team-building drill. It also helps develop throwing accuracy and quick release.
- Have the whole team wear gloves and form 2 lines side by side about 20 feet apart.
- One player throws the ball to the opposite player.
- The player then quickly passes it back to the next player on the opposing line.
- The goal is to have them do this as quickly as possible, so you need to encourage them to go fast.
- You can time them every time, so you can set goals as to how quickly they should complete the drill.
Green Light, Red Light
This is a very fun way for kids to learn how to run while they’re wearing gloves.
- Stand one side of the outfield, and have players on the other side.
- When you shout “green light”, the players all begin to sprint towards you.
- When you shout “red light,” they must stop.
- The players who continue to move after you shout “red light” should then go back to the starting position.
- You can call either green or red light (even shouting “red light” in succession) until one player is close enough to tag you.
The relay play emphasizes teamwork. When a ball goes into the outfield, an infielder must sprint to the outfield grass. This infielder must catch the direct throw from the outfielder. After that, they must then throw to the correct base.
- Line up 3 or 4 groups of players. Each group must have one outfielder, one infielder, and one “catcher”.
- On your whistle, the outfielder throws to the infielder.
- The infielder turns their non-throwing shoulder towards home plate, and then throws toward the catcher.
- You can also practice ending the relay towards other bases.
- You can time how quickly each group can complete this relay, and the fastest group wins the drill competition.
For young players, boredom is always a constant issue. That’s why you can’t just simply have kids take turns hitting and fielding.
With the right drills, you teach skills while you also inject a little excitement and a sense of satisfaction to them. Try adding a new drill for every practice.
Keep the drills that seem popular with the players, and drop those that they find boring. The point of any beneficial softball drills for kids is to keep it interesting and fun for the players.