1. Balls to Spots
Purpose: To teach outfielders to run to a spot and then find the ball. This skill is used for balls that the player immediately knows are over head but that she can still catch. This drills includes a good conditioning element as well. This is one of the better outfield drills.
- Outfielders form a line at one of the starting positions (e.g. , everyone lines up in left field.) One outfielder is up at a time, and a coach is in front of the fielder. Prior to tossing the ball the coach picks a spot to the left or to the right of the player, approximately 30 feet behind her, and shows the spot to the player. This spot should be within the range of a sprinting outfielder.
- When the coaches tosses the ball to the designated spot the player puts her head down (taking her eyes off the ball) and sprints to the spot she thinks the ball will be. Next, she turns to find the ball and catches it.
- Toss 8-10 balls to a spot to the left of each outfielder and then repeat to the right.
2. Throw to Trash Can
Purpose: To develop accurate throws to bases. This drill emphasizes keeping the ball low and using one hop.
- Begin with outfielders in their positions. Place a large trash can on its side at home plate, with the open end facing the outfield.
- From the edge of the grass, toss grounders and fly balls to the outfielders. The outfielder fields the ball and throws it into the can on one hop (if possible).
- Outfielders field and throw 10-15 balls each: the total can vary depending on how much other throwing will be done that practice session.
3. Momentum Into the Throw
Purpose: To teach use of the total body, staying back, and moving into the ball.
- A tosser stands 5 feet in front of a fielder. Another player stands 50-100 feet from the fielder and acts as a target.
- The tosser begins by throwing a ball straight up in the air directly in front of the fielder.
- The fielder stays back and waits for the ball to come down, then catches the ball while moving forward and throws to the target all in one motion.
- Each player throws 5-8 balls.
4. Football Drill
Purpose: To catch fly balls with a good balance, glove work, and footwork.
Each player has a softball. The player gives the ball to the coach and then starts running straight ahead. The coach calls right or left and throws the ball in that direction. The fielder catches the ball and sprints to the end of the line behind the coach. A throw of 30 to 60 feet is sufficient and allows for more practice.
5. Drop-Step Reaction
Purpose: To learn to react and drop step to the appropriate side.
The coach faces players, who are in staggered position in three or four lines. The coach points direction with a ball. Players react with a drop step in that direction. They return to ready position and repeat. When the drop step becomes automatic, add the turn with inside and outside rolls. Then add easy tosses.