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Each month, thousands of youth softball coaches & parents scan the internet for fun and effective fastpitch softball drills for 8U, 10U, and 12U players.
While we often like to lump groups together into broad categories (travel ball, high school, rec league, etc.), the reality is that each group has subcategories with very specific needs. While many parts of the game apply for all age levels, a younger player is much different than an 18U player.
And as a result there are certain skills and drills that are great for an older, more experienced 18U player that may not be so good for the 10U girls (as an example).
I would encourage every coach that attends a conference to listen to each speaker through the “filter” of “does this apply to my team?” College coaches will be your typical speakers. While they nearly always deliver great information, they aren’t always teaching with younger players in mind.
And today’s post is written with the age-range of 8U-12U in mind.
Continue reading to learn some fun and effective fastpitch softball drills for the 8U, 10U or 12U aged- teams. If you would like even more drills you can click this link:
The truth is that these drills are good (and recommended) for nearly ANY age-group. However, they will specifically help a younger player with her fundamentals.
And with young players laying a great foundation of proper fundamentals is essential for future success!
This first of my four fastpitch softball drills for a 8U, 10U, or 12U player is a throwing drill. Proper throwing mechanics is one of the biggest challenges I have experienced with these age groups. Some of this is arm strength, while some is simply reinforcing proper fundamentals.
This drill will not fix all of your teams throwing woes. But it will help your players develop some body awareness for proper weight transfer during the throw.
In this drill, the player rocks back and forth with a ball in the middle of her body. You can see the video of the drill below:
A couple of important notes as you watch the drill:
The second drill is a fun softball hitting drill that I call the “Jump Back Drill.” Once again, developing body awareness is the critical element for this drill.
Note that for this drill, it might be too advanced for some 8U players. If you try it and it's overly difficult, then simply back off the drill.
Much like with the pendulum drill, this drill will help a player feel their weight transfer from the “back side” to the “front side.” This drill can help players develop proper weight transfer with their lower body. It can also help develop smoother upper body movements as the hitters hands separate from her body during the stride phase.
This drill may be a little awkward even for the 10U player initially, but she will improve with practice and time. And as she gets into the 12U “phase” of playing she will have this mastered. However, just be sure to watch her upper body to make sure it isn’t “flailing around” during the drill.
Below is a video that walks through the drill from start to finish.
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At the youth levels, teaching and reinforcing proper infield fundamentals is critical. Which is why I love using soft-hands paddles (also called "pancake gloves") for this age group.
This “drill” should progress from rolling grounders to your players, to possibly hitting grounders at them.
You do not need a lot of paddles to make this work (although it is easier with one paddle for each player). If your budget is tight, you could purchase 2-3 each season. If you do not have many paddles, simply have the players share.
A couple of important notes:
If you want to coach fastpitch softball, you NEED to do some team building with your girls. But if you neglect this area, you will lessen your impact and the desire of your players to stick with softball.
What's more, softball team building drills are always a fun way for the kids to get to know each other!
A very simple team building drill is using a “buddy system.” In a nutshell, here is how it works (and you can EASILY tweak this):
There you have it. That's four different fastpitch softball drills for 8U, 10U, and 12U coaches to use in practice. Nothing overly complicated…but for youth players keeping it simple is important!
Looking for more drills? Fill out the form below to receive more fastpitch softball drills for the 8U, 10U and 12U ages!
(By Tim Covey, Founder of Covey Sports)
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