with Mike Stith, founder of Team Mizuno and is the organization's Director of Player Development and College Recruitment; Head Coach for Team Mizuno's 16U Travel Team; 3x ASA National Championship Coach
See a defensive workout that covers many situations a defense will have to face during games.
Mike Stith shows us the defensive team workout that has made his older teams successful and prepared his players to compete at the collegiate level. Coach Stith begins practice with warm-ups and throwing, and also introduces many fielding drills with a conditioning component. He uses these drills, along with hitting many repetitions of live batted balls, to build consistent defenders.
Warm-up and Throwing - Throughout Coach Stith's warm-up throwing routine, careful attention is paid to throwing with correct technique, something that is important to avoid injuries and keep the player's arms healthy. Stith has his infielders practice short hop drills with each other, and the team moves into a Four Corners Drill. This drill incorporates a lot of throwing, with an emphasis on accuracy. This drill is helpful to allow the players to practice a few of the basic but critical fundamentals of the game, such as throwing, catching, footwork, and communication.
Conditioning Drills - Once warmed-up, the entire team participates in three softball specific conditioning drills, which also allow the players to practice fielding fundamentals. The conditioning drills begin with the coaches rolling ground balls to players, gradually increasing the distance between the fielders and the balls. These drills are important as they give the players a chance to focus on fielding fundamentals, good footwork, and seeing the ball all the way into their gloves. These drills progress into the next set of drills, which involve live ground balls hit balls off the bat.
Fielding - Coach Stith believes fielders should be hit a lot of ground balls off the bat, as there is no substitute for reading the ball off the bat and reacting to the ball. The infielders are put in their positions and hit numerous ground balls to each side. They are also given smaller gloves and hit baseballs, forcing them to focus hard on seeing the ball. Fielding numerous ground balls is necessary for fielders to become consistent and develop confidence in their fielding skills.
Group Drills - The outfielders get a chance to participate in the next set of drills, which involve balls hit to the outfielders in each position of the outfield. The outfielders must field or catch the ball, and throw to certain bases. The infielders then throw the ball around the infield, alternating bases, to incorporate more throwing practice. Finally, the coaches hit balls with runners on base, to help simulate more realistic game situations. The fielders must make the play and react to the base runner.
Use Coach Stith's defensive ideas to run a practice that will prepare your team to face any game situation with confidence. 75 minutes. 2013.