Website Manager

Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association

In the Spirit of Sportsmanship

Sample Practice Plans

General practice plan

  1. Warm-up and stretching (10 minutes)
  2. Throwing drills (15 minutes)
    • work on age appropriate level Ball in the correct position, chin is the target, two      hand catch, feet in position, step into throw
    • Do some type of competitive drill the last 2 or 3 minutes most catches or do criss cross drill and count number of drops or how much time it takes or how many balls they can get through compare to previous drills to note improvement.
  3. Defensive Drills – use multiple stations to keep more kids involved (no standing around)
    Ground balls, pop-ups, around the world, follow the throw, etc
  4. Base Running/sliding – Teach 3 step lead, watch the hit, when to pick up 3rd base coach, tagging up on Fly ball, delayed steal, sliding (hook, straight in, slide by tap)
  5. Hitting – use 2 or 3 stations to keep everyone involved lots of tee work should try to get 100 swings by each player (single tee, double tee, soft toss, pitching machine or coach toss)
    • stress hip rotation, arms in, shoulders level. Watch for bat casting, stepping in the bucket or happy feet (stress getting ready loading and being still before the pitch arrives, positive attitude toward hitting think yes, yes, yes until pitch tells you no.)
    • - Bunting (for 10U and older)
  6. Conditioning (10 minutes) Make it fun relay races around the bases, play pickle kids love a contest.

This will cover a one and a half hour practice and kids should be active and not standing around.

More Specific Practice plan

Warm-up and stretching drills (10 minutes)

  • Couple laps around the bases or a lap around the outfield slow jog
  • Stretch legs, arms, shoulders, Do some jumping jacks, burpees

Throwing drills (20 minutes)

  • Flips for back spins
  • Shorter throws then get longerWork on ball and hand back, target is chin, chest throwing arm
  • Be age appropriate 6u aren’t going to throw 60 feet but 12u should

Defensive Drills (20 minutes)

  • Ground balls start with alligator then get better
  • By 10 u should be fielding ball off the glove side foot
  • Forehand and backhand roll ball have them throw to first
  • Fly balls Fingers up catch the ball in front of chest
  • At or after 10u start working on transition
  • Position play, bunt defense

Hitting drills (20 minutes)

  • Work on hip rotation, level shoulders , load, momentum toward the pitcher
  • Watch for happy feet, stepping in the bucket, dropping the hands,  bat casting
  • Bunting is huge in softball all girls should know how to bunt

Conditioning (15 minutes)

  • Play pickle, have relay races, make it fun!

Other things to consider

  • Base running teach 3 step lead, tagging up on a fly ball, make sure the ball gets through the infield
  • Watching for signs, bunt, steal, bunt and run, and delayed steal.
  • Work sliding - straight slide, pop-up slide and slide by tap
  • Always know the count; dropped third strike 12u and up.

At the end of practice take no more than 5 minutes to answer questions and praise the good work that was done today individually.  All of them did something good today, made a great catch, a great throw, ran the bases, good hustle, nice slide, good hit kept eye on the ball, made great swings, transitioned well between catch and throw, improved on a skill.

Example Warm Up

  • Cardio: Jog 1-2 laps
  • Dynamic Stretching: Players line up between home and first base. Exercises are performed the length to the pitcher’s mound.
  • Walking leg kicks
  • Lunge with a twist
  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • Grapevine (x2)
  • Walking quads
  • Walking calves
  • Static Stretching: Players in a circle. Each stretch is held for 20 seconds.
    • Each arm across and overhead
    • Wrist pull back toward face
    • Forearm fingers stretch down
    • Legs wide: down to the right/left/middle
    • Butterfly
    • Full body stretch (lie flat on back on ground with legs stretched out and arms stretched out above head)

    *The same warm up should be performed each practice and game – be consistent!

Example Practice Plan (2hrs)

  • 10min Warm Up
  • 15min Throwing Progression
  • 5min Crossfire Throwing
  • 60min Offense/Defense Breakout Sessions
  • Half team 30min hitting, half team 30min defense
  • Groups switch after 30min
  • Pitchers/Catchers pulled out of stations as needed for individual work
  • 20min Offense/Defense Controlled Scrimmage Situations
  • 10min Baserunning Cool Down
  • Offense Breakout Session: Focus on Hands Staying Up
  • Hitting Stations: 6min per station, 3 players per station (one batter, one visualizing/dry swings/one feeding tee)
    • High tee: place tee on a bucket so tee is shoulder-head height
    • Tennis ball bounce: bounce the tennis ball in front of the plate (the ball will slow down), player must focus on keeping hands up in load and waiting on ball
    • Rapid side toss: toss ball high, as soon as swing is finished, player must keep hands up on “rewind”, immediately toss next ball, repeat for 5 balls in a round
    • Chop: set tee very low, swings just to extension from hands high to chop down on ball, ball should go directly into ground
  • Defense Breakout Session: Focus on Movement to Ball (infield and outfield)
    • Jump into stance before fielding ball
    • Start facing backwards then react to ball
    • Creeping/charging in front of cones
    • Back up movement without ball
  • Offense/Defense Controlled Scrimmage Situations:
    • Yes/Yes/No hitting mentality
    • Work various counts
    • 21 outs
    • Hit balls to defense in between live pitches to batter (forces players to change focal points)
  • Pitcher Pull Out:
    • Warm Up Progression
    • Bucket Drill (stride leg on bucket, perform “k drill”)
    • Sprinter Cycle (start laying on stomach in “push up” with eyes on catcher’s mitt, glove is on and ball is to side, push up into plank, complete 2 mountain climbers, push off leg finishes in front then directly stand into pitch focusing on stride)
    • 3 Cone Sprints (can be done with or without actual ball - set out cones 5 feet of each other, begin at front cone and pitch then back pedal to next cone, then pitch repeat, on last cone sprint to home plate then repeat entire progression
  • Catcher Pull Out:
    • Crab walk
    • Quick tennis ball catch without glove
    • In/out stance jump through ladder
    • Quick transition to throw downs

Some Coaching Tips

From our friends at Arlington Softball + 

Top 10 Mental Game Tips to Teach Your Athletes

  1. Respect the game…the game knows
    Treat yourself, your teammates, your coach, your equipment with respect; put in the work and the game will reward you
  2. Practice visualization and meditation
    Visualize at bats, visualize pitches, visualize success, recognize but flush mistakes
  3. Promote positive self-talk
    Turn “I don’t want to drop my hands” into “I want to keep my hands up”
  4. Always plan ahead and be prepared; give yourself the best chance to be successful
    For the next pitch, the next at bat, the next practice, the next game
  5. Carry your game mentality to practice
    You will play like how you practice
  6. Pick your teammates up to better focus on self
    On the field, on the bench, during games, during practice
  7. Develop routines
    At bat routine, pitching routines, preparation routines
  8. Determine a focal point on the field and concentrate on steady breathing
    Pick a spot on the field, when you need to reset, focus on the point with deep breaths
  9. Know your responsibilities for each role
    What to do when you’re on the bench, when in the hole, when on deck
  10. Always give full effort and attitude regardless of performance
    These should always be consistent and will help your game stay consistent

Top 10 Coaching Tips

  1. Create a team culture from the beginning
    It is easier to establish than to change
  2. Manage parent expectations upfront and clearly define/set boundaries
  3. Create practice and pre-game plans
    Document and record these to physically bring with you!
  4. Learn when to adapt coaching style to better connect with player
    And don't forget that they're girls, not boys…adjust your approach accordingly
  5. Put your players in game-like situations as much as possible
  6. Continue to study and learn the game!
  7. Promote a positive atmosphere
    It starts with you!
  8. Expect your players to give you their all
    If you don't, they won't
  9. Hold them accountable
    Players thrive on contributing to their team
  10. Never punish for physical mistakes, only mental

Contact Us

Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association

NVGSA Softball, P.O. Box 523432
Springfield, Virginia 22152

Email: [email protected]

Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association

NVGSA Softball, P.O. Box 523432
Springfield, Virginia 22152

Email: [email protected]
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