Indoor Softball Drills For Infielders & Importance
Softball has a lot of levels. Some of the best teams will tell you that their practices focus a lot more on fielding and defensive strategy over their hitting. While there are certainly great strides that any team can make with making better contact at the plate and hitting more consistently, fielding should be the primary focus of any young team.
Getting your infielders to work as one solid unit can be a difficult hurdle to overcome, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible feat. With a little bit of focus and determination to some later listed drills, your team can start responding more cohesively.
There are several different reasons why softball drills are important overall. Everything from outdoor to indoor softball drills for infielders offers a wide range of potential skills that your players can develop and hone. Here are three key reasons that softball drills are important in general.
Team Is More Rounded
This same point could be made about just general practice as well, but specialized practices with your individual units (like the infielders) could help them focus more on their roles within the game.
Team Works Better
Together For all the infielders on your team, you want them to be able to get along and work well as a unit. If just one of the pistons in this elaborate engine isn’t working in tune with the others, the whole engine isn’t going to work properly. Specialized drills with your infielders help them to play well together.
Individual Positions Are Better Solidified
As any coach knows, positions have a tendency to change about halfway through the season. This is due to the specific strengths of certain players beginning to shine and show their true potential at a new position. This common practice allows coaches to identify where a change needs to (or at least likely should) happen.
Indoor Softball Drills For Infielders
Below you will find six of the most effective indoor softball drills for infielders along with a short description. These should give any level of the team a competitive edge through their infield during the current or upcoming seasons.
- Side To Side Drill
This is a very basic and easy drill to do with limited space. What this requires are your players to break off into teams of two. In teams, you will have each team take one ball and one of the two will get into a fielding position waiting for a rolling grounder.
The other teammate then rolls the ball to the left or to the right of the waiting fielder. Without crossing over their legs, the fielder needs to shuffle over, stop and field the ball appropriately. Once they have thrown the ball back to the sender, they shuffle the same way back to the middle and wait for the next toss. After a specified amount of time, switch the two so that the fielder becomes the thrower.
- Triangle Backhand Drill
This is an excellent way for each of your fielders to get a lot of backhand reps quickly through each practice. You break the players off into groups of three, and each one will form one of the three points of the triangle. One player will have a bucket of balls and begin to quickly roll them toward another selected point (player) on the triangle.
This player is then going to grab the ball and throw it to the last point on the triangle. It is important that the player catching the grounders remains in a ready position. It would be advisable to encourage your players to alternate their lead foot to get practice with backhands from either starting position. Shift positions with a whistle blow.
- Still-Ball Backhands
As the name would suggest, this drill involves a ball that is stationary and placed on the ground. You are using this drill to teach each player how to rake up a backhand. Each player is given their own ball for this drill and they will place it on the floor themselves. Then they will step back a grew paces from the ball they placed.
It is important to pay attention to each player as they approach their placed ball, as they need to have the correct backhand position while doing so. Follow through the entire process, having the player rake through. Fake a throw to a designated target and have each player reset their individual ball and go again.
- “Gator” Run-Down Drill
Run-down defense is a critical part of getting your team ready for any kind of situation in the infield. Practicing indoors means a more limited amount of space, but fortunately, this drill doesn’t require a lot of it.
Map out a diamond simulating the typical distance between all the bases. From home plate, a runner will begin advancing around all of the bases. The coach will then throw a ball to one of the players at a base. This player and the defender covering the base runner has passed, will be responsible for the run-down out, closing the gap on the runner until they can be tagged out. For those that are not in in-field positions, have those players acting as the runners in this exercise.
- 4 Corner’s Infield Drill
This drill offers a lot of versatility and skills for your infielders. Traditionally, this is used as a speed and accuracy drill for all of the infielders to get throws to every critical part of the infield diamond. This drill can be done in close proximity or having each player spread out in a genuine representation of the field.
Another modification that you could make to this drill involves throwing to one corner of the diamond and then having that player roll a grounder to the corner on their left. This player fields the grounder and then throws the ball across the diamond. This player then proceeds to roll a grounder to their left and the play continues until you stop it.
This is a drill that requires a lot of space indoors but isn’t impossible with the right amount of gym or rec room space This requires each player to be in their typical position on the field (just the infielders) at the normal distances apart. Two different coaches would then begin hitting grounders simultaneously.
One coach is hitting to the left side of the field and the other to the right side. For a designated amount of reps, the grounders that are being hit will be hit to the same player. They are tasked with fielding the grounder and throwing the ball to the same person each time. Then the grounders will go on to a new player. This is a way to generate habitual reactions.
Softball Infield Drills
With any luck, your use of these indoor infielder drills can really whip your defense into shape to better face the hitters that your league has coming in the upcoming seasons.
There are certainly a lot of other drills (both indoor and outdoor) that your team could use to play more as a cohesive unit, but these should start laying the ground work for some solid fielding from each and every player.