Got a need for speed? Here is a series of vertical leap drills to improve your squad's quickness and transform your team into explosive fastpitch athletes.
Equipment required: 2 lengths of rope (about 15-20 feet long).
Have two players hope the rope LOOSELY in their hands at a height of the jumper's knees.
From a stationary position facing the rope, have the jumper, jump over the rope using her hands and legs to propel her over it.
If she does hit the rope, instruct the holders to drop it. Next raise the rope to half way through the thigh. Then to the top of the thigh. Do this twice.
One Step Jump
Have the holders hold the rope at knee height and have the jumper take a step and jump over the rope with both feet (jump rope style). Raise the rope to half way through the thigh and to the top of the thigh.
Two Rope Jump
Have two sets of players hold two ropes. The first one is at the jumpers knees. The second rope is at mid thigh.
Have the jumper stand between the ropes and stretch out her arms. (This is the distance between the two ropes.)
The jumper faces the first rope and takes a step and jumps over the first rope and immediately upon landing, she jumps over the second rope without taking a step. Do this twice. This drill improves vertical leap which is directly related to speed and quickness.
Lines on The Field
Equipment Required: Strips of cloth, small pieces of wood or chalk to make marks on the field (outfield). Have an area of about 60 feet to run in.
Make lines (like hash marks) on the field indicating where players feet should be hitting as they leave the base or batters box. The first 10 feet should be short, but getting longer as they build up speed.
Place a marker at about the halfway point and tell the players that when they reach the marker to focus on pumping their arms faster. This drill will teach the proper way of defeating inertia by taking short steps at first and then pumping their arms to reach optimum speed.
NOTE: Watch for the proper arm position of 90-degree bend in the elbows. The hands go from chest to pocket. KEEP THE HANDS OUTSIDE THE EYES.
Also, there is a direct correlation between the speed of the arms and the speed of the feet. As an instructional demonstration, have the players try to run slowly while pumping their arms as fast as they can. It doesn't work. The runner runs about 10 yards with the rope holder applying resistance.
You do not want too much resistance, just enough to keep the runner in the proper running position. Do this two times then have the runner "free" sprint over the same distance while the rope holder is putting on the belt. Then switch positions.