While a majority of what you learn through your softball years will be on a field, in front of coaches and teammates or at workshops, let’s not underestimate the results you can achieve from practicing on your own. To get better at the game of softball, you will want to continually try to improve every aspect of your game no matter your current situation. We’ve decided to come up with our shortlist of drills/practices that you can do when no one else is around to help you out. Work on some (or all) of these and watch your skills improve over time.
What do you need: Bat
Optional: Video Camera
This one is quite simple. Get into your normal stance and once there practice your bat swing. You’re not looking for QUANTITY, but instead, shoot for QUALITY. It’s much better for you to do 25 great swings than 150 bad swings. During this drill, slow it down at times. Focus on all of your body mechanics during this and eventually you will start feeling a more repeatable, stronger swing if you continue to work on this. Look for areas you can improve on during this drill. Try to think of anything your coaches have been wanting you to work on during your swing and work on that. For a little extra bonus, you can videotape yourself and watch it in slow motion to spot any swing issues.
What do you need: Tennis Ball, Hard Wall
This is another very simple, yet effective drill. You just throw the ball hard up against the wall and catch it on the return. You can move closer to the wall to make it more difficult, and also make sure your throwing at different spots on the wall to get the ball to return in different areas. Do everything you can to stop the ball from getting by you. In return you will be more prepared to stop those fast line drives out in the real games.
What do you need: Area to sprint
Optional: Stopwatch (or stopwatch app on phone) (MARATHON Adanac 3000 Digital Sports Stopwatch Timer)
In both hitting and fielding, you must be prepared to sprint. Many players don’t really think about running as something you have to practice, however it is well worth it. How many times have you seen an out take place where you mutter to yourself “If she had been a little faster, she would have been safe”. It happens quite often that mere seconds are the difference between an out or being safe. A good little tip is, since baselines in softball are 60 feet in distance, this makes it a good starting distance for sprinting. If you want to try to best yourself, set up a specific distance and use a stopwatch to time your sprints. You will be delighted to see your times get quicker with continual practice on your sprinting.
What do you need: Concrete or other (preferably outdoor)strong wall, Tape (not clear), Softball
Optional: Net (replaces wall/tape) (Easton XLP Net)
As a pitcher you want to be able to hit the strike-zone at will. This, of course is only going to come with practice. If you don’t have a net to catch the ball, don’t worry. A strong wall and some tape that you can use to mark a strike zone will work just fine (don’t use an inside wall or you’ll be finding a repair man to fix the hole you put into it!). Do your best to repeatedly hit the strike zone with every pitch. Can you hit different parts of the strike zone? If not work on that. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect but it does make progress. If you can get a net for this it makes it an even better option as many of the hitting nets come with strike zone markers that can be used to throw into as well. Not only will this drill help with pitch placement, but you should also get a little added benefit of some amounts of gain of arm strength as well if done often.
What do you need: Balled up socks, Mirror, hallway or wide room, tape (not clear)
This is a bit of a twist on the pitching drill we just mentioned. With this you can be inside (think rainy days) and get in a very simple, yet effective practice. All you have to do is to ball up a sock(s) for pitching, place the mirror at the end of a hall or wide room and then mark a line of tape from you to the middle of the bottom of the mirror. You can then take the tape and mark a “strike zone” on the actual mirror as well. Practice pitching slow or fast into the mirror and watch your form during the session. Once again think back to any tips your coaches have given you during your pitch and make sure that you are able to see yourself doing this while practicing.
What do you need: Cellphone capable of running Softball BasIQs app (free) Download here for iphone OR Download here for android.
So we came across this neat little app recently as Softball Galaxy, and upon first review it seems to be a pretty decent little app for helping you decide what to do during certain plays. Pick your position and once loaded up it will put you into specific situations where you choose what to do and the app will help you decide why you did or didn’t pick the right response to the situation. Although there seems to be a few issues with connecting through our Facebook accounts, once signed in through email we didn’t have any more issues and actually enjoyed this type of app.