Like any skill, baseball and softball requires repetitive practice. Here are 5 simple drills every parent and athlete can practice with minimal equipment and a little time.
1. Short Hop Drill
Athletes perform this drill on their knees while a parent throws or hits ground balls to them. Tennis balls are a great option if this is an emerging skill.
2. Solo Fielding Drill
Athletes can perform this drill without any assistance. Using a tennis ball, the athlete should lob the tennis ball against the garage door and then field the ball. (Be certain to use a tennis ball – see the Taylor’s garage door as an example of why not to use a baseball!)
3. Long Toss Catch
Begin this drill as a typical game of catch. As the athlete becomes more comfortable, slowly increase the distance between players to work on arm strength and throwing greater distances. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your athlete’s arm but a little work every day will pay off in time.
4. Side Soft Toss
Standing to the side of the athlete at a 45 degree angle (left-handed batter, stand to their left; right-handed batter, stand to their right), soft toss the ball and have the athlete hit into a fence or netting.
5. Fly Ball Drill
Stand 10’ in front of athlete and throw fly ball into the air but over the athlete’s shoulder. Athlete will work on opening their hips to the side of the ball. For example, if the ball is over the right shoulder, the athlete needs to drop step with the right foot and square up again to catch the ball.