Any level of softball league requires its players to practice more often. It will help them focus on their weaknesses as an athlete and improve their skills as a player. Creating a softball practice plan is one of the best ways to keep the players committed to practicing softball techniques and drills.
Whilst softball practices aim for the player’s improvement, these should also keep them entertained and involved. Most of them, especially kids look forward to games thus, you must keep their every practice session interesting.
A written practice plan will ensure that every player is engaged in the activity and gets the same opportunities. If you will do this ahead of time, you can accomplish your practice goals according to planned. Planning will also keep the players united and working in their areas.
Below are some tips and recommendations on how you can organize and plan your own softball practice.
If you are coaching a team, plan your practice accordingly. It will be based on many instances, such as the player’s preference, availability of practice area or field or the weather condition. You can start by practicing the team at least twice a week.
Likewise, the content of the practice will vary depending on which aspects of the game the team needs to work.
Warming-Up and Conditioning
The first and most crucial part of every practice is the conditioning and warm-up session. Proper warm-up will prevent them from acquiring injuries and helps condition their body. You can start with basic exercises, light jogging and stretching. Allot at least 10 minutes for warm-up segment.
There are conditioning circuits to help build their stamina. You can combine these ideas with other drills and conditioning routine
- Jumping rope is an efficient exercise that is incorporated in almost every exercise routine. Five sets of 1-minute per set of jumping is a great start. You can follow it with high knee jumping, jumping jacks or other calisthenics exercises.
- For younger kids, coaches are encouraged to use skill building warm-up activities. These activities will help the kids to warm-up their body while also developing their softball skills.
- Conditioning or station drills are also considered pre-exercise activities. Playing Catch is another important part of the part of the practice. Traditionally, it was part of warming-up segment.
- Make sure that every player is executing the proper throwing and catching technique.
Shorter drills can be included in your softball practice plan to make it more interesting. You can make alterations if needed.
- Since pitching is one of the most important factors in softball games, it is a must to include pitching accuracy drills to your practice plan. The pitcher can throw from 10 feet past the pitcher’s mound and make her pitch for about 20 times. This will allow the player to improve his pitching accuracy.
- Line up the players and group them into two: the other group will start from the home plate to right-field foul line and the other group will do the same up to the left-field foul pole. Each of the players that are standing at the home plate will be given a softball. Both of them will throw it to the next player in line.
Continue doing this until the ball reaches the final person on the line, then reverse the manner until the ball reaches the catcher. The first team to complete the routine without dropping the ball wins.
Other activities are Fly Ball Communication, Skill Station Rotation, Base Running, Cuts-Relays, Rundowns and Fly Balls. You can incorporate all of these activities in your practice or make a variation.
Batting practice must be one of the staples in every practice session. This will hone the batter’s performance and improve the accuracy of their swing. Play situation hitters to teach them how to hit the ball where it is pitched.
Make It Fun!
Although the players need to focus on enhancing their skills in playing softball, making every practice session fun and entertaining will benefit them as well. Include fun conditioning drills such as game situation hitting or form throwing in your practice and make sure that every player will be engaged in these activities. You can also try having a friendly competition among the players to keep them alert and interested.
It is important that they will give their 100% and that they will look forward to every practice session. Players should be always moving and learning something new.