Outfield Drills For Softball In the sport of softball, the outfield is the last line of defense. They are the pitcher's last hope to record an out and possibly save a win for the team. Therefore, it's very important that a team is able to put together a solid outfield and that they have the necessary skills to play a position that can be really difficult at times. Putting the outfielders through various drills, can help them acquire these skills and keep the skills they already have as sharp as possible. Here then are five drills for softball outfielders to practice. Here then are five drills for softball outfielders to practice. Drill 1-Grapevine Purpose: To improve the footwork, concentration, and catching ability of all fielders while they move in both directions. Procedure: The coach stands about 10 feet in front of a line of players facing her and takes the ball from the first player in line. The coach points to the right. Player turns shoulder and hips to that side and runs perpendicular away from the coach. After about three or four steps, coach points in the other direction. Player, using the crossover step, turns the other direction, still running in a straight line away from the coach, never losing sight of the ball. After another three or fou r steps, coach points in original direction. Player then repeats previous crossover step and turns in original direction. Coach then throws a fly ball in the direction of the original point forcing the player to catch the ball by stretching over that side's shoulder. Player makes the catch and brings the ball back to the end of the line. It is important that the drill be executed full speed in a dead sprint, and that the player changes direction only when the coach makes the signal. Also, the player should never lose sight of the ball. The flys should be challenging and require a great deal of effort to make the catch. By the time the fielder has caught the ball, the next player in line has already set herself in the ready position. Drill 2-Outfield Loop Purpose: To field an assortment of batted balls and to field with different footwork positions. To throw to different bases and to condition. Procedure: This drill uses 5-9 players. Players are in left field and at second (with a ball) and third base, with a player catching and a fungo hitter at the plate. One player works through all the defensive plays that follow. 1. A ground ball is hit to the left fielder who throws it home. 2. The left fielder runs into center field where the second baseman throws a fly ball. The player catches the fly and throws it to second base. 3, Then the player runs into right field where the second baseman throws a ground ball toward the foul line. The player fields the ball and throws to third base. 4. Lastly, the player runs to left field where the batter hits her a ground ball which is thrown home. After the player completes the circuit, the outfielder becomes the catcher at home, the catcher rotates to third base, third base rotates to second base, and second base rotates to left field. Additional players are waiting their turns at the outfield position. Drill 3-Shoestring Catch Purpose: To practice making diving and shoestring catches. Procedure: This drill uses 2-10 players. The players form three lines, standing about 60 feet from the coach. The lines are positioned about 20 feet apart. The coach has all the softballs. The first player in line A runs toward the coach. When she is about halfway to the coach, a soft underhand toss is made to the player's left, right, o r straight ahead. If the player makes the diving catch, she should hold the ball up so the coach can see it. This will help the player remember to hold the ball up in games so the umpire can see that she caught the ball. The player attempts to make the catch, tosses the ball to the coach, and runs to the end of her line. The first player in line B then runs toward the coach and then the first player in line C. Drill 4-Bump Out Purpose: To put game-like pressure on the infielder or outfielder. Procedure: Set up for any of the defensive drills listed above. An additional player waits off to the side of the drill. When a fielder makes a throwing or fielding error, she leaves the drill and the player who is waiting replaces her. Every time an error is made the fielder steps out and the waiting player steps in. Drill 5-Full Field in Between With Tennis Balls Purpose: To practice communication among all outfielders handling in- between batted balls. Procedure: All outfielders and infielders are at their positions. A fungo hitter is at the plate with a tennis racket and tennis balls. The fungo hitter hits balls into all sections of the field. Tennis balls are caught and thrown off to the sides of the field. All fielders need to stay focused on the hitter, as the hitter alternates hits to the left and right side of the field. Marc Dagenais is a softball peak performance coach that provides softball tips, softball drills, and information on techniques for hitting, pitching, coaching, and training through his blog at http://www.softballperformance.com/blog He also helps softball players and coaches improves their game by sharing with them the tips and strategies used by the world's best softball players and coaches to achieve extraordinary performances. You can sig n- up to get his FREE Softball Tips at http://www.softballperformance.com/softball-tips.html Go Sign-up Now!