Organized Hitting Drills for Batting Practice
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Organized hitting drills will maximize the results of a batting practice session. Batting practice can be very inefficient or very efficient. I strongly urge every coach to have a plan and also to have plenty of assistants on hand to help run the different batting stations. The more help you have the more work can get done.
Plan ahead the specific batting drills you want to incorporate into your practice session. Part of that plan is to have a layout of your practice field in mind to know where you can set up the different drills. Then be sure to have all of your equipment on hand and try to have the different batting stations set up prior to the players arriving for practice. Valuable practice time can be lost waiting for the coach to set up nets,
and looking for the right bucket of practice balls for each station. Be prepared.
During batting practice, you should incorporate using limited flight balls as well as hard balls. The advantages to limited flight balls,
such as wiffle balls or foam balls
- Keeps the drill contained
- Allows for quicker pick up of the balls
- Allows greater usage of the field
- Much Safer
I also believe it’s important for the player to hit game balls as well. This really helps them get a feel for the contact, and get a better sense of where and how far the ball is going. I suggest when setting up the drill stations, to have one station that is using game balls and the other stations should either be hitting into a net or be using limited flight balls. The last thing you need is for live balls to be raining down from every angle on the field. DUCK!!!
Now consider which drills you want to work on.
- Tee Station (inside pitch, middle pitch, outside pitch, high pitch, low pitch)
- Side Soft Toss
- Front Soft Toss (limited flight ball only)
- Pitching Machine
- Drag Bunting
- Slap Hitting
- Live Pitching
Be sure to utilize your entire field for batting practice. If you have a pitching machine, I suggest setting it up on the pitcher’s mound and have a batter hit from home plate. If you don’t have a pitching machine, set up the tee and hit live balls, or do the side soft toss with live balls, from the plate. Then go down each foul line into the outfield and set up a station utilizing limited flight balls. If you have a hitting net, set up a fourth station in foul territory for another drill station. I’ve seen teams that have 3 or 4 nets and the players just move right down the line going from one drill to the next. Talk about efficient!
Divide your players up among the different stations and get after it. If a girl isn’t batting, then she should be somewhere shagging balls. As they finish at one station, they then rotate around to the next station. Each player should only be at one station for about 3 minutes. Think about that for a moment. If your fastpitch softball team has 12 players, you should be able to conduct a fairly thorough batting practice in about 36 minutes. Within that time frame they should have hit 20 balls off of the tee, 20 balls at the side soft toss station, 20 balls off the front soft toss station, and 20 balls off of the pitching machine. That’s a total of 80 swings per player and 960 swings for the team.
As soon as everyone has gone through all of the stations, turn them into bunting stations. Now run the girls back through all of the stations again. If it took 3 minutes per station to hit, it really should take the same or less time to bunt. That’s a lot of batting practice.
At this point, you can go into your defensive workout or if the pitching machine is already set up, you can divide up and play the bunting game or a quick scrimmage game. I always try to involve some sort of game or competition into every practice. It let’s them apply the hitting drills they have been working on, puts them into a competitive situation, prepares them mentally for game situations, and keeps practice fun,
If your softball team can’t hit or bunt, they can’t score. And if they can’t score, they can’t win. So if scoring is an issue for your fastpitch team, maybe you need to look at the efficiency of your batting practice, and determine how you can create more time for hitting drills. Be sure to read about the
spring loaded pitching machine
to maximize your batting practices.
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