Throwing and catching are two of the fundamental skills in the game of softball. To master them, they need to be practiced correctly and repeatedly. Without them, you cannot hope to excel defensively. Good throwing and catching drills can serve to isolate a particular component for emphasis or may address the execution of the overall skill. They also can incorporate specific situations that can sharpen your performance.
Upper Body Drills
Throwing and catching drills done on one knee work to focus your upper body portion of the motion. Kneel on your throwing arm side with the body and front foot angled toward that knee. From this position, you can accentuate as much or as little of the throwing motion as you desire. It is also advantageous to work through the upper body's throwing motion both as a forward progression and in reverse order so that equal consideration is given to isolating the follow-through, the grip and windup and each segment in between. To isolate the upper body portion of the catching skill, glove positioning and tracking are of primary importance in these drills.
Lower Body Drills
Drills that are done from the standing position can emphasize just the lower body and footwork or incorporate both the lower body actions and upper body actions simultaneously. When highlighting the lower body, you should concentrate on initiating the throw with an angled step of the throwing side foot, making the second closed step with the glove-side foot and shifting the position of the ball-side foot during the follow-through phase of the throw. From a standing position, you additionally can begin to incorporate footwork into catching. Eventually, drills also can progress to include the transition from catching to throwing.
Long Toss Drills
Once you are comfortable with throwing and catching technique, you can use long toss drills to increase arm strength and accuracy. To extend your throwing range, you should concentrate on limiting the arc of the ball path and gradually increasing distance and repetitions. Long toss drills from the knees also can be used to strengthen the throw with focus on the core muscles.
Quick Toss Drills
With correct technique for throwing and catching employed, quick toss drills enhance the ability to make strong and accurate throws. They can be organized to include a particular number of throws and catches or to max out on a number of throws within a specified time frame. Quick toss drills provide excellent practice in transitioning from catching to throwing.
Every throw made in a softball game is adapted to the defensive situation and varies by angle, length, and urgency. You are required to catch batted and thrown balls alike and constantly to transition between fielding, throwing and catching in different combinations. Thus, to train the skills of throwing and catching in a game, drills mimicking possible game circumstances are used. These drills focus on replicating game-like directional throwing and catching, repetition of common throwing distances and forcing tactical decisions followed by the performance of an appropriate skill.