Build Batter Concentration With This Softball Hitting Drill
Softball training focuses a great deal on pitching performance, as well as the ability of players to catch and field the ball. Those are essential elements, certainly, but teams cannot afford to neglect hitting. Accuracy, power and attention are vital elements for any batter, and will help ensure that while your pitcher and outfield are able to do their jobs, you’re also able to score runs. After all, the best defense in the world won’t make up for 0 runs. The colored ball soft toss drill is designed to help hitters struggling with concentration and stance.
A Look at the Drill
This is a simple drill that focuses on ensuring hitters are able to concentrate and keep the weight back. It really only requires two people – someone to toss the ball and the hitter. To get started, the coach will need to take the pitching position and toss the ball to the hitter. Of course, it’s more complicated than just tossing the ball and letting the batter hit.
The coach will need to pitch at two different heights. Before beginning the drill, the coach must determine color names for each height, and then call the name as the ball is tossed. The batter will hit the called ball into a fence or practice screen. The coach should change things up by fake tossing and changing the ball’s release point during the drill to keep the player on her toes and paying attention. Toss speed should also be varied.
Once the basic drill has been mastered, it can be changed in a number of different ways to broaden the hitter’s experience. For instance, try throwing three different heights/colors. You can also add confusion by having a partner call out colors that aren’t actually included in the drill. This forces the player to block outside noise and focus solely on her stance and the pitcher.
Teams can also replace the colors with numbers – write them on the ball with a marker to really see how close the batter is paying attention.
While the attention focus factor is obvious in this drill, a bit of explanation is necessary to understand how it benefits stance and weight management. It’s really all down to learning how to adjust her hitting stance based on the pitch being thrown.
Tips and Tricks
This drill is ideal for use in any number of situations. It can be added to your team practice on the field, but it can also be done off the field. It only requires two people and enough space for the pitcher to toss the ball and the hitter to swing the bat. It can be performed inside a gym if using a softie, but it can also be performed in a back yard as well. By adding a third person to the mix, the element of confusion (outside distractions) can be replicated off the field as well. It’s not particularly suited to solo performance, though.
To really keep your hitter on her toes, consider adding two or even four additional pitch heights and colors, and then mixing them up (don’t throw the same pattern of colors time after time, as this teaches the hitter very little). Varying the mix and adding different colors at different times ensures that hitters get used to staying alert and watching for telltale signs of what an opposing pitcher might have in the pipe.