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Getting back to the basics ...

Apr 9, 2017
This is my first season as head coach of tourney team with the majority of our players in their first year of 12u. (While new to 12u, most of the girls played 2 years of 10u ball previously.) It has been a rough start to our season, as we are just 1-8 through our first three tourneys. We have played very well at times, but it just seems a mental error here, a big inning there, ends up dooming us. With an off weekend coming up, we want to get back to the basics this week. Any suggestions on good fundamental drills, especially on the defensive side? A lack of mental focus (throwing the ball to the wrong base, dropped pop ups, etc.) have doomed us.
Feb 3, 2016
Back to basic fundamentals.

Using two hands to catch the ball.

Alligator the grounders.

Toss the ball up on the infield and make the girls call it or call each other off.
Make them want the ball or find kids who want the ball.

Relay drills from the outfield using cutoffs.

Nothing irritates me more than lazy unfocused practice or pre-game warmups.

At 12u you can usually tell what kind of team you're against by watching other team and how organized and disciplined the girls are.

Examples of the 2 extremes:

If adults are running around like chickens and doing everything like servants and players are standing around eating seeds... you get the point.
If you see kids setting up nets. Warming up on their own, running as a group you know that they are disciplined and focused on softball. When they want to help run a well disciplined practice you've turn the corner for the better.

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just cleaning the dugout
Sep 1, 2018
North Carolina
DDs team was in a similar situation last year. Two things seemed to work really well to cut down on big innings.
1. Lots of outfield work - catching fly balls and making sure the outfield is crashing on every ground ball (12U is where the OF becomes very important - errors in the infield can cost bases, but errors in the OF cost runs).

2. Hit balls - All 9 players are moving to ensure overthrows and missed ground balls are backed up, (CF can make a lot of big outs if she crashes ground balls to shortstop and is ready to back-up throws to 2B).

Final note - the trick is to teach players to be ready to be involved in every play. This seemed to help the girls gain some understanding of what can (and inevitably will) happen on different plays.

Good luck, I understand the consternation of watching a good team lose because of mental errors.
Dec 10, 2015
Chautauqua County
Every practice we work on what I call the "20 foot out", the short, usually easy throw, especially to first. I have seen too many times in softball where this easy out becomes a big inning. And every practice where this out isn't made, we stop right there and do it over. and over. and over.

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