Fastpitch Drills

The fastpitch drills referred to in the Coaching-Fastpitch Practice Plans newsletter are listed on this page. You will find either an explanation or a link to another page that explains each exercise. Feel free to use these drills when setting up your own practice plan or subscribe to Coaching-Fastpitch Practice Plans and follow along with us.

Do you have a practice exercise that you use to teach the skills of the game? Share them with us by submitting them through the Coaches Input page.

Base Running Relay Race

Base Bunting Game

Submitted by Coach Lee Eckman, Corcoran, MN.

Behind the Back Swings Fastpitch Drill for Hitting




Catcher Blocking

Catchers Bunt Coverage Drill

Catchers Developing A Strong Throw To Second Base

Distance Pitch Drill Pitchers Fastpitch Drill

Fence Drill Fastpitch Drill for Hitting

Infield Practice Fastpitch Drill for Defense

One hand swinging Fastpitch Drill for Hitting

Outfield Fly Balls 3 person rotation

Over the head ball pass

Pass Ball Fastpitch Drill for Catchers and Pitchers

Pepper Fastpitch Drill for Hitting

Down the Hill Fastpitch Drill for Learning to Slide

Swing on the Bat Fastpitch Drill for Learning to Slide



Soft Toss Fastpitch Drill for Hitting

Focusing the eyes for the ball Fastpitch Drill for Hitting

Star Drill Fastpitch Drill for Throwing

Throw Down to Second Fastpitch Drill for Throwing

Throwing Relay Race Fastpitch Drill for Defense

Form Work Fastpitch Drill for Hitting

Wrist Snap Fastpitch Drill for Throwing

Toss Circle Fastpitch Drill for Throwing

V-Drill Fastpitch Drill for Fielding

Walk Through Drill Fastpitch Drill for Pitchers


Base Running Relay Race

Divide your team into two equal size teams. If you have an odd number, one of the players from the team with one less will have to go twice. Team one lines up on the foul side of first base. Team two lines up on the outfield side of third base. Each player will take turns racing around the bases, making sure they touch each base. The second player in line can not start until the first player has touched each base. The first team to finish wins the relay race.

Bunting Game

Submitted by Coach Lee Eckman, Corcoran, MN.

The bunting game is a way to make practicing this skill fun and competitive. Draw two arched lines in the dirt from the 1st base line to the 3rd base line. The first line should be about 4 feet in front of home plate and the second about 8 feet in front of home plate. Now draw a line parallel with and about 2 feet inside the first base line. Draw another line parallel with and about 2 feet inside the third base line. Assign a point value to the 3 zones that you just laid out. The middle zone could be valued at one point for each bunt that your batter gets to stop in that zone. The two zones closer to the foul line could be worth three points.

After your regular batting practice, have each player bunt ten pitches trying to make the ball stop in the zones. After everyone has batted, the player with the most points can be proclaimed the winner. Recognize that player as the best bunter of the day. Recognition is free and so valuable. Your players will enjoy this competition and become better bunters at the same time.


Catcher Blocking

Your catcher should be wearing full catching gear for this exercise. The catcher should assume her regular stance behind the plate. Start by throwing tennis balls in the ground just in front of her. The catcher, without using her hands should center herself on the throw and attempt to block the ball from getting by her. She should drop to her knees and "cup" her shoulders so that the ball will hit her and fall to the ground directly in front of her. When the time is right, switch to regular softballs.

Catchers Bunt Coverage Drill

We will need someone covering first base for this drill. The catcher gets into her position ready to catch a pitch. A coach standing behind the catcher will roll a softball out in front of the home plate simulating a bunt. The catcher must react to the bunt by coming out of her beginning position and coming around the ball so that her glove hand is toward first base. That means that a right handed thrower would position her body on the third base side of the ball and a left handed catcher will come around the first base side of the ball. She should have the ball centered in front of herself before picking the ball up with her bare hand and making a strong accurate throw to first base. Picking the ball up with the glove and then transferring it to the throwing hand only adds time for the runner. Use the time saved to make an accurate throw to first base. Do this exercise several times changing how far the bunt is rolled out in front of the catcher and the direction the bunt go.

Catchers Developing A Strong Throw To Second Base

Developing a strong throw to second base is essential if you want to throw a base runner who is trying to stealing second out. The basic steps that a catcher should do are to first set up to receive the pitch with her feet at a 45 degree angle to the pitcher with the throwing side being back. When she receives the pitch, she will pop up to a throwing position moving her front foot only slightly toward the target. When she brings the ball up and back to throw, she should bring her throwing hand with the ball back and up toward her ear while rotation the shoulder up to avoid shoulder strain. This can be done quickly by keeping the elbow bent. She is now in a position to get rid of the ball quickly. The key to throwing out a base runner at second is to get rid of the ball quickly. I know that a new catcher wants to take a couple of steps and make a big wind up for the big throw down, however, the distance that a thrown ball can travel in the time it takes for all the extra movements far out weighs any extra throwing speed generated.

One method to develop this is when catching a pitcher in practice, have the catcher drop to her knees at a 45 degree angle to the pitcher. The throwing side knee will be the back knee. She should then throw the ball as hard as she can at the pitchers head. By doing this, the catcher learns to keep the throw lower and avoid the rainbow throw.



When a pitcher is working on the distance pitch drill, a catcher has an opportunity to work her way up to the long throw to second. The catcher should start by throwing the ball back to the pitcher using the drop to her knees method that we just discussed. When the pitcher starts to get farther away, she can practice popping up to the throwing position and the quick release with limited foot movement. When this drill first starts, the pitcher will be closer and the throw will be easy. The catcher will have to work slightly harder each time the pitcher gets farther away until she is making a quick, accurate and hard throw all the way to second base

Distance Pitch Drill

Start with the pitcher pitching from the normal distance. When she throws the ball all the way to the catcher, have her back up two steps from the normal starting position and throw another pitch. When she gets it all the way to the catcher, have her throw the next pitch from two steps farther back. We will continue adding two steps of distance each time she gets the ball all the way to the catcher in the air. Here is a little trick to throwing a pitch from farther away. The pitcher will want to take a larger stride creating a little more body lean backwards as she gets farther away. The change in body lean will change the trajectory of the pitch from less of a line drive looking pitch to more of a rainbow as the distance increases. This will make it possible for her to get it all the way to the catcher from a greater distance. When she finally reaches a point where the pitcher can no longer throw a pitch all the way to the catcher in the air, we will start coming closer two steps at a time until she is back to pitching from normal distance. By the time the pitcher has returned to the normal pitching position, she will mentally think that this is a peace of cake and the strike zone becomes easier to hit.

Infield Practice

Put the players at the infield positions. The coach lets the players know what the simulated game situation is and hits balls to the different positions. Players should field the ball using good mechanics and make the proper play.

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Outfield Fly Balls 3 person rotation

Place two outfielders about thirty yards apart and the third person half way between the two outfielders and the coach. The coach hits a fly ball between the two outfielders. Both go after the fly ball and whoever has the best chance of catching it calls the other fielder off. The other fielder now assumes the roll of the back up person. The outfielder who calls for the ball makes the catch and quickly throws to the third player (like she is the cut off person). The third player throws the ball to the coach. Player three rotates out to outfield position one, player one rotates to outfield position two and player two rotates to the third position or cut off person.

Over the head ball pass

Player one takes off running away from player two, player two throws the ball beyond where she is (leading her). Player one, while running, looks over her shoulder and catches the ball. Player one returns to the back of the line and player two takes of running away from player three... I have sometimes substituted a football and the girls can catch it without their gloves. Sometimes it's good to change it up a bit.

Pass Ball

I like to have the pitcher and catcher work this drill together. This helps the coordination that these two positions need to have. Place five or six balls on the ground by the backstop with about five feet between them with the middle ball straight behind the catcher. The catcher and pitcher assume their starting positions and the pitcher simulates throwing a pitch. The pitcher trains herself to react to a pass ball by charging home to cover home plate. The catcher turns and quickly gets back to the first ball, dropping to a knee, she picks the ball up with her bare hand (saves time) she will then pivot on her knee and make a quick forehand or backhand toss toward home plate. Things to avoid are picking the ball up with the glove, standing back up after getting the ball and making an overhand throw. All these things take time and increase the likelihood of the runner reaching home safely. The pitcher will catch the ball low to the ground and quickly position the ball, protected by her bare hand inside the pocket of her glove on the third base side and a few inches up the line from home plate. The attempted tag should be almost on the ground and directed at the feet sliding home. An attempted tag off the ground or to the upper part of the base runners body will probably result in the runner being safe by getting to home plate under the tag. After doing that with the first ball, start over again with the second ball and continue until they have completed doing it with all five or six balls.



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Pepper

Divide the team into groups of four or five player each. Each group will start with one batter who will stand someplace with a fence a few feet behind her. The other players will form a straight line parallel with the fence and about eight to ten feet in front of the batter. The batter is going to be bunting the ball. The players in front of her will field the ball and immediately toss the ball back into the batters strike zone. If the batter misses a ball that is in the strike zone, she is out and assumes the last fielding position in the line. The player in the first fielding position now moves up to become the batter. If the batter pops the bunt up and one of the fielders catches it for an out, that fielder automatically jumps to the batter position and the batter moves to the last fielding position.

Star Drill

Put players in the following positions. Catcher, first base, second base, shortstop and third base. The catcher throws the ball to the shortstop, shortstop throws to first base, first base throws to third base, third base throws to second base and second base throws to the catcher. Work on quickly transitioning from catch to throw.




Throw Down to Second

With the infield positions all covered by players, the pitcher throws a pitch, the catcher catches the ball and makes a throw down to second base. The catcher should be setting up with her feet at an angle parallel with the base line in order to be partially in the throwing position. After she catches the pitch, she should do an abbreviated reach back by circling her elbow back while keeping it bent. Snap the ball up to her ear area, a small step if any and aim the throw about one foot over the pitchers head. The shortstop should be covering the base and the second base person should be backing her up. After a few trys at second base, practice a few to first and third.

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Throwing Relay Race

Form two lines of equal number of players (if an odd number of players, a coach may jump into the short line). A line of five or six players could stretch from home plate to the outfield fence. The line should have equal distance between each of the players. When the coach says "GO" the first player should throw to the second player, the second player should catch the ball and throw to the third player and so on all the way to the end of the line. Once it reaches the end of the line, the ball should be sent back one player at a time. The first team to get the ball all the way down and back is the winner. If a player does not catch the ball when it is her turn, she must be the one to pick it up and throw it to the next person in line. No skipping a player is allowed. The players quickly learn that an accurate throw is the most important element. The next thing they should learn is that by throwing to the glove hand side of the next person, the next person can make a quicker pivot and transition to the throwing position quicker.

Coach Michael Rice writes: “I've used this one a lot. I usually add in having the last player to catch the ball running all the way to the start of the line. Every other player moves up one spot. When the run puts everyone in their original spot it's finished. If things go right, you have a great foot race at the end. Boys and girls both seem to enjoy it, regardless of ages.”

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Toss Circle

Form a circle made up of players standing about six to eight feet apart. Start with one ball and have the player make an underhand toss to the player on her left. Make sure that they do not toss the ball if the player on her left is not looking. Continue to pass the ball to the left all the way around the circle. Once every player has had one toss, add another ball or two or three to the circle. Players should treat this toss like it is a hot potato, quickly moving the ball but only after making sure the receiving players is looking. Now, stop the exercise and with only one ball, start up again going to the right. Add more balls and have a ball.



V-Drill

Arrange the players into groups of three forming a triangle with each player about twenty feet apart. One of the players will be the base of the "V" shape and will be the one getting the work out. One of the players at the top of the "V" throws the ball to the player at the bottom. That player will catch the ball and quickly transition to throw to the other player at the top of the "V". The other player then throws the ball back to the one at the bottom who again catches the ball and quickly transitions to throw to the first player. For one catch/throw, the person at the bottom should have their feet positioned pretty good to make a quick throw, but from the other side the player at the bottom will have to re-adjust her feet to line up the next throw. This can be done quickly with a crow hop. After several throws, a different player can rotate into the bottom of the "V" position. This exercise creates many repetitions quickly. You can also throw ground balls to the person at the bottom of the "V" and she can work on fielding the ground ball and making a throw to both her left and to her right. Another variation is for the person to the left side to throw the ground ball to the player at the bottom of the "V"s left so that she will have to field it with a backhand or forehand, transition and throw it to the person on the right who then throws a ground ball to the right side. WOW, what a workout!!

Walk Through Drill

The pitcher starts three steps behind the pitching plate. The pitcher begins by walking toward the pitching plate starting with her pivot foot. When she gets to the pitching plate, her pivot foot should land on the pitching plate and her next step should bring her into the power position and her pitching arm starting the circular motion, that is with her toes, hips and shoulders lined up with second base and home. As she continues to walk and pitch at the same time, her next step is to bring the pivot foot forward toward the catcher as the ball is delivered to the catcher. This will help the pitcher in learning to "close the door" by bringing her hips and shoulders back to square with the catcher. The pitcher may find this a bit awkward at first, but in short order it will become easier. When the pitcher becomes comfortable with this drill, she can start generating some real drive of the pivot foot and pitching plate. The goal of this drill is not only to work on good mechanics, but to bring the speed of the pitch up dramatically.

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