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U9 & U11 Tips & Drills
- If you are the home team, ensure the field is ready and prepped before game time - whenever possible assign 2 parents to complete
- Have practice plan ready before game time, ensure you’ve got enough to cover the time needed
- Ideally you will have a warmup , then drills that work on :
- Base running
- Try to incorporate at least one fun game and a water break
- Ensure you have a lineup complete with positions for 3 innings
- Set positions so that players are rotating - as the season goes on you can play some players more in positions they are more suited for or enjoy playing
- Ask players which positions they like and try to play them more there when possible
- Introduce yourself and go around getting player names. Use name tags so you can learn their names and the players can learn each other’s names as well.
- An idea for the first drill is playing catch while calling out the other player's name that the throw is going to - this will hopefully help the players learn their teammates names.
- Familiarize the team with the different positions with a quick game. Have the team run to a position that the coach calls out.
- Understanding that some players may be new to softball - it may be helpful to quickly review if the players know which way they throw/bat and if they know where to stand in the batter’s box and the directions of the bases
- Adult pitchers should have 5-7 balls so that if the catcher misses the pitch you can quickly pitch another.
- Ensure at least 1 coach/parent is ensuring the next hitter is ready to go to the on deck circle.
- Ensure a tee is ready near the backstop in case a player needs to use it while batting
- An easy way to set the batting lineup is to write out the players alphabetically and then after each inning, the next player on the list bats first. So the order remains the same but each player takes turns going first and going last (getting to run around all the bases). This also helps players remember who they bat after.
- One way to ensure fairness in field positions is to align the player's position in the batting order with the position they will play in the field for that inning. Having the first batter be the catcher ensures that they will be the first player to return to the dugout and will have the most time to put on the catching gear for the next inning. Also, try to alternate the positions so that they aren’t in a similar spot for the entire game.
- Example of batting order changing for each inning, while positions within the order stay the same:
WARM-UP / FUN GAMES
- Have a coach or player go to the middle of the diamond with their eyes closed
- Counting down from ten the rest of the team will split up onto one of the 4 bases
- At the end of the count the person in the middle will call out a base ad everyone at that base is out
- This continues until there is only player left (bases can be removed as number of players decreases)
- Have a coach or player be "Simon"
- Play "Simon Says" with softball terms (swing, bunt, throw, catch, run, etc)
- Switch up who is Simon and see if players can think of new terms or actions related to softball
- Have either a coach or player be the wolf
- The rest of the team starts behind the wolf and asks what inning it is
- The wolf will call out a number and that is the number of steps the team takes towards the wolf
- At some point the wolf should call “time to play ball” and turns around and runs back to the starting point as fast as possible
- Whoever the wolf beats back to the starting point is out (tagging players is also an option depending on COVID restrictions)
Name your teammate and throw:
- Have the players group up in groups of 2 or 3 and play catch. Before each throw the player throwing needs to call out the first name of the player they are throwing to and make eye contact to ensure they are looking. Switch players around after a couple minutes so that everyone can learn each other’s names.
Glove position drill:
- Ideal with multiple coaches so that players get more repetitions.
- Review the positioning of the glove when making a catch. ie fingers pointing up if the ball is above the belt and pointing down if below the belt.
- Have coaches/helpers throw balls (underhand to start) at various levels so that players can practice catching moving their glove at different angles.
Playing catch, gradual length:
- All players are paired up at a set length (approx 10-12 feet). If both players make good catches, then they would take one step back and progress as far as possible. If a ball is dropped they would need to reset to the starting point.
- Highlight where to aim (chest) as well as ensuring your partner is ready to catch and that the catching player should be ready to move their feet to get to the ball if needed.
Self-throw fly balls:
- To begin working on catching fly balls have players throw balls in the air and practice getting under the ball and making catches with fingers pointing up (no basket catches)
- See how many they can catch in a row, progress to throwing with a partner.
Fly balls with coach:
- Review getting moving to get under the ball and the proper positioning of the glove.
- Start with throwing fly balls directly to the players and as they progress have them move in and back, left and right.
Duck, duck, goose:
- Have the team form a circle being at least 6 feet apart from each other with their gloves.
- With the coach in the middle of the circle, throw a ball to one of the players and the player to their left will then need to run around the outside of the circle back to where they began before the group passes the ball around the circle back to the starting player.
- Throws should be quick, easily catchable underhand tosses
- Alternate runners so that everyone has a chance to try
- This can be made easier/harder by making the circle bigger or smaller or having the runner run around the circle twice
Relay throwing race:
- Set the team into 2 groups, with each group going into a line 15 feet apart from each other.
- With the ball starting at the same end, begin the race by throwing to the next person in line and all the way to the end of the line and back. Whichever team returns the ball back first wins.
- Review turning to your glove side when making a throw to the next player
- Alternate positions within the line so everyone can be in the middle at the ends
Throw for distance:
- Have each player take a ball one a time and throw from a stand still position
- Redo the same drill but allow players to make a running start to make the throw
- Review footwork and arm angle and discuss which way made the ball go farther
Batting & Running Bases
Swing and run:
- Line-up team and have them all setup with an imaginary bat and have them swing and run through first base.
- Progress to hitting off tee, or hit from a coaches pitch, ensuring they run hard through first base
Hit and drop bat:
- Using softies or wiffle balls pitch balls to players one by one and have them hot the ball and run to first.
- Emphasize importance of dropping the bat after hitting and not throwing the bat.
Hit off tee into net - change tee levels:
- With helpers feed balls onto the tee for players to hit into bow-nets
- As players progress start to change the tee levels to give them practice hitting a higher or lower pitch
Team batting practice:
- Split into groups of 2 or 3 depending on the number of helpers available
- Have all players put on their batting helmets and bring their bats out and their fielding gloves
- Using wiffle balls or foam balls have one player hit 12 - 15 pitches while the rest of the group collects the balls and quickly switch out to the next hitter
Strike zone drill:
- Review strike zone with team, ball over plate, knees to armpits
- Encourage swinging at all pitches that are close
- Have a coach/helper throw pitches with some pitches in the strike zone and some outside
- Have player explain why it was a strike or a ball
Extra base running:
- Line up players at home base and have them run to 1st base
- Next review with the team how to take a slight turn to hit the inside part as 1st base to go to 2nd base
- Have each player start at home and run for a double
- Last, have the team run around all the bases, emphasizing hitting the inside corner of each base
- Ensure players are dressed appropriately for sliding
- Have all players go on the ground and setup their legs for a proper slide (foot tucked under the opposite knee with straight leg foot up, hands in the air)
- Have players take turns attempting to slide
Team dragon race:
- Split team into 2 groups with one on home plate and the other on 2nd base
- On go, one player from each team runs around the bases and either hands a ball to the next person in their group or hits the starting base to trigger the next person to run
- The group to run around the bases first wins
FIELDING / THROWING
Middle , left, right ground balls with coach
- Split teams into groups depending on the amount of helpers
- With players in a lineup have each player take 3 ground balls (1 directly to them, 1 to the right and 1 to the left)
- Review footwork to move to the ball and positioning body to be ready to throw
Ground ball goals
- Split the team into groups of 2 with pylons setup as goals for each player
- Have each player roll the ball towards the other trying to get the ball in between the pylons to score a point
- Ensure the length between players and the width of the pylons make sense so it isn’t too easy or too hard
Throwing to 1st base:
- Split players up at 3rd base and shortstop with a bownet setup at 1st base
- Hit alternating ground balls to the groups and have them throw into the net at 1st base. 1 point each time the ball goes into the net.
- Select some items to use as targets (stuffed animals, pylons, anything that won’t break)
- Lineup the players and set up the items at 15-20 foot distance and roll ground balls and see if the players can hit the targets. 1 point per hit.
- Place players throughout the infield, hit ground balls to each position having them throw to first.
- (2-3 reps per position) if there is enough players include base runners after coach hits grounders
Take the ball back
- Split the team into 2 groups
- Take all the balls you have and dump them in one pile - ensure an odd number of balls
- Separate the teams from the pile of balls roughly the distance of home to 1st base
- On go, one player from each team runs to the pile and brings it back to their group, the next player goes once they return and this continues until all the balls are gone. The team with the most balls wins.
1st base foot work:
- Separate half the team at 1st base and the other half at 2nd base
- Review footwork and foot placement at first base when making a catch. Ensure throwing side foot is on the base with the other leg extended towards the ball to make the catch
- Hit ground balls to 2nd base with throws to 1st base and practice the footwork at 1st base
- Alternate players and groups to make sure an even amount of reps
Softball BC Resources
For issues regarding Uniforms, Equipment, Field Equipment, and Sanitation Supplies please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To book practices, cancel games or practices please contact email@example.com
For administrative questions please contact the following:
U8 - U10 - Corri Roberts - firstname.lastname@example.org
U12 - U19 - Ainsley Beattie - email@example.com
For coaching questions and support please contact Cory Rayson - firstname.lastname@example.org
It is the responsibility of the Home team to cancel a game due to weather or poor field conditions. This should be done no less than 1 hour ahead of game time.
The Home team is responsible for contacting the other team, our Field Schedulers Erika & Erin via email at email@example.com and our UIC Paul Muirhead via phone call or text to 778-384-6081.
- LFA Teams are to pick up players from LFA teams only.
- They must be from the same division/classification or lower. Ie. If a U15C team needs a pick-up, they must pick up from U13C only.
- If a U17B team needs a pick-up, they can pick up from U17C, U15B, or U15C.
- Players are not permitted to play with teams outside of LFA without prior permission from the LFA President.