The ability to throw strike after strike is vital. While there’s no way to guarantee that every pitch is going to be a strike, it’s the coach’s job to ensure that his or her players have the accuracy, speed and endurance necessary. This drill teaches what’s needed, and also helps enhance natural abilities through repetition and speed. It’s a very simple drill, but for all that simplicity, it’s an excellent addition to any practice roster.
What Does It Teach?
On the surface, it seems like this drill teaches exactly what the name says – how to throw strikes. That’s certainly part of it. However, pitching ten successive strikes requires stamina, endurance, speed, power and a good eye, and this drill will help your pitchers hone all of those areas. It will also help your catchers. They will be the ones responsible for determining whether or not a particular pitch was actually a strike, so this is an invaluable chance for them to improve their attention to detail and analysis skills.
How It Works
The 10 strikes drill is simplicity itself. You need nothing more than all of your pitchers, a catcher with game equipment, and enough gloves to go around. Have the pitchers line up behind the mound, with the player pitching standing on the mound and the rest far enough back so as not to be distractions. The first pitcher will throw until she’s scored 10 strikes. The number of pitches should be counted, as it will come into play with the next pitcher in the line. If you have pitchers that need considerable work on throwing strikes, position the best pitcher at the front.
Once the first pitcher is done, the second should take her place. It’s now her task to throw 10 strikes, but with fewer pitches then the first pitcher. Follow this pattern down the line. The last pitcher will be trying to beat the number of pitches thrown by the second to last, which should be significantly lower than what the initial pitcher was able to achieve. Each pitcher must throw 10 strikes, though. If one pitcher throws more pitches than the goal without reaching 10 strikes, she should move to the rear of the line, and the next pitcher must compete against the preceding pitcher’s goal. For instance, if a pitcher has a goal of throwing 10 strikes in 19 pitches, but throws 20 pitches without reaching the goal, the next pitcher in line then has to throw 10 strikes in 19 pitches, and so on.
The catcher should judge all pitches. If the catcher gets tired during this drill, swap her out with a fresh player. It’s important to have good accuracy and fresh eyes here; otherwise, the benefits of the drill are lost.
Coaches should observe this drill to determine not only which pitchers need more work on accuracy, but also which ones could benefit from additional endurance and power training.
Tips and Tricks
The 10 strikes drill is ideal for teams, but it can be modified to fit other needs as well. It’s also ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. As a note, if you’ll be performing this drill indoors, it’s better to use a softie, rather than a conventional softball to avoid any potential damage to walls, doors or light fixtures. If performing this drill without a full team, you’ll need at least two players (one to act as the pitcher and another to act as the catcher). Again, the catcher should be responsible for judging which pitches are strikes.