It can be tricky finding the right drills to run with six year old players, mainly because they’re just starting out, and basic skills like throwing and catching are not yet developed. Your job is to develop these skills, starting by laying a simple foundation.
When running drills for six year old players, try to remember that the more you can turn the drill into a “game” the more interested and engaged your players will be. That’s why some coaches like to divide their team up into four teams of players (making sure to distribute talent equally among the groups), and run each drill like a game where the four teams will compete.
If you have enough players on your team, this is an excellent option. If you choose to do this, simply run the following drills, but instead of establishing winning players, count each point a player makes towards their team, and establish an overall winning “team.”
Here are a number of great drills to run with your young team so you can get them used to the very basics of softball, and have them on their way to one day winning championships.
Running the bases drill:
Have each player line up in front of the home base. Keep a timer on hand. Have each player start with a bat in their hands. Then, have them swing their bat at an imaginary ball. After they swing, have them run around the bases as fast as they can, as if they just hit a home run! Time them from the moment they start running until they get around all the bases and back to home. Make sure that they touch every base with a foot as they pass it.
Record the running times, and run the drill again with your three fastest players. The winner from this round wins the game!
For doing these drills in your own yard or somewhere there isn’t a field with bases to run, these cones are a great alternative to help with running the bases:
Catching the ball drill:
Stand on the pitchers mound with a bunch of softballs. One by one, call the players to home base. Gently toss three softballs one by one at the player standing on home base. Have the player do their best to catch each ball. Record how many balls each player catches. Have any player that can catch all three balls go for a second round. The player who catches the most amount of total balls wins the game!
Throwing the ball accuracy drill:
Put a tee on home plate, and put a softball on it. Then, have each player take turns going to the pitcher’s mound, and throwing a ball at the tee at home plate. The objective is to hit the ball off the tee. Players that can knock the ball off the tee are awarded 1 point. Players that can throw a ball and make direct contact with the ball on top of the tee (and knock it off) get two points. Each player gets to throw three balls. After each player has taken a turn throwing their three balls, the player with the most points wins the game!
Here are some great choices for training balls to practice both throwing and catching:
Put a softball on a tee at home plate. Have each player take turns trying to hit the ball off the tee. Mark in the dirt where each softball eventually lands and stops on the ground.
After each player’s first hit, and after you’ve marked where their ball landed, have them hit a second ball but this time, take a moment to correct their form. Since they’re still extremely young, it’s unlikely that any players will have perfect form, so don’t sweat it too much. Just give them a little bit of guidance. Have them try and hit the ball again. See if they can hit their second ball further than their first. This second round will be the player competing against their self in order to improve their own game.
Finally, run the drill a third time, but this time, have the players compete against one another. Record the spot on the ground where the first player’s ball lands. The objective of the next player to bat is to try and hit the ball even further than the player before them. Record the spot the ball lands on the ground anytime a new player comes to bat and breaks the “record” set by a previous player. The player that can hit the ball the furthest wins this round!
Here are some great batting tees to get your started:
Want to learn some other great drills for slightly older players? Take a look at our guide to the best softball drills for 10 year olds!
Finally, here is a round up of all the training products we suggested in this article, sorted by price: