with Craig Nicholson, Arizona State University Head Coach; former Ball
State University Head Coach; 3x MAC Champions, 3x MAC Coach of the Year
and Katie Schroeder, Arizona State University Assistant Coach; 2x All-American, and four-year starter in center field at UCLA
Go on the field for two live practices with Arizona State Head Softball Coach Craig Nicholson. Get an up-close look at drills you can to prepare infielders and outfielders for game day. Coach Nicholson develops his infielders' footwork, teaching them to field the ball on any hop, while assistant coach Katie Schroeder works with the outfielders on fly balls.
Practice 1: Infield Drills
Good footwork is especially important to infielders whose feet put their bodies and hands in a position to make plays. The segment begins with an "every day" progression of ground ball drills. Coach Nicholson feeds balls directly at each player, gradually increasing the range to each side. These drills, which allow the coach to monitor and help players with their footwork, teach infielders to read the ball and get comfortable in their positions.
Practice 1: Outfield Drills
The outfielders execute three drills. They begin with an over-the-shoulder drill that trains the mechanics of the drop-step-and-reach, which is used to quickly and effectively get balls that are hit over players' heads. The second drill focuses on the footwork and body position of getting behind the ball, which helps create forward momentum for making strong, accurate throws back into the infield. Finally, the outfield works on fly balls hit close to the wall, training the fielders to make plays at or near the wall.
Practice 2: Infield
The second practice opens with infielders working on turning double play balls. Coach Nicholson feeds balls to the middle infielders, starting with balls hit close to the base. He gradually extends the range and works on fielders throwing from different arm angles. These drills give you a chance to work closely with your athletes and provide immediate feedback and correction to each middle infielder. The practice progresses to fungo drills, where Coach Nicholson hits different types of groundballs to all of the infielders, giving them a chance to work on their footwork and different types of throws.
Practice 2: Outfield
Assistant coach Katie Schroeder discusses the skills outfielders need to be successful. She gives coaching points on reading line drives, pumping the arms while running and making a good crow hop on throws. The practice session begins with Coach Schroeder tossing balls in front of outfielders, giving them a chance to practice shoestring catches. The outfield progresses to ground balls and fly balls, allowing them to read the ball off the bat at game-like speed.
See how to run a productive, drill-based practice, and train your fielders to be quicker to the ball and play flawless defense. 101 minutes. 2014.