The game of softball features plenty of start-and-stop action. From tracking down balls in the field to running the bases, athletes need solid change-of-direction skills to succeed. Training the mind and body through agility cone drills can be very helpful to your on-field performance.
For your first of four cone drills, form a 10-by-10-foot square with four agility cones. Beginning at one corner:
- Sprint forward to the next marker. Make sure to follow the outer edge of your square.
- Side shuffle to the next cone, still staying on the outer edge.
- Backpedal to the third cone behind you.
- Finish with a side shuffle to your start cone.
Another softball drill for improved change of direction is the “N” Drill. This exercise uses the same 10-by-10 square as before, so no equipment changes are needed. Begin at the bottom left cone:
- Sprint forward to the top marker.
- Backpedal diagonally to the bottom cone on the opposite side.
- Change direction and finish with a strong sprint forward to the last remaining marker at the top.
If done correctly, you should make a capital “N” with your route. This drill can be great for balance and body control as you stop, come out of your break and accelerate.
PRO TIP: These cone drills can also be performed as a team. Simply have your players run through the structures in sequence. For added training, have them run back through the structure a second time.
For your final softball agility drill, place a fifth cone in the center of your square. This will serve as your starting point. Next, have a coach or teammate designate each corner cone with a number. On their command:
- Sprint to the corresponding cone.
- Sprint back to center.
For example, if your coach calls, “One,” you should sprint to the correct cone, touch the ground and change direction back to center. This drill can be great for incorporating mind and body training. You need to take time to process the verbal command before taking off.
Be sure to mix up your softball practice routine with one or more of these change-of-direction drills. Add more exercises to your session with these training drills on improving quick feet.