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When you’re coaching 10 year old players, the goal should be to refine the foundational skills they’ve acquired and introduce them to techniques that will elevate their gameplay. Since 10 year old players are still young, it’s important to keep these drills fun and active to keep them motivated.
The following drills are perfect for kids because they’re fun, and also effective in teaching good technique, proper footwork, and how to field a ground ball properly. Improving ground game is one of the most important skills players can learn at this age since most hits will end up as ground balls rather than pop flies that could be caught.
Here are the best softball drills for 10 year olds:
Drill #1: Advanced momentum drill for better fielding.
This drill is designed to teach players how to properly field a ball, so that you don’t lose momentum as you’re scooping up the ball and preparing to throw it. The idea here is that when you see the softball on the ground and are approaching it to pick it up, you shouldn’t come straight at it, otherwise you’ll run to the ball, and stop as you’re scooping it up, loosing all of your momentum. Instead, you want to run at the ball on the ground on a slightly curved path, so you can grab the ball and maintain your momentum as you follow through with the throw.
Step 1: Set up three cones in a triangle so that two of the cones are lined up with each other, and the third is off a few feet to one side.
Step 2: Place the softball beside one of the two cones that are aligned. The drill will start with the player in a ready position in front of the other cone that’s lined up with the cone next to the ball.
Step 3: Have the player start by getting into position (usually with a little hop into ready position, or a right-left step with your feet into a ready position, so that the first pylon is directly in front of the player and between their two feet.
Step 4: Have the player curve around the pylon that’s a few feet to the side, and then make it over to the softball at the last pylon and field it, step through and throw the ball in the direction of their momentum, and following through. If done properly, the player should keep their momentum throughout the entire drill.
Note: if you need some cones to use these are the most popular on Amazon and come in a variety of colors:
Drill #2: Three cone ground ball drill.
This second drill is essentially the advanced version of the first drill. This time, the coach is going to set up three pylons and roll the softball to one of them simulating a ground ball, and it’ll be the player’s responsibility to pick up the ball with proper form, and throw it, never breaking their momentum.
Step 1: Set up the three cones in a triangle so that there’s a cone to each side of where the player will be standing, and one cone directly in front of the player, creating a diamond shape between the three cones and player. The two pylons to the left and right of the player should be a few feet in front of them, and each cone about three or four feet to their left and right, so that the two pylons are about 10 or 12 feet apart from each other.
Step 2: The coach will now roll the ball at one of these three pylons. If the ball is rolled to the pylon directly in front of the player, they will run at the ball with the same curved technique as the first drill. (The player will not curve around the outside of the pylons to their left and right, rather they will just run up to the ball on a curved path, inside the pylons to their sides, grab the ball and follow through with their momentum into the throw.
If the pylon is thrown to either of the side pylons, because of the direction the ball is going, the player won’t do the same curved path but will instead run directly at the ball. This is because when the ball is rolling away from the player to one of their sides, it is too difficult to get in front of the ball. Instead, you will have to use a backhand technique to pick up the ball if it’s rolling in the opposite direction as your glove hand, or scoop it up with the more natural forehand position if it’s rolling in the same direction as your glove hand.
In either case, the payer should pick up the ball from a sort of kneeling position with their glove hand out in front of them to grab the rolling ball, before following through with the throw. When making these kinds of catches, it’s important that the player maintains “soft hands.” This will allow them to more easily pick up the ball. (It takes time to master this light touch, but keep reminding the players so they are always practicing.)
If you are picking up the ball with the forehand position, this is a good opportunity to practice the spin-and-throw move by scooping up the ball, spinning counter clockwise so that you build momentum as you grab the ball from your glove and throw it in one smooth motion.
Drill #3: Keeping your eye on the ball.
While “keep your eyes on the ball” seems like obvious advice, what happens with a lot of players is that their confidence gets the best of them and they stop following the ball with their eyes all the way into the glove, instead looking up towards their target too soon. This is sloppy technique can often lead to missing or fumbling the ball. This drill will teach players the importance of keeping their eyes on the ball until it’s fully in their glove.
This drill is actually more of something that can be incorporated into other drills, once players start getting the hang of a technique and need to be further challenged.
Step 1: Take a softball and wedge it between your chin and chest so that you’re forced to look downwards. Another option is to hold the bill of your hat with your teeth so that if you want to see the ground you have to tuck your chin into your chest.
Step 2: Run any of the previous two drills, or other drills you enjoy, while the players try to hold the ball in between their chin and chest at all times. This should get players used to keeping their eyes on the ball, and following it all the way into the glove.
Watch Coach Justin run all of these drills in this video below!
Watch this video!