Coaching softball in game situations is stressful and requires the ability to multitask. Coaching in practice requires multitasking as well, but should be a much less stressful endeavor. A wise coach utilizes every minute of available practice time, and that requires organization. If players do not move briskly from one activity to the next, the wasted time will reduce the amount of work the team can do in a practice.
The ability to run a well-organized practice is a fundamental of coaching in the same way that keeping the glove down on grounders is a fundamental of fielding. Coaches build respect, and a bit of awe, in players when they provide them with individualized instruction that produces results on the field. Great coaches are thieves: They rob from the successful to provide the best instruction for the players in their charge.
Formulating a practice plan is as simple as slotting different drills and scenarios for different blocks of time within the practice. The following websites are great places to find beneficial activities that will help any team improve. Take what works; throw out what doesn’t and remember to schedule every exercise.
The softball spot is a great resource for softball coaches and backyard coaches alike to find drills and practice fodder. Regardless of the age of the players, there is a trove of information on this blog. The drills are written out in a simple tone that most everyone will appreciate, with no fluff or filler. All the free content is laid out intuitively, and all the important bases are covered.
Though the addition of new material appears to be sporadic, the dearth of drills and tips Softball Spot has accumulated warrants a visit. There is no way to go through it all in one sitting, and no doubt that some of the suggestions will earn slots in the practices of coaches at any level. If the site consisted only of the conditioning section, which gives drills for building position-specific strength and endurance, it would be worth the time to look into it.
One of the great things about Fastpitch TV is that it varies its contributors. As a player, it is wise to listen to fewer voices, but for coaches the opposite is true. The different voices on Fastpitch TV represent a wealth of viewpoints and experiences. The site has been in existence for a while, so the build of material is extensive.
The drills on Fastpitch TV are all presented in uncomplicated article form, and each is a short and direct read. To zero in on the type of drill you need, scroll to the bottom of the page and find the Categories drag-down menu. Under Drills, you will find categories like hitting, fielding, pitching, etc. For a nonstop barrage of useful drills, be sure to check out the “100 Coaches-100 Drills” segment.
Life in the Fastpitch Lane
Drills are fine and dandy. They serve their purpose and they undeniably have their benefits. But, practices are more than just a collection of drills, or, at least they should be. Longtime softball coach Ken Krause takes a more practical approach to practices, and his Fastpitch Lane blog puts his philosophy at your fingertips.
Articles like “Helping young hitters with a fear of the ball,” and “Crazy stuff people teach about hitting,” empower softball coaches to devise common-sense practices. Practicality is sorely missing in youth sports, particularly in select softball and baseball. Krause posts new material regularly, though by the nature of his blog, not every article is coaching-focused. However, the easy-to-navigate collection is full of tips for individualized instruction, with a sprinkling of well-informed drills and instruction.
Team Snap (Skills and Drills)
Team Snap is a software firm that facilitates better operation of team systems. Its “Drills and Skills” section is full of brief explanations of simple drills in article and video form. Most of the skills videos are available on YouTube, but with Team Snap’s blog there is no need to sift through mounds of videos in hopes of stumbling upon a good one.
To get to the “Drills and Skills” section from the homepage, click on the “Community” tab, then “Skills and Drills” will appear on a secondary tab bar. Scroll down to find “Softball.” The drills are divided into clickable categories that, while light on topics such as base running and catching, are loaded with content for the pillars of hitting, pitching and fielding.
Team Snap is still a thriving operation, but most of the links in the “Drills and Skills” section are from 2013. Softball does not change much over time, though, so the drills are still useful and will be for years to come. The written drills are accessible only through this site, though, and many of them are worthy of entire segments of practice time.