High Intensity Softball Fielding Drills
High impact softball fielding drills are those that sharpen the reflexes, increase agility, and help softball players maintain strength and coordination in the muscles of the hips and core. Excellent fielding comes from a fast, low center of gravity and the ability to respond to sudden changes with explosivity and accuracy.
The standard four corner drill involves four agility cones set in a square and coach or partner who sends the player through a series of sprints and backpedals between the cones. In the video below, Trevor Theismann from KbandsTraining.com takes a softball team through a variation of the typical four corner drill, one in which the players start at the center, execute a series of direction changes, and field a ground ball before passing the drill off to the next player on the team.
Coaches and softball players can use softball workouts like these to keep the reflexes sharp and work on body position during catches and fielding maneuvers. These softball fielding drills require very little equipment-- just four agility cones, a ball, and a set of Kbands resistance bands for each player.
Softball Fielding Drills: Setting Up the Drill
Before launching into this set of softball workouts, coaches can place the four agility cones in a square about five yards apart. Meanwhile, players can warm up, stretch, and attach the Kbands by placing the straps around the upper legs and clipping the resistance bands to the metal rings. Softball players should remember to keep the straps snug but not tight, and to attach the long resistance band in the back and the shorter band in the front.
Softball Fielding Drills: Moving Through the Drill
At the beginning of this set of softball fielding drills, the softball player will stand at the center of the four agility cones. The softball coach (or partner if players are executing this drill on their own) will call out or point to one of the four cones in the square. As soon as the signal is given, the softball player will move toward the indicated cone as fast as possible with the body oriented correctly.
To reach the cones at the back of the square, the softball player will drop her shoulder back, take a half step in the direction of the cone, then move into a full sprint with her body facing in that direction. But she’ll need to keep her attention on the coach to be prepared for the next direction. To move to a cone at the front of the square, the softball player will sprint forward. To move to a cone that lies in a lateral direction, the softball player will execute a side to side shuffle.
After sending the softball player through a series of sprints and lateral motions between the agility cones, the coach will deliver a ground ball. The softball player will field the ball, send it back, and hand the drill off to the next player in line.
This set of softball fielding drills will be more effective if it’s included as part of a circuit, so softball players stay in constant motion rather than waiting in line. The team can also be divided up into small groups, so the players move continuously through the process and heart rates stay elevated. In either case, the more time softball players stay in motion, the more effective the drill will be and the more benefit players will receive from the temporary sensation of lightness that occurs after the resistance bands are unclipped from the straps. Ideally, each softball player should complete the drill several times with the bands in place, then remove the bands and execute the drill at least once without resistance.
Softball Fielding Drill: Technique
As softball players move through this set of softball fielding drills, they’ll need to concentrate on attention, technique and body position. At all times, the softball player’s attention should be focused on the motion of the ball and the action of the game, which in this case refers to the signals given by the coach. Even while dropping the shoulder and sprinting toward the cones at the back of the square, the softball player should be tuned in to the next set of directions and ready to respond with light speed.
Technique during the sprint will also be central to the effectiveness of the drill. Most important, softball players will need to keep the feet wide and the center of gravity low to the ground. If the chest comes up and the hips move forward ahead of the torso during the sprint from one agility cone to the next, softball players loose momentum, speed, and control.
Technique during the first step of each direction change will also be critical to the value of this drill. As the softball player leaves her current position and breaks into a sprint toward the next cone, the first step should be short so the hips (the engine of motion) stay behind the torso. This allows the player to dig in and reach maximum sprint speed within a short number of strides. At the first step, it’s also important to drive the knee up toward the chest to maximize the power of the first stride.
As in any fast sprinting motion, the hips should stay back, the knees should drive up, and the arms should be fully engaged. At each stride, the arm should complete a full range of motion and the hand should move all the way from the cheek to the hip bone.
Softball Fielding Drills: Final Notes
After completing this set of softball fielding drills, softball players and coaches can visit the training tab above to access an additional set of softball training videos coving everything from warm up drills, to speed and agility, to basic hitting and fielding technique. Each of these drills can stand on its own, but adding the targeted resistance of the Kbands resistance bands can rapidly increase the development of core strength, coordination, and speed. Explore the site for more information about the benefits of resistance and suspension training using the Kbands, the KB Duo, and the KB Powerbands.
Softball Training Equipment