• 6 Indoor Softball Drills For Infielders

by Tim Covey

One of the challenges of coaching an outdoor sport is having to battle the elements. Having a plan with some indoor softball drills is a necessity if you coach “up north.”

So what do you do when you have the limited space of an indoor facility? As a starting point you need to assess the indoor space and the equipment that you have.

This will help you to visualize and begin thinking through your practice organization. The larger the indoor facility you have, the more of a variety of drills you can do.

I cover this in more detail in my post on practice planning.

Once you have an idea of your space, you can now begin to think through which drills are going to make the best indoor softball drills for your practices.

Not sure where to start? In this article I’m going to give you 6 indoor softball drills for your infielders to help you get going.

But here is the reality, MOST drills you do outside can be done indoors (with some modifications). For example, the bunting lanes drill for bunting works best on some clay to make it more game-like.

But you can do it anywhere.  Indoor, outdoors, in your backyard.

 

It’s all about how you organize.

 

But some drills are great for indoor practices where space is limited. Let’s dive in…

Indoor Softball Drills #1: Side to Side Drill

This is a drill for working on lateral movement with your fielders. This is a great drill for conditioning, working on lateral quickness, and basic grounder fundamentals.

Here is a very simple breakdown:

  1. A partner or a coach rolls a ball to the side of the fielder.
  2. The fielder shuffles (without crossing her feet) to the side and fields the ball in between her feet in proper fielding position.
  3. Once the fielder has the ball she tosses it back to the tosser. The fielder should stay low throughout the drill.
  4. Once she tosses the ball back she begins to shuffle back the other direction until her partner rolls another grounder.
  5. Drill is repeated over and over until a coach blows the whistle or calls out “switch.”
  6. Now the partner becomes the defensive player and vice versa.

The picture below will give an idea of the progression of this drill. 

As you can see, it is not difficult and does not take much space to execute.

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Indoor Softball Drills #2: 4 Corner’s Infield Drill

You may recognize this from a prior post on infield drills. But I am including it here because this is a great drill for an indoor practice with limited space.

We use this drill for multiple purposes:

  1. Regular Grounders
  2. Quicker catch to throw transitions
  3. Making Throws on the Run
  4. This is also a drill that you could do with soft-hands paddle infield trainers.

It’s a great drill to accomplish multiple things. Click HERE to watch a video explanation of the drill and to read the full post explaining it…

Indoor Softball Drill #3: Split-Infield

This is a drill that would typically be done on an entire infield, but it CAN be done inside if you have the infielders using a gym or they have the indoor facility to themselves. We did this almost daily in January/February when I coached in the midwest.

BUT we did have enough space to make it work. If you are in a regulation gym you may need to modify things a bit.

Here is the breakdown:

  1. All of the infielders are at their spots.
  2. 2 Coaches are hitting grounders at the same time (this CAN be done with 1 coach if necessary).
  3. One coach is hitting to a fielder on the left side of the infield, and the other is hitting to a fielder on the right side.
  4. For a designated amount of time or reps, the same position receives all of the grounders. The position that is receiving the grounders throws to the same position the entire round.
  5. Here are some examples:
    • Round 1: SS to 1st base/ 2nd to 3rd base
    • Round 2: 3rd to 1st base/2nd to SS (throwing to 2nd base)
    • Round 3: Pitcher to 1st base/ SS to 2nd base
    • Round 4: 1st to 1st base (2nd base covers throw)/3rd to 2nd (have the SS take throws)
    • Keep going…you could even incorporate some throws home with a catcher if you want!

    Watch the video below to see an example of a few reps of this drill. 

    One thing to note from the example: To make this easier on yourself and to keep the drill moving faster, you can do a couple of things:

    1. If using buckets, stack the full one on top of the empty bucket.  This will save you from bending over (like you see us doing in this video).
    2. If you have a ball bin, use that instead. I personally love the foldable ball bins for easy use.
    3. If you have a spare manager or player, have them hand you the ball each time.

    Indoor Softball Drills #4: “Gator” Run-Down Drill

    This is a drill to work on your run-down defense. As long as you have enough indoor space for infield bases you can easily do this indoors. Here are the key points of execution:

    1. Start with your defense all in their positions and a runner at home.
    2. Have a coach standing in the middle of the field.
    3. Once the coach says to go, the runner begins going full speed around the bases. If you only have a couple of runners ask them to go 75% speed until the run-down so that you can get more reps.
    4. When the runner begins, the defense moves to cover their base.
    5. At any point while the runner is betweeen 2 bases, the coach throws the ball to a defensive player and the run-down is on!

    Indoor Softball Drills #5: Triangle Backhand Drill

    Once again, you may recognize this from a prior post. But this is a great indoor drill for infielders because it gets 3 players involved and does not take much space.  In a nutshell, 3 players work together to work on backhand grounder technique.

    Click HERE to watch a full description and a video of the drill.

    Indoor Softball Drills #6: Still-Ball Backhands

    “Still-Ball Backhands” is a drill to work on “raking” backhands properly. As the name implies, the ball will be still. This is on a backhand where the player is “sideways” to the ball…NOT straight at the ball. Click HERE for a good explanation of this type of backhand.

    This is great for indoors because each player simply needs a ball and a little bit of space.

    1. Each player grabs a ball and puts it on the floor.
    2. The player puts the ball 2-3 steps away from them.
    3. The player approaches the ball and puts herself in backhand position.
    4. At this point, she allows herself to “rake” through the ball in backhand position. NOTE: The ball should get deep behind her front foot.
    5. To finish the drill, the player either throws into a net or fakes a throw and repeats the drill.

    Obviously all of these indoor softball drills can be done indoors OR outdoors. The key is how you organize the space that you have (which is different for everyone). But with some organization and planning you can run a great practice inside!  

    Questions or comments on the drills mentioned above? Leave a comment below!



    Tim Covey
    Tim Covey

    Author



    2 Responses

    Tim Covey
    Tim Covey

    March 14, 2018

    Love it! Thanks so much Eric for sharing this! Anything that speeds things up is awesome…once your players catch on going fast in practice can have so much benefit in games!

    Eric
    Eric

    March 05, 2018

    Great drills!

    we have a variation for this drill that will replicate game time reps more effectively. Have one hitter alternating the sides they’re hitting to. Start by hitting to the shortstop, they field the ball andmake the throw to first then follow the throw to replace the person they threw to. At the same time hit a grounder through the running fielder where the 2nd base player has to clear the runner, gather the ball up, and make the throw to third. She too follows her throw to 3rd while you hit another ball to short. The players replaced at 1st and 3rd join the respective lines at short and 2nd and keep going. Have two spare buckets one at 1st & one at 3rd for the person receiving the throw to deposit the ball.

    Where I like this drill it forces the players to speed up the process. You will find he first times you run this the throws will sail everywhere. Have them pause, speak with the team as to how they can clean it up by following their mechanics and try again. We spend 5 months inside, hard to simulate games so when we get outside there isn’t much time before tournament season starts!

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