9 min read

Good fastpitch softball hitting drills are essential for getting a lot of reps in a short amount of time. Whether you are working with your softball players on the batting tee, soft-toss, or front-toss you need quality drills to get more accomplished!

If you coach fastpitch, chances are good that you already use stations to help organize your practices.

If you aren’t, I highly recommend using practice stations for hitting to maximize practice time. Tee drills (especially for youth) should be at least one of those stations. And of course soft-toss & front-toss drills are great for rounding off your softball batting stations. 

Even if you don’t have a batting cage, you can very easily purchase portable hitting nets such as the BowNet to help you organize hitting stations!

But let’s get back to the hitting drills for your fastpitch softball team....

In this post, we will start with some fastpitch softball tee hitting drills to get you started. And then we will move to soft-toss and front-toss batting drills after that. 

Let's dive in...

Fastpitch Softball Tee Hitting Drills

Tee drills are essential for hitting improvement, whether you are coaching a 10U team or the varsity high school.

Unfortunately, these drills are often done incorrectly.

If you want to change a player’s mechanics, the tee is the best place to do it. Changing a player’s technique is MUCH more difficult with a ball moving at them. To help decrease frustration, have her work on it FIRST on the tee!

The softball tee drills below are great for batting practice for travel ball, high school, or college. And most of them will work for rec league teams as well. 

But before we dive in, it’s important as a coach to understand the proper set-up for tee-work. You will need to remind your players of this frequently because some of them WILL forget and then butcher their tee-work.

Placement of the Feet:

When using the tee for any drill, it is CRITICAL that players understand how to properly set themselves next to the tee:

Inside Pitch Location:

  1. The player should have the tee out in front of her foot after she takes her stride.
  2. This will allow her to hit the ball “out in front” properly for a simulated inside pitch.
Below is a softball batting tee drill video that covers hitting the inside pitch.  And below that are some pictures showing the set-up from the back-view and the side-view.

      To reinforce what is in the video, we have included a couple of pictures. In picture #1 below, notice how the tee is set-up out in front of the plate.

      If you do not have a plate to simulate pitch location, you will need to simply make sure that your hitters understand that they must set-up so the ball is in front of their foot after they take their stride.

        fastpitch softball batting tee drills

        In the second picture below, you can see from the side view that the ball once again is out in front of the stride-foot.

        That being said, the ball could actually be a little farther out in front of her foot to best simulate an inside pitch.
            fastpitch softball hitting tee drills

            Middle Location:

            1. To simulate a pitch down the middle, the tee/ball should be EVEN with the hitter’s front foot AFTER her stride has been taken. This allows them to work on taking this pitch back “up the middle.”
            2. If the hitter does not take a stride, then she can start even with the ball. The important thing is that the ball is even with the front-foot as the hitter begins her swing.
            3. Below are pictures of a back-view and a side-view of hitters working on middle location tee-work.
            4. In picture #1, the plate was used as a visual cue once again. You can see how the tee is set-up on the front-edge of the plate and directly in the middle of the plate.
              fastpitch softball hitting drills
              Most importantly, you can see in both pictures (above & below) how the hitters front-foot is even with the ball as they are swinging.

                Outside Location:

                1. For using the tee to work on outside pitches, the key is to have the ball BEHIND the front-foot after the player takes her stride.
                2. In both examples below, you can see how the ball is located behind the hitters front foot to allow the hitter to work on taking the pitch to the opposite field.
                3. In picture #1, you can see the ball traveling towards right field.

                  NOTE: Be sure that you have the tee set-up a little farther away from the player as well to simulate an outside pitch.

                  The top picture shows a good example of this with the tee located on the “back-outside” edge of the plate.

                  And in the picture below we have highlighted the tee and the hitters front foot. This gives you a clear view of the ball/tee being behind her front foot.

                    So there you have.  Those are the essential items for setting up tee drills for different pitch locations. 

                    Now that we understand the set-up, lets get to some drills!

                    Softball Tee Drill #1: Inside & Outside Hitting Locations:

                    The pictures and explanations above are actually what you will need for these first two softball batting tee drills. Once your players understand proper set-up based on location, simply assign a station as “outside tee-work” or “inside tee-work.”

                    You could also do “middle tee-work” if you simply wanted to have your players work on certain mechanics.

                    In fact, if you are working with a player individually on her mechanics, then the simple “middle tee drill” is what you will want to use much of the time.

                    Nothing fancy here, but you don’t always need “fancy.” Sometimes keeping it simple is best. These simple location drills are a great way to teach mechanics as well as helping players work on hitting each location properly (“contact points”).

                    One additional note: When doing these location tee drills, have your players look “out” at an imaginary pitcher before taking their swing. This will force their eyes to follow a path that is more similar to a game situation.

                    Tee Drill #2: Walk-Through Drill:

                    The “Walk-Through Drill” is a great way to help your players develop rhythm with their swing. It also helps them to feel how the upper body and lower body work together during the swing phase. The 3 pictures below show the different phases of the drill:

                    fastpitch softball batting tee drills

                    fastpitch softball batting drills
                    fastpitch softball batting tee drills
                    1. The player starts well behind the tee.

                    2. The goal is for her to end up with her front foot even with the ball at contact (middle tee location).

                    3. She can start with her hands just like is pictured here, OR with them in the middle of her body to emphasize proper movement of the hands during the load phase.

                    4. As shown in picture #2, the batter then takes her back foot and steps across her front foot.

                    5. Lastly, she brings her left foot forward (right handed hitter) as shown in picture #3.

                    6. In essence, she is walking into her stride during the last phase of the drill.

                    You can also see from picture #3 that her hands “separate” from her back shoulder at this point. (The knob should be pointed back at the catcher).

                    Softball Tee Drill #3: Jump-Back Hitting Drill

                    This is a drill from our 8u-12u softball drills post, but I wanted to include it here as well. 

                    Watch the video below for an overview of this drill.  It's another great way to work on weight transfer with your players.

                    Tee Drill #4: Take It To Contact Drill:

                    This drill is a simple but effective way to have your players check their upper body mechanics. As pictured below, you can also do this on a front-toss drill, but it is much easier (and sometimes more effective) while working off of a tee. Below is the breakdown of the drill: 

                    1. The player will set-up in the “middle tee location” described above.

                    2. Instruct the player to take a swing but then immediately stop her swing at the point of contact.

                    3. Once the player has stopped her swing, she should check her body position for proper mechanics.

                      • Is the upper body in the proper “contact position?”
                      • Have their hips begun to come through?

                      • Are they in the “palm-up, palm-down” position with their hands?

                      • Is the back heel pointed to the sky?

                      • Etc.

                    Doing this drill repeatedly will help players better understand and feel what their body should be doing from start to contact. Sometimes with full swings it can be difficult for players to feel proper “pre-contact” mechanics!

                    Softball Batting Tee Recommendations

                    Full Transparency: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase on Amazon after clicking a link, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Click HERE to learn more about our commitment to our readers. 

                     

                    Wondering what type of tee to use?  Here are a couple of quick recommendations. These are 'higher-end" tees, so if you have a limited budget these might not be the best fit. 

                    1. We currently use the Jugs Pro-Style Tees and they have held up well.
                    2. We have also heard great things about Tanner Tees as well as G-Tees.

                    However, we haven't used the Tanner or G-Tee options (yet), so we can't speak from personal experience. We just know they received great reviews and recommendations. If/when we use them we will update this post. 

                    Now let's move on to the next section, soft-toss hitting drills...

                    Fastpitch Softball Soft-Toss Hitting Drills

                    Now let's move on to a couple soft-toss softball hitting drills. Below are 3 different drills to have in your coaching "toolbox." 

                    Drill #1: Regular Soft-Toss

                    Regular soft-toss is a “staple” for most programs. However, it is critical that players know HOW to execute this drill properly, both as a hitter AND as the tosser. In fact, I would argue that the tosser is even more important than the hitter.

                    This is a drill that we offer in our free 8U-12U Bonus Drill Video Series

                    A couple of important points for this drill:

                    1. Have the tosser hold the ball up and show it to the hitter. THEN she can bring it down and up again for the toss. This allows the hitter to get their timing down.
                    2. The tosser should aim for the waist height. They key is to toss it neither too slow nor too fast. Too fast doesn’t give the hitter timing ability, while too slow (or too much of a “hump” in the toss) does not simulate fastpitch softball.
                    3. Use a coach to run this drill if necessary...but it is important that the players learn how to toss to each other properly in order to get quality reps without a coach as they progress.

                    DRILL #2: Standing Side-Toss

                    Below is an alternative to regular soft-toss. The "standing" version will give feedback if your players are dropping their hands. 

                    When a player is having the issue of popping-up frequently, they will have a tougher time with this drill.  Doing reps of standing side-toss can help them work on this issue. 

                    The last soft-toss drill we have today is called "high-low toss."  This is a concentration drill, and helps the player to react quickly to different pitch locations. 

                    Watch the video below for a description of this drill!

                    DRILL #3: HIGH-LOW SOFT-TOSS

                    That gives you 3 good soft-toss drills to incorporate into your practices. While you will want to keep adding more drills to your collection, these will get you started!

                    Front-Toss Softball Batting Drills

                    Now that you have a few soft-toss drills, you just need some front-toss drills. You really don't need anything overly fancy here. You can simply do regular front-toss, or machine pitching. 

                    To mix things up, incorporate pitch-counts, team competitions, or just simply a set number of reps. To put some pressure on the players, we will sometimes make them end their round on a pop-up. 

                    That said, it is good to have some drills that work on specific aspects of hitting as well.  Below we have one such drill: It's what we call "off-center front toss."

                    Off-Center Front-Toss Drill

                    This is an easy but effective batting drill to help your fastpitch softball hitters work on hitting the outside pitch to right field. This also will help to reinforce keeping their hands inside the ball (compact swing path).  

                    Click below to watch the video and learn how to execute this drill!

                    There are many other great fastpitch softball hitting drills to help reinforce mechanics as well. But these drills are a great starting point for any new youth league, travel ball, or high school coach!

                    One last note: While I strongly believe in doing hitting stations, I certainly am not against having a full hitting practice on the field. Hitting on the field allows your players to see the end result of their hits, which is important. 

                    The problem is that many coaches use on-field batting practice as the primary method for hitting. The end result is limited reps and having players standing around for long periods of time.

                    We strongly recommend a balanced approach between stations and “on-field” hitting practice.  For the best of both worlds, you can simply make "on-field" hitting one of your stations.

                    At the end of the day, it comes down to effective practice organization! For your team to succeed, you can’t neglect it!

                    (By Tim Covey, Founder of Covey Sports)

                    Have questions or comments? Leave them in the comments section below! 


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