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Defensive Drills


									                                             Defensive Drills

                                              (Bucket Drill )

Players take their position at 1B, 2B, SS, and 3B. There are two coaches at home plate, each with a bat
and a bucket of balls. There is an empty bucket at each base. The drill consists of three rounds.

 Round 1 - Coach #1 hits 1/2 bucket of grounders to 3rd baseman who field and throws to 1st baseman
who puts balls in empty bucket. At the same time, Coach #2 hits 1/2 bucket of grounders to shortstop
who fields and throws to 2nd baseman covering 2B, who puts balls in empty bucket. Next, coaches turn
and Coach #1 hits other 1/2 of bucket to 1st baseman who fields and throws to 3rd baseman who puts
balls in empty bucket. At the same time, Coach #2 hits other 1/2 of bucket of ball to 2nd baseman who
fields and throws to shortstop covering 2B, who puts balls in empty bucket. Players then bring in buckets
and refill coaches' buckets.

 Round 2 - Coach #1 hits 1/2 bucket of grounders to 3rd baseman who fields and throws to 2nd baseman
covering 2B. At the same time, Coach #2 hits 1/2 bucket of grounders to shortstop who fields and
throws to 1st baseman. Next, Coach #1 hits other 1/2 of bucket to 1st baseman who fields and throw to
shortstop covering 2B. At the same time, Coach #2 hits other 1/2 of bucket to 2nd baseman who fields
and throws to 3rd baseman. Players refill coaches' buckets. (make sure that corners play up and middle
infielders plays back during this round to avoid anyone getting hit with throw).

 Round 3 - Coach #1 hits 1/2 bucket of grounders to shortstop who fields and throws to 3rd baseman. At
the same time, Coach #2 hits 1/2 bucket of grounders to 2nd baseman who fields and throws to 1st
baseman. Next, Coach #1 bunts other 1/2 buckets to 3rd baseman who fields and throws to shortstop
covering 3rd base. At the same time, Coach #2 bunts other 1/2 bucket to 1st baseman who fields and
throws to 2nd baseman covering 1st base.

This sounds much more complicated then it actually is. It's a great drill that takes less than 15 minutes
and each of the infielders get about 40 grounders, throws, and catches.

                                        Field-Throw-Run Drill

(Team - 12 players)
Line up 2 players at 1st, 2 at 2nd, and the rest at third. The coach hits a ground ball from home
plate to the first person in line at third, that player throws to second and then runs as hard as he or
she can to second and gets in line. The player at second throw to 1st and then runs to first as fast
as they can go and gets in line there. The player at first throws to home and then runs around the
outside of home plate as fast as they can go and gets in line behind third. Repeat this for ground
balls and then do popups. After a bit switch and run it from first base.

Simple fast paced conditioning drill to get them moving. The coach can hit and catch the balls at
home or alternate players to hit and catch.

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                                               Range Drill

1 line at first base

1 line at third base

1 coach with bucket of balls at home

1 coach with bucket of balls at 2nd

Players at 1st run toward 2nd and players at 3rd run toward home. Coach at home hits ball into 2nd
base gap for the player at first base – they must run and field the ball. Start with balls close to them and
then extend the range. Depending on age and skill level get them to the point of diving for the ball. The
player fields the ball and puts it in the bucket of the coach who is at second base. Then they run to the
end of the line at 3rd base. While this is going on the coach at 2nd base hits a ball for the player on third
– same thing. Start close and then work on their range and extending them. They field the ball and put it
in the bucket of the coach who is at home. Then they run to the end of the line at 1st base. After you go
through some series of fielding switch where the coaches hit to and where the players run to so you
work their range to the other side. Coach at home hits towards second base and players at 3rd run
towards 2nd – coach at 2nd hits towards home and players at 1st run towards home.

                                              Tag at 3rd Drill

One player at 3rd base and one player at shortstop. The rest of the girls create 2 lines at 2nd base (one
line for runners and one for fielders). The coach hits a ground ball to the shortstop, while at the same
time the runner takes off from 2nd to 3rd. Shortstop must field the ball and throw to 3rd baseman who
applies the tag to the runner who is sliding. We use this drill for practicing the tag, fielding a ball with a
runner next to you, and sliding. We rotate like this: shortstop goes to 3rd, 3rd to running line, runner to
fielding line.

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                                                   Big Drill

 A player standing on 1st, 2nd ,and 3rd. everybody else on the foul line in left. Coach hitter has a coach
catcher feed him 5 balls one at a time of course!

 Player comes off of foul line to ready position. Coach hits a fly ball. player catches and throws home.
while player is running in towards third, coach hits a ground ball ,player fields and flips to third, Coach
hits ground ball to SS position as player moves in that direction, player fields it and flips it to 2nd, while
moving towards 2B position coach hits ground ball, player field it and throws to 1st. while moving
toward 1B position coach hits one last ground ball, player fields it and throws to coach catcher. That
player then stays at 1b and the others rotate toward left field. Coach pushes the player to move faster
by hitting ahead of player. Have the players at the bases hold the ball until the drill for that player is
through, then throw to coach catcher. If player fails to field the ball ,have them let it go and keep
moving. Great for Conditioning, as well as fielding balls on the run. My Kids love this one!

                                         Back-up/grounder Drill

 I use this drill/game towards the end of a practice. works on reacting to & fielding grounders,
and backing up plays. Have 2 lines facing each other(distance apart depends on level of players,
space available, indoors or out)

     X X X B P ..............P B X X X
X are the players in line
B is the backup player (fields a missed ball)
P is the player (fields grounder and throws one back)

 "P" starts drill by throwing grounder to other team.
1 point is given to throwing team every time a ball gets by player.
Another point is given if the ball gets by the back-up player.

Set boundaries to the right and left (out of bounds) I use the basketball court(paint and free throw
line as the box for fielder and back-up player.

Rotate people through "P" fields throw, returns throw and goes to end of line. Back-up player
moves up to "P" position, X player moves up to back-up position.

This drill starts out slow and intensity increases as teams try to get the grounder by the opposing
player. It also speeds up for the same reason.

Excellent drill for working on fielding, reacting to ball, moving right/left, fielding and popping
up quick ready to throw and being there to back up a play. Plus it's good competitive fun(loosing
squad picks up equipment at the end of practice)
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                                            Moving Groundballs

I use this drill to teach the progression of squaring a ground ball backhanding or fore handing it or diving
for it. I use a machine to place ground balls in the hole. Have the players move them in to a position that
challenges them. After a few attempts we have them move stop where the stop must be made with a
backhand or forehand stop . Then more of a distance to teach them to lay out or dive for the stop. After
each progression has been completed a few times we mix it up. we work this drill from all positions in
the infield and have each player take one turn then rotate , Also you can have a player play any base to
teach a quick recovering into a throwing position and the release of the ball as they throw to the
designated base.

                                                   X Drill

The player starts facing the coach, a few feet in front of them. Send the player back (drop stepping) to
their glove side and throw a ball well over their head so that they work on going back on the ball. As
soon as they catch or miss the first ball, you will throw another well in front of them so they will come
forward hard. Then repeat, throwing the balls forcing the player to make a giant X with the path that
they run. The kids really get into it and give a good effort while producing some conditioning and some
fly ball work.

Here is drill that I run to expand the players lateral range and overcome their fear for diving for a ball:

I put a player about 5 feet in front of a fence or net.
To their left and right I put 3 cones each at the 12ft, 14ft, and 16ft range away from the player
I have 2 other players (1 on the left and 1 on the right at a 45 degree angle to be a target once the player
catches the ball to come up and throw to the target.
I either use a batting machine or I will hit grounders to the players left and right gradually increasing the
distance to help them become quicker to the ball
They will ultimate need to dive for the ball and come up and make a strong, accurate throw to the
Each player will catch and make 10 throws as we rotate between fielding and targets.
The players don't know where the ball is going so they must react quickly.
This drill should be done on the grass to a softer landing and then can be moved to the infield as their
confidence grows.
You can break the players into teams and make a competition out of it to see which team makes the
most plays.
You need to keep them moving and spend about 10 minutes on the drill.
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                                                Reaction Drill

For the off-season, we practice inside. I use the wall drill for my outfielders. I have my six outfielders
stand in two rows, 3 in each row, about 5 feet a part. They turn their backs to the wall, I throw the ball
against the wall and I yell "GO". All the fielders turn around and the fielder closest to the ball yells "Ball,
Ball, Ball" and make the catch.

Softball Croquet

The name relates to the idea of not letting the ball hit your legs -but to center on the grounder. It is a 3
part drill. They are awarded points based on how well they complete each portion of the drill. I have my
girls’ line up at third base facing me at home plate. I then hit a medium speed grounder to short. As
soon as I make contact the girl at the front of the line runs out and centers on the ball. She lets the first
ball go through the middle of her legs. If the ball goes right through the middle of their legs they score
the highest. If the ball hits them on the leg, or goes to the outside they have to go again until they allow
it to pass through. This of course forces them to spread their feet further apart and get closer to the
ground. The second time through they are told to bring their hands down (not wearing their glove) as if
to field the ball but to let it go through at the last second. This reinforces the motion of both getting
your hands down as well as the motion of bringing the ball up quickly after they field it. For the final
time through the girls now put their glove on and field the ball, and then throw it home. They are scored
on both their fielding and their throw. We will often run the drill twice depending on how many girls we
have at practice and how much field time we have.

                                               POP Up Drill
We usually finish off practice with this one. It is designed to teach the girls how to judge pop-ups and
the proper way of letting everyone know that you are going to “call” it. It’s called simply the pop-up drill
(although my youngest daughter sometimes refers to it as the “pop-up of death” drill).

I have the whole team gather around me in a loose group-stretching their arms out so that they
are at least arms length away from all the other players. I then randomly throw the ball up in the
air. The girls then have to decide if it is one that they can catch and then “call for it”. They are
awarded points for “calling” for the ball loudly, making the catch or stepping back to allow
someone else who has called the ball to make the catch. The first girl to10 points get to sit
down. This continues with me alternating where I throw the ball until the all the girls have
reached 10 points. The girl who finishes last then has to run the bases while the rest of the team
cheers loudly for her, and sometimes even chase her around the bases. This teaches the girls
to judge pop-ups, take control of a fly ball, as well as avoid collisions with other fielders. My girls
love this-especially the ritual of chasing the last girl around the bases.

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                                          Monkey In The Middle

This helps my girls, when throws come in from the outfield, quickly relay the ball. Also helps on double

Imagine a tic-tac-toe board. Place a person in each box with three balls, one given to each person on the
end of the row. To start, that person throws to the one (monkey) in the middle row. She then throws to
the person on the other end. Then that person throws back to the person in the middle and then
throws to the person starting the sequence. Then the process is repeated. This starts slow and speeds
up as you go. What this helps develop is that the monkey in the middle turns towards the person
throwing the ball with their throwing arm side. This allows the ball to come into the gloved hand, across
the body. This will allow the throwing hand to be behind the ball ready to throw as oppose to catching
the ball out in front of you, and having to then turn the body towards the target. The coach must watch
and correct each player when they step toward the thrower with their gloved hand because they will!

                                           Ground Ball Drill

We have a ground ball drill that we love. You make three lines and need three coaches. The first coach
throws a ground ball to the left and the fielder must shuffle to the left catch the throw back to the
coach. Then the fielder goes to the next line where that coach throws to the right. Then the fielder goes
to the next line where that coach throws a fly ball. All coaches do this continuously and the fielders keep
switch lines. This drill works on moving the feet properly to catch any ball and to make good throws.

                                              Tennis Ball Drill

Take a tennis racket and tennis balls. Coach hits balls into air. Fielder must track ball and catch with two
hands. This drill makes fielder squeeze glove and use two hands. Ball will pop out of glove if two hands
are not used. Also if ball is missed it will not hurt fielder. Hope this drill helps add to your list.

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                                             3 Ball Drill

This is a team drill that works on throwing accuracy and base running at the same time.

1. Set up three cones down the 3rd base line with a ball in front of them, evenly spaced 10-30'
from 3rd base. Half the team are fielders at 3rd base and half are base runners at home plate. The
first fielder sets up like a base runner on 3rd base, and the base runner sets up at the corner of
home plate.

2. On the coaches whistle, the base runner runs from home to 2nd base while the fielder is
approaching the first ball. The idea is for the fielder to have all three balls accurately thrown to
the 2nd baseman before the base runner slides safely into 2nd base.

3. The key points are for the fielder to approach the ball and set up in line with 2nd base. The
fielder will have to stay low approaching each ball instead of standing straight up running to each

4. The key point for the base runner is to cut the inside bag at 1st base and slide to the outfield
side of 2nd base, opposite the direction of the throw.

5. The drill can be modified for outfielders, setting up the three cones in centerfield. The base
runners will have to slide to infield side of 2nd base.


One of my favorite drills for all ages is. I start out with a fishing net and a couple of 2x4s. I drill
a hole in the 2x4s so that the fishing net can stand on its own. I will have the net approx. four
feet high. I then use the net at different locations on the diamond. What I have my kids do is
divide up into teams. Then they will throw the baseball from various locations on the diamond,
and we make a game out of this. The idea behind this is to put the net say at first base, then have
the fielders throw to the net ( 1st base) it makes them work on accuracy. I also use it at different
bases and maybe have the fielders throw from the outfield. They get a kick out of trying to make
it into the net, but more importantly they are working on a very important skill.

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                                   Infield Work While Conditioning

*Players at 1B and 3B, a ball in the pitching circle and a player catching with a fungo hitter at
the plate.

-Ground ball to third, throw to first.

-Player runs and picks up the ball in the circle, throws to first.

-Player then loops around second base to shortstop position, fields a ground ball and throws to

-Player then receives another ball at the shortstop position and throws home.

-Player then charges the plate as catcher rolls a bunt, which the fielder throws to first base.

                                        OUTFIELD THROWING DRILL

    Align everyone, except a pitcher, a catcher and an infielder at 2B, equally across the outfield at the
distance you want the players to throw. Each player takes a ball to the outfield when they go. The
pitcher is stationed in her cut off position, the catcher is set to make a tag at home plate and the
infielder is stationed at 2B to take a throw.

     The player closest to the foul line in left field tosses her ball a short distance in front of her, runs to
pick it up and makes a throw to home. The catcher, judges the throw, if it is on line to the plate says
nothing, lets the ball come home where she makes the tag on a virtual runner. If the throw is off line the
catcher calls “Cut Two”, the pitcher cuts off the ball and throws to second base. In either case, once play
is finished, the ball is thrown back to the player in the outfield who made the throw. The next player in
line then makes her throw. After all players have thrown, switch pitchers, catchers and infielders with
players from the outfield. The drill can be repeated as many times as desired.

    This drill practices several skills: throwing from the outfield, judging whether to cut off a throw,
making a tag at home plate and cutting off a throw and throwing to 2B. Challenge the players to get
100% of their throws on line and hit the cutoff person. On throws through to the catcher, focus on good,
strong, one bounce throws. Insure that the pitcher takes the proper position to cut off the throw and
the catcher sets up properly in front of home plate.

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Hoola hoop drill

to assist younger kinds in judging the balls trajectory on fly balls and build
confidence. Teach them to keep their glove arm down when they are running

Each girl has a hoola hoop around their waist. The coaches stand back with a
bunch of tennis balls and throw pop flys. Girls try and get the ball to land
inside the hoola hoop.
Can be incorporated into a game of 500 up

Pickle drill

Split into two lines. One on first base, the other on second. Each player
has a glove, the player on first base leaves the base running, and throws to
the player running from second. The first player swings out and goes to end
of line at second. Player at second catches on the run, applies the tag to the girl going by and throws to
first. As the player from second throws player at first starts running, catches and
throws on the run.
First time half speed is recommended.

Base Footwork

This drill is intended to get the girls more familiar with moving around the bases to receive throws. Start
with a girl on a base and surround her on four sides with others equally spread. Make the throw far
enough to give the girl time to react. She should begin with the throwing foot on the inside corner
closest to where the throw is coming from. She steps to the ball and receives the throw, gets the out,
then passes to the next girl to the right and repeats. She must move her feet to the next corner, and so
on. Mix this drill up by incorporating coming from the back of the bag, moving into the bag, crossing the
bag, etc.

Stretching a Single to a Double

Purpose: To practice making an aggressive turn at first, and focus on the basics of base running.

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Procedure: The drill needs three left fielders, a second baseman, and a catcher. Runners form a
line behind home plate and a batter fungo hits a single near the left-field line. The batter takes an
aggressive turn toward second. If the ball isn't fielded cleanly or if the outfielder isn't alert, the
runner goes to second. The runner has to visually pick up the ball as soon as she rounds first; the
first-base coach helps the runner.

Five Ball Drill

Purpose: To practice footwork and releasing the ball quickly for the throw. An intense
conditioning element is also a part of this drill for softball fielding.

Procedure: This drill can be used with any of the infielders in a variety of situations. For each
position, place five balls in a line in an area where that player would likely field balls. For
example, to help the third baseman practice fielding bunts, set up five balls in a line extending
from the foul line toward the pitcher's mound around 10 feet away from home plate, where the
fielder would pick them up for a bunt. The third baseman begins in her normal position and
depth, then runs to surround the first ball and throws it to first. She then runs back to her starting
position and quickly turns back to field the next ball. Repeat until the fielder has thrown all five
balls. Place the balls in similar areas for the first baseman and catcher. For middle infielders,
place the balls to one side of each player and have them practice their throws to each of the
bases. Each player fields and throws two sets of five balls placed in slightly different locations.

Team Pop Up Drill

Purpose: To simulate game conditions for fielding a pop-up fly ball.

Procedure: All nine players take their positions in the field. Standing at home plate, the coach
hits randomly placed pop-ups. The player who's in the best position for catching the ball should
yell "ball-ball-ball." The other players nearby should respond to the player's call by yelling "take
it - take it." The player to whom the ball is hit should catch it and throw it back to the coach.
Also work on who has priority on the different balls.

Base Race

Purpose: To teach base runners to cut tight corners and get around the bases as fast as possible.
This drill works on the basics of base running.

Procedure: Set up an infield with no pitcher. Your base runner tosses and hits a ground ball
themselves. She then takes off around the bases as fast as she can, going from first to second to
third to home. The infield also circles the bases with their throws, trying to get the ball to home
plate before the runner gets there. If it's an inexperienced team, it should be about even. More
advanced teams have to take the ball back to first each time - that means, field it, go to first, go to
second, back to first, go to third, back to first, and then home. The person who fields the ball is
not allowed to be involved in covering a base, just as it is in a game. Every base runner that
makes it home before the ball gets a point. Make it a contest to see who can get the most points.
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Figure 8 Drill

Purpose: One of the best softball fielding drills used to improve quickness and glove handling.
The Figure 8 also provides a good conditioning element as well.

Procedure: A fielder stands between two cones that are around 20 feet apart. A tosser sets up
with 10 balls around 20 feet from the fielder but directly in front of her. The fielder starts by
running toward a cone while the tosser throws a soft line drive toward the cone. The fielder runs
and reaches to catch it. Once it is caught the fielder throws the ball out of the way and heads
toward the other cone. The tosser then throws a soft line drive toward that cone. The fielder
again catches it and gets rid of it quickly. The fielder continues running around the cones and
switches directions in a figure 8 pattern. Each player catches two sets of 10 balls.

Squeeze Play Drill

Purpose: To defend the squeeze bunt with a runner on third base on defense; to execute squeeze
bunting on offense.

Procedure: Play 6v6 on a field that's right for the age group, with players positioned in the infield
(first base, second base, shortstop, and third base) and a pitcher and catcher for the defensive
team. To start, a runner is placed on third base and a batter is at the plate, with the other
offensive players waiting in the on-deck area for a turn at bat. The pitcher throws pitches that are
not hard to hit, and the batter tries to bunt the ball. You can practice both the safety and suicide
squeeze plays in this game. If you are practicing the safety squeeze, the runner on third tries to
score only after the batter bunts the ball; for the suicide squeeze, the runner on third goes no
matter what, and the batter has to get the bunt down. The defense tries to throw the runner out at
home plate or force the runner at first base. Award two points to the defense if the runner is out
at home, one point if the batter is out at first. Switch teams after each player on the offensive
team has had a turn at bat.

Pitcher Back Up Responsibilities Drill

Purpose: To establish backup responsibilities for the pitcher. The pitcher's main backup job
comes when a ball is hit past an outfielder and a possible play is being made at either third base
or home plate. This is important defensive work for softball pitching

Procedure: Start with base runners, an outfielder, a third baseman, and a catcher, with the coach
standing at the plate. The coach puts a base runner at first or second, then hits a ball by the
outfielder, either over the player's head or in a gap. The pitcher notices that a play will be made
at either third or the plate, and she sprints toward and crosses the third base foul line between
third and home plate right away. She ends up in foul territory close to dead ball territory or the
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dugout. The pitcher turns to watch the play unfold. She can cheat toward the base to which the
throw is most probably going. Once she knows to which base the ball will in fact be thrown she
gets in position behind the fielder, leaving enough distance to be able to react to the overthrow
(around 20-30 feet.) On an enclosed field the pitcher is usually near the dugout or the fence line.
Have pitchers backup positions when the rest of the team is practicing relays and cutoffs.

Pitcher/Catcher Throw Downs Drill

Purpose: To have the catcher practice throw-downs to the shortstop covering second. It's also a
good softball pitching drill because it lets the pitcher practice fielding bunts and throwing to first.

Procedure: The drill requires a catcher, pitcher, shortstop, second baseman, and first baseman.
Place empty buckets behind second base and first base. The pitcher and a coach each have a
bucket of balls. The pitcher pitches a ball to the catcher in proper receiving position. The catcher
should wear all gear to make the drill game like. On the first pitch the catcher throws down to the
shortstop covering second. The coach, who is standing near the catcher, then rolls out a bunt, and
the pitcher makes the play to first with the second baseman covering. The shortstop and second
baseman both begin in their regular defensive positions so that base coverage is realistic. When
players catch balls at the bases, they immediately drop them in the nearest bucket so that the drill
can proceed rapidly.

Flip Throws Drill

Purpose: To execute backhand flips off hit balls, a great drill to teach players a part of the
softball throwing mechanics.

Procedure: Two lines of fielders stand about 15 feet apart facing the hitter. A hitter hits a ball to
the first player in the fielding line. The fielder flips the ball to a teammate at the front of the
opposite line, who throws to a catcher near the hitter. The catcher feeds the hitter so that the drill
continues rapidly. Practice both the forehand and backhand flips.

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