Five Baserunning Drills

(AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)

Here are some great baserunning drills that fastpitch coaches can use to help players maximize their game awareness and increase their aggressivenes on the basepaths.

3-2-1

Place three balls equal distance apart about three-fourths of the way from third to home. Have a runner (team 1) and have a fielder on third base and one one 2nd base (team 2).

When you say "go", the runner must reach 2nd base before the fielder fields and throws the balls to the fielder at second base. All throws must be accurate. If the fielders get all balls to second base before the runner gets there, the fielders get 1 point. If the runner gets there first, they get 1 point.

Tennis Ball

The runner is on the base in her ready position (ready for her lead off). Another player or coach is a short distance from her, in the basepath from 1st to 2nd base. The coach holds a tennis ball at eye height. As the ball is dropped on a piece of flat wood, the runner leaves the base and attempts to catch the ball before it bounces off the wood a second time. The distance for this drill is determined by the skill level of the runners, but start out close so that she can easily catch the ball and slowly move back to challenge her.

Belt Drill

Resistance Drills Equipment required: A belt and a short length of rope (about 10-12 feet long).

Put the belt around the waist of a runner and tie the rope to the back of the belt. Have another player grasp the rope and stand behind the runner with the rope taut. Have the runner lean forward while the other player holds the rope to keep her from falling. The proper running position is at about a 5-10 degree angle off vertical with her feet pointing forward, the back foot about 6 inches behind and 6 inches to the right (or left) of the lead foot. With the help of the rope holder, have the runner get into her running position and when she is, say "GO".

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 2 times then have the runner "free" sprint over the same distance while the rope holder is putting on the belt. Then switch positions.

Out of the Box Drill

This drill is similar to the base drill, but this time the runner is a batter. The dropper is lined up a short distance from home plate in the basepath to 1st base.

Have the batter take a normal swing with a "bat" (use a fake bat, or top of a batting tee). As the "bat" enters the impact or contact zone, drop the tennis ball and have the batter run out of the batters box and catch the ball before it bounces on the wood a second time. Once again, start out at a short distance and increase the distance to challenge the batters.

NOTE: Make sure batters weight is balanced and not leaning forward or backward or she will take unnecessary steps to regain her balance before running for the ball. Also, watch the right arm and elbow (right handed batters). The proper movement is to drive the elbow back and outside the hip to initiate the running sequence. Finally, watch the "bat" to make sure she does not "whip" the bat back to the right side and then run. The "bat" should be dropped by the left hand after the right hand has released it.

This drill teaches two things. The first is to get out of the batters box quickly and with the least amount of steps and wasted movement. The second thing it teaches is to hit the ball and run. Not to HIT THE BALL, ADMIRE YOUR HIT AND THEN SAUNTER TO FIRST BASE.

Thunder Ball

Have a fielder on first base and one on third base (team 1). Place a ball on a tee or soft toss it to a hitter (team 2). The hitter hits the ball and runs to as many bases as she can reach before both fielders have touched the ball. For each base she reaches before the fielders touch the ball, her team gets 1 point.


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