Fastpitch softball is a variation of the game of softball in which the pitchers throw the ball underhand at speeds that can top 75 mph. On a regulation softball diamond, the pitcher’s mound is 43 feet from home plate. In baseball, that distance is 60 feet. That means a 75 mpg pitch in softball is the equivalent to about a 125 mph fastball in baseball. At those speeds, it is imperative for batters to have outstanding hand/eye coordination and hand/bat speed.
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This is a popular drill that is supposed to help improve hand/bat speed and also hand/eye coordination. A dropper–or pitcher–stands one to one and a half steps to the side and slightly in front of the batter, whose eyes are trained straight ahead as if they are waiting on a pitch from the pitcher’s mound. The dropper then drops a ball into the strike zone. The batter then tries to hit the ball before it hits the ground. When a hitter has mastered this drill with a full sized softball, it’s recommended to try smaller objects like tennis balls, golf balls or even black beans to offer more of a challenge.
This hitting drill is meant to enhance hand/eye coordination. The pitcher stands about 15 feet from the hitter. The pitcher throws a Frisbee–but can also use a plastic can lid, like a tennis ball can lid, for example–for the same effect. The flight of a plastic Frisbee or can lid will change as it flies toward the batter, so this drill helps the batter track the flight of the object and make bat contact quickly.
Bunting is a hitting skill that is integral to the game. The goal of this drill is to help hitters control their bunts. Mark sections in front of the plate, either by drawing lines in the dirt, by using spray paint or any other method that you think is effective. Mark each section with a number that will represent a point value, which ascends based on the importance of being able to hit that zone. Split your team up into two groups, and have each player bunt. Each player, and team, will collect points for their bunts. The team with the most points at the end wins the competition.
Hands to the Ball Drill
This is a tried and true, popular hitting drill. The goal is to improve hand/eye coordination and to help hitters track the ball and therefore hit better. The hitter stands in their normal batting stance, only with their bat resting on their shoulder. The pitcher tosses a softball toward the hitter. Instead of a full swing, the hitter is supposed to hit the ball with the butt or end cap of the bat.
Quick Hands Drill
The goal of this drill is to improve hand speed and bat speed. The pitcher can pitch the ball from in front of or to the side of the hitter. The pitcher throws six pitches in rapid succession. The pitches should come only fast enough for the hitter to swing and prepare for the next pitch. This drill should be performed multiple times in a row with shorter rest periods in between.