Fun drill for 7 and 8 rec league girls softball.

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Mar 12, 2010
4
0
Maybe someone can lead me in the right direction, I'm coaching my daughters 7 and 8 year old rec team. What I'm looking for is a practice structure that keeps most of the girls moving and attention. I've been to other practices where the coach just hits fly balls and or they have batting practice which to the fielders can be boring. I would say practice will probably be an hour to an hour and a half maybe once or twice a week. I really want to concentrate on the fundamentals being this is coach pitch.
Perhaps somebody can give me advice as to deal with the parents such as the goals they expect etc.

Thanks,
Pat
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
7,122
113
Dallas, Texas
Excellent question. Your heart is in the right place.

At that age, I suggest:

(A) Individual defensive skill work (20 min)
(B) Team defensive skills (15 min)
(C) Batting (30 min)
(D) Game (20-30)

Individual skill work

One group goes with one coach for popups. The other goes for grounders. Both are done the same way--you line the girls up, you hit a grounder/pop-up, then the next girls gets in line. (IMPORTANT: hit, do not throw, grounders or pop-ups). You want to do hit these as quickly as you can. Keep the line moving. After 10 minutes, the groups switch.

As long as you keep the kids moving, they'll be fine.


Team defensive skill

I hate this kind of work, but at your age group, you've got to spend some time with the girls "in position". you put them in position, and then you hit them balls, and tell them where to throw the ball.

Do it for 15 minutes, every practice. When the girls start spacing out (and they will), stop and have them run a lap around the bases.

Batting

The goal is for each kid to swing the bat 100 times. So, you need all kinds of stations set up--batting tees, soft toss, live pitching, wiffle balls, dry swings, etc.

Game

Always end with a game. My favorite is "shotgun". You divide your team into three groups. one group bats, one group plays infield, one group plays outfield.

the coach pitches. The batter gets 1 or 2 swings. A point is scored for each base the batter reaches successfully. The batter never stays on the bases, but comes in. After 3 outs or after that group has batted around twice, rotate the groups.

Keep it moving, and "play" with the kids. Tease them, joke with them, give one team an unfair advantage, make the best kid hit left handed, whatever. Just have fun.

GENERALLY

Be very careful in picking your assistant coaches. There are three types:

(A) Mr/Mrs. Jock--"I played one year of HS baseball. I watched the Cubs in spring training. Therefore, I know all there is to know about softball."
(B) Mr/Mrs Wonderful--"These girls are so sweet. They are so nice. Oh, gosh, I hope they don't hurt themselves. I don't want them to break a fingernail. Oh, and here are some pretty ribbons for their hair."
(C) Mr/Mrs "Let get the job done"--"Life is short, kids are fun. Where do we start?"
 
Last edited:
Nov 24, 2009
54
0
Chicagoland
First, as far as parents, I usually setup a parent meeting before practice begins. I outline my coaching philosophy and my expectations of the girls and parents. In there I mention the fact that I will keep practice fun and entertaining but with the goal of teaching fundamentals.

So in order to accomplish that you are on the right track, keep things moving. You'll want 10 - 15 min at each drill or instruction. I usually start with how to hold a ball and how to throw, ironically whether I'm coaching 8 yr old or 15 yr old I always start my first practice with that. You'll be surprised on how many so called "experienced" travel players still don't know the basics. Then I'll have some kind of fun drill where we can put into practice what they learned, in the case of throwing I set up a bucket upside down on a tee and put the girls 20 ft away to see who can hit it. It's alot of fun but while they're throwing I'm correcting the technique. The same is true for fielding and hitting.

In summary,
1) Spend 5 min or so with instruction
2) Spend 10 min or so with a fun drill reinforcing what you just taught
3) Next practice review what you learned at the first practice for the first 10 min

BTW, another drill I do to end most of my practices at that age group is a race. Split the team in 2 groups. Put 1st group at home plate, put the 2nd group at 2nd base. It's a tag team race, so once you yell go the first girl in both teams start to run the bases. The girl at home will head towards 1st while the girl at 2nd base will head towards 3rd base. They both continue around the bases until the reach back to their starting point and then the next girl in line goes. The team who gets their girls around the bases first wins. We usually run this 2 or 3 times at the end and they LOVE it. You can add a softball into the mix by having them run with it and hand it off like a baton. It not only entertains them but it eventually teaches them the correct direction to run (yeah that's a problem at this age) and that by cutting the corner of the base they will be faster. Good all around drill.

I love coaching the young kids, have fun.

-Tom
 
Mar 12, 2010
4
0
First, as far as parents, I usually setup a parent meeting before practice begins. I outline my coaching philosophy and my expectations of the girls and parents. In there I mention the fact that I will keep practice fun and entertaining but with the goal of teaching fundamentals.

So in order to accomplish that you are on the right track, keep things moving. You'll want 10 - 15 min at each drill or instruction. I usually start with how to hold a ball and how to throw, ironically whether I'm coaching 8 yr old or 15 yr old I always start my first practice with that. You'll be surprised on how many so called "experienced" travel players still don't know the basics. Then I'll have some kind of fun drill where we can put into practice what they learned, in the case of throwing I set up a bucket upside down on a tee and put the girls 20 ft away to see who can hit it. It's alot of fun but while they're throwing I'm correcting the technique. The same is true for fielding and hitting.

In summary,
1) Spend 5 min or so with instruction
2) Spend 10 min or so with a fun drill reinforcing what you just taught
3) Next practice review what you learned at the first practice for the first 10 min

BTW, another drill I do to end most of my practices at that age group is a race. Split the team in 2 groups. Put 1st group at home plate, put the 2nd group at 2nd base. It's a tag team race, so once you yell go the first girl in both teams start to run the bases. The girl at home will head towards 1st while the girl at 2nd base will head towards 3rd base. They both continue around the bases until the reach back to their starting point and then the next girl in line goes. The team who gets their girls around the bases first wins. We usually run this 2 or 3 times at the end and they LOVE it. You can add a softball into the mix by having them run with it and hand it off like a baton. It not only entertains them but it eventually teaches them the correct direction to run (yeah that's a problem at this age) and that by cutting the corner of the base they will be faster. Good all around drill.

I love coaching the young kids, have fun.

-Tom

Wow, thank you Tom, that is awesome stuff. I will use every bit of it.
 
Mar 12, 2010
4
0
Thanks , that's great stuff. The site is awesome very informative. I'll be back periodically with some more questions.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
7,122
113
Dallas, Texas
Then I'll have some kind of fun drill where we can put into practice what they learned, in the case of throwing I set up a bucket upside down on a tee and put the girls 20 ft away to see who can hit it.

That is a great idea!
 
May 7, 2008
8,506
48
Tucson
There are many books available on coaching softball, that have fun ideas.

Look on Amazon. Or 2 that I can think of are Defensive Softball Drills - Jacquie Joseph, and Softball Skills and Drills Judi Garman.
 
B

Bohatyaor

Guest
The girl at home will head towards 1st while the girl at 2nd base will head towards 3rd base. They both continue around the bases until the reach back to their starting point and then the next girl in line goes. The team who gets their girls around the bases first wins.????
 
Jun 27, 2011
5,089
0
North Carolina
The girl at home will head towards 1st while the girl at 2nd base will head towards 3rd base. They both continue around the bases until the reach back to their starting point and then the next girl in line goes. The team who gets their girls around the bases first wins.????

Relay races are fun. Often ended practices with that.

Also ended many practices with a 'pop fly' drill. I'd put the players on the 3rd base line. One by one, I would throw them a ball. If you miss it, you're out, you can go home now. The first balls were very easy to catch, basically a soft toss. Throws got progressively higher and harder and farther away. Can't remember if this was the case in 8U rec, but by first-year 10U rec, the winners would often be surprising. Some of the better players often got eliminated because of random drops or overconfidence. Focus and desire was almost as important as ball-catching skills.
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,848
83
When my DD was in 8U her favorite activity was a game the coach saved for the end of practice. The Angry Birds game. He's set up 2 buckets with an angry bird doll on each one. Divide the girls in half. They'd throw a ball at the bucket and try to knock the bird off. I think they got 1 point if they hit the bucket, 3 if they hit the actual bird. There was always cheering, laughing, jumping and lots of fun, with the added bonus of helping with throwing accuracy. :)
 

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