When it comes to practice, drills don’t always have to be serious. There can be some lighthearted entertainment mixed in to take the edge out of training. A great example of this in softball training is the game of pepper.
This simple game is easy to play but can also work multiple skills necessary for success on the softball diamond. Learn the basics of this effective softball drill with these Pro Tips from pro softball player Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester.
One of the great things about the game of pepper is there isn’t a laundry list of items needed. According to Chidester, all you need for a game of pepper is a bat, a ball, your glove and an enthusiastic teammate. “You could do it before practice. You could do it before a game. You could even do it on your spare time,” she says.
HOW TO PLAY PEPPER
To start the game, you or your teammate will begin with the bat while the other takes the field with their glove and ball. Space yourself out; roughly 10 feet should be a good starting distance. “The person with the glove will toss the ball to the girl with the bat, and then she’ll [softly] hit it,” Chidester says.
Once the batter hits the ball, the other player should field the ball cleanly and toss it back. You can repeat this, “Pepper it back, toss it back,” formula for as many repetitions as you like. Once you’ve completed the desired reps, switch roles.
THE BENEFITS OF PEPPER
While pepper might seem like a fun and easy way to pass time between drills, it is a training tool. For batters, pepper can be a useful softball hitting drill for tracking the ball into the zone. For fielders, “It works on hand-eye coordination; it works on fielding, because the hitter is going to pepper it back to the fielder,” Chidester says.
You can also add additional teammates into the game for a more inclusive experience.
BONUS PRO TIP: Pepper can be a great way to train fielding bunts, too. Mixing in bunts can force you to attack the ball and come up to field it cleanly.
Pepper can be a great tool to keep you diligent in your training without the seriousness of other drills. Stay motivated and keep practices fun with these training Pro Tips.
Looking for more tricks from the softball pro? Discover more from Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester as she explains overcoming the fear of failure in softball.