You know, sometimes when I watch young players during a softball game, I can’t help but notice how they often seem frozen when fielding a ball. It’s a bit like a deer in the headlights, isn’t it? To help them overcome this, I’ve devised a fun yet effective drill that’s perfect for beginners. It’s meant to get them accustomed to fielding swiftly, and making an automatic throw to first. And guess what? We’ve fondly named it ‘Roll and Go.’
Let’s Roll with ‘Roll and Go’
Most suitable for our tiny future stars aged between 4-7, this drill involves a simple setup. You have one player positioned at the home plate holding a softball, another one at the pitcher’s spot, and one more player all set at the first base. The magic begins when the player at home plate rolls the ball towards the pitcher, and then dashes off towards the first base. The pitcher’s challenge is to swiftly field the ball and make a clean, quick throw to the first base to stop the runner.
What’s the Goal?
For the budding pitcher, the drill ensures that the rolled ball is a breeze to field. The primary focus here is to adeptly pick up the ball and aim for a swift throw to the first base. Meanwhile, the first baseman gets a hands-on experience in receiving throws at first. And the runner, they should practice running all the way THROUGH the first base. This keeps everyone on their toes!
Shaking it Up a Little
To keep the drill engaging, we do have some variations. In the initial stages, the coach could give the runner a bit of a head start by signaling “Go” a few seconds after the ball is rolled. This makes the plays pretty close at the first base, adding a thrilling edge. As our little champs get better at throwing to the first base, we can up the ante by having them start from the shortstop position.
But we aren’t stopping there! ‘Roll and Go’ can also be transformed into an outfield drill by moving the fielders outwards and introducing 2nd baseman and shortstop positions. In this version, the outfield players should focus on throwing the ball to the second base (remember, the cut-off man is your friend!). A coach at first base can give instructions to the base runner, whether to run straight through first base or round it off and dash towards the second base. This really helps the runners learn to keep an eye out for their base coach.
What’s better than a drill that’s fun, engaging, and slightly competitive? The kids absolutely love ‘Roll and Go.’ It’s an exciting way to get several players involved in a single play, and trust me, the competitive edge just adds to the fun. So, why not give it a roll?