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Thread: Hitting during practice

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    Checking out the clubhouse ambern11's Avatar
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    Default Hitting during practice

    I'm finding it very hard to get through 12 girls and accomplish anything hitting wise in our 2 hour practice time. There just doesnt seem to be enough time to spend with each one of them and still get other stuff done. I would love to hear any suggestions or how you guys handle trying to develop good hitters during 2 hour practices 2 days a week. 9 year olds.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball quincy's Avatar
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    I do not think you need a field to work on hitting, just some room.

    If you have the helpers and some equipment, like bownet or two, assign them to a hitting station. Not a fan of hitting into the back of the backstop but you can use it for a hitting station if you need to.

    3 people, 1 is a pitcher, can keep the hitting moving along on the room part.

    The rest can work on the field doing what you want and rotate them through.

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    Always learning... Eric F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambern11 View Post
    I'm finding it very hard to get through 12 girls and accomplish anything hitting wise in our 2 hour practice time. There just doesnt seem to be enough time to spend with each one of them and still get other stuff done. I would love to hear any suggestions or how you guys handle trying to develop good hitters during 2 hour practices 2 days a week. 9 year olds.
    In my experience, this is not very likely with your time limitations. For the most part, real development is probably going to take place outside of team practices working with an instructor and/or somewhat-knowledgeable parent.
    A TB parent's life...Drive. Write checks. Eat tacos.

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    I can talk softball all day 625ender's Avatar
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    Set up a couple of tee stations. You can also have a parent use a hitting stick to get reps

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    Softball Junkie dbronstein's Avatar
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    I'm in the same boat with my team. We're the same age, but rec, so we're just working on the basics. We've been doing a lot of tee work, pulling them aside one at a time while there is fielding and other drills going on. Every so often, we'll do a big hitting practice and set up five or so stations - one with a tee, a couple with coaches pitching whiffles, one with heavy balls, and one for bunting. This gets a lot of reps for everyone. And I try to do a half hour a week of hitting off live pitching.

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    It is tough to get meaningful batting lessons in during practice. If you have assistant coach(s)/knowledgeable parents to help, then set up three drill stations, batting, infield, and outfield. We break the girls up into 3 groups of 4 and do 20 minutes at a station followed by an hour of game simulation. If you have some girls that are taking private lessons then try to put a couple of them in a group with your 2 weakest hitters. When they come to bat you can have the two girls with private lessons taking turns hitting for reps off a tee with no input from a coach. Then devote the 20 minutes to the other two girls. It is about the best you are going to hope for.

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    Certified softball maniac pattar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ambern11 View Post
    I'm finding it very hard to get through 12 girls and accomplish anything hitting wise in our 2 hour practice time. There just doesnt seem to be enough time to spend with each one of them and still get other stuff done. I would love to hear any suggestions or how you guys handle trying to develop good hitters during 2 hour practices 2 days a week. 9 year olds.
    One thing you can try is to have one person hitting fungoes to the IF in between BP pitches (changing positions to hit to the right side of the IF and then the left) and another hitting to OF. This is what we did in college and I saw a number of teams doing it this way at the WCWS. Unfortunately this probably won't really work so well with 9 year olds most of the time (they will get too distracted..) and you still will probably only be able to get 15 to 20 swings per girl in an hour or so. But it may be worth a shot.

    However, as Eric said, hitting improvement is going to come mainly from work outside of scheduled practice time. At that age, they probably need upwards of 200-500 good swings a week and it is better to (imo) to hit 4 times a week with 100 swings per session than to hit once with 400 swings.
    Last edited by pattar; 09-11-2018 at 08:54 AM.

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    Certified softball maniac Westwind's Avatar
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    I appreciate what you are saying and I think you have to adjust your approach and expectations if that makes sense.

    Team practice is just that, practice. Don’t confuse it with lessons. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your job is to perfect the swings of all 12 players. Practice hitting balls. Make comments about really obvious things you see but try to limit those comments and keep things moving. Keep practicing hitting balls.

    Your goal is to have players practice what they are learning in lessons and get quality reps. Lots of stations, as supervised as possible, getting as many quality swings at an unhurried pace as possible. (One of my favorite sayings is “hurry slowly”.) Have a stated goal for every station. Emphasis on quality. No tired swings. No rushing.

    Another thing: hitting practice isn’t fielding practice. If you want to practice fielding, practice fielding. Hitting practice requires shaggers not fielders. Especially at this age where the hitters need lots of reps. When I see a player hitting and defensive players in position, I cringe. Time is being wasted. If you are doing a hitting practice right there often should be multiple balls in the air at once, shaggers better be paying attention. It should look like a war zone, dangerous with flying objects. Total chaos for everyone but the hitters, lol! Shaggers should be parents not little people. (Unless you are practicing to enter a shagging tournament. Practice softball, not shagging.)

    Practicing and practice planning is an art few have mastered in my opinion. I all too often see coaches awkwardly wasting valuable practice time messing around with one kid at a time getting a couple swings.

    Here is another thing to remember, you can be practicing well and you may not think you are getting results. Because you see them 2x a week and on weekends at games, it can be hard to see the improvement. The small steady improvement over time adds up. Create a process then trust your process.
    Last edited by Westwind; 09-11-2018 at 10:24 AM.
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    Certified softball maniac Westwind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattar View Post
    However, as Eric said, hitting improvement is going to come mainly from work outside of scheduled practice time. At that age, they probably need upwards of 200-500 good swings a week and it is better to (imo) to hit 4 times a week with 100 swings per session than to hit once with 400 swings.
    Yes.

    Yes.

    400 swings at once for a nine year old is a golden ticket to a different sport and maybe burnout. For parents, Less is more when you do less more often.

    And make sure your parents understand that your soon to be awesome hitting practice is not a replacement for lessons and hitting outside of practice.
    Last edited by Westwind; 09-11-2018 at 10:32 AM.
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    I can talk softball all day Hawk_'s Avatar
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    I work stations. Tee station rotates to front toss station, which then rotates to fielding. So the tee station is hitting into a bow net with a coach there. Front toss is hitting to the fielders with a coach pitching and another watching the fielders. Works pretty smoothly. If you're going to do this..realize that you will still need fielding practice. This isn't a replacement for that at all.
    Last edited by Hawk_; 09-11-2018 at 10:49 AM.

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