Softball Point

12U Softball Practice Plans

Competitive softball demands dedication and strategic planning. An effective 12U softball practice plan is essential for molding a winning team. Proper organization and varied exercises help players hone their skills, boost their performance, and achieve their goals.

This article delves into 12U softball practice plans, highlighting drills, exercises, and strategies to build a formidable team. A comprehensive approach ensures players develop fundamental techniques, physical fitness, and team cohesion.

Discover the perfect mix of skill-building and team dynamics that keep players engaged while pushing them to excel. Uncover the secrets to making practice both productive and enjoyable, setting your team on a path to success.

Understanding the 12U Age Group

Importance of age-specific training.

The 12U age group presents a unique opportunity for coaches to develop foundational skills and a love for the game in their players. Age-specific training is crucial for ensuring proper skill acquisition, as well as reducing the risk of injuries. 

Tailoring practice plans to the needs of 12U athletes allows for gradual skill development while still maintaining a focus on enjoyment and engagement.

Developmental Milestones for 12U Players

12U players are typically developing motor skills, strength, and coordination. Key milestones for this age group include:

  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Enhanced throwing and catching abilities
  • Increased pitching accuracy and velocity
  • Refined hitting mechanics
  • Greater understanding of game strategy

Setting Goals and Objectives

Establishing clear expectations.

It’s essential to set clear expectations for your team at the start of the season. Establish measurable objectives related to skill development, teamwork, and mental growth. 

Ensure that players understand the importance of individual goals and how they contribute to the team’s overall success.

Balancing Individual and Team Growth

A successful 12U softball practice plan should strike a balance between individual skill development and team cohesion. 

Dedicate time to individual drills and instruction, while also incorporating team-based activities that promote communication and collaboration.

Planning Practice Sessions

Duration and frequency.

For the 12U age group, a typical practice session should last between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Schedule 2-3 practices per week, allowing for adequate rest and recovery between sessions.

Components of an Effective Practice

An effective practice session should include:

  • Warm-up and dynamic stretching
  • Skill development drills
  • Team-based activities
  • Game-like scenarios
  • Physical conditioning
  • Cool-down and static stretching

Skill Development

Focus on proper hitting mechanics and timing. Drills to consider include:

  • Live batting practice

Develop pitching mechanics, accuracy, and velocity through a combination of drills:

  • Pitching mechanics breakdown
  • Target practice
  • Bullpen sessions

Enhance fielding skills through a variety of position-specific and team-based drills:

  • Ground balls
  • Throwing and catching exercises


Improve base running technique and speed through drills such as:

  • Base-to-base running
  • Sliding practice

Team Drills and Scenarios

Offensive drills.

Incorporate offensive team drills that emphasize situational awareness and decision-making:

  • Hit-and-run scenarios
  • Bunting practice
  • Base-loaded situations

Defensive Drills

Develop team defense through drills that require communication and collaboration:

  • Double play practice
  • Cut-off and relay drills
  • Outfield communication exercises

Game-Like Situations

Incorporate game-like scenarios into practice to help players apply their skills under pressure:

  • Timed drills
  • Simulated game situations

Mental and Emotional Development

Building confidence and resilience.

Foster a supportive environment that encourages players to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Offer constructive feedback and praise their efforts, helping them build confidence and resilience.

Encouraging Teamwork and Communication

Promote teamwork and communication through team-based drills and activities that require cooperation and active listening.

Physical Conditioning

Warm-ups and cool-downs.

Begin each practice with dynamic warm-up exercises and end with static stretching to minimize injury risk and promote recovery.

Strength Training and Flexibility

Incorporate age-appropriate strength training and flexibility exercises to enhance athletic performance and prevent injuries.

Monitoring Progress and Adjusting the Plan

Evaluating player performance.

Regularly assess player performance through observation, feedback, and statistics to determine areas for improvement.

Adapting Practice Plans to Meet Team Needs

Adjust practice plans as needed to address individual and team development areas, ensuring that practice remains engaging and relevant.

Incorporating Fun and Creativity

Game-based drills.

Introduce fun, game-based drills that encourage skill development while keeping players engaged and excited about softball.

Encouraging a Love for the Sport

Foster a love for the game by emphasizing enjoyment, camaraderie, and personal growth throughout the season.

Pre-Season and In-Season Considerations

Preparing for competition.

Adjust pre-season practice plans to focus on skill acquisition, conditioning, and team-building exercises.

Balancing Practice and Games

During the competitive season, balance practice sessions with games to prevent burnout and maintain a focus on continuous improvement.

How can I keep my 12U softball players engaged during practice?

Incorporate a mix of skill-building drills, team-based activities, and fun, game-like scenarios to keep players engaged and excited about practice.

How do I ensure that my practice plan addresses the needs of all my players?

Regularly assess player performance and adapt practice plans to target individual and team development areas. Offer personalized feedback and instruction to help players reach their full potential.

What are some ways to promote teamwork and communication during practice?

Introduce team-based drills and activities that require collaboration, active listening, and effective communication among players.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating the tips and techniques explored in this article, your team will see noticeable improvements. The balance between skill development and team cohesion fosters an environment that breeds champions.

Coaching a winning 12U softball team is no small feat. However, armed with the right practice plans and a commitment to excellence, your team will shine on the field and make every practice count.



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Effective 8U, 10U & 12U Fastpitch Softball Practice Drills

12u travel softball practice plans

Each month, thousands of youth softball coaches & parents scan the internet for fun and effective fastpitch softball drills for 8U, 10U, and 12U players. 

While we often like to lump groups together into broad categories (travel ball, high school, rec league, etc.), the reality is that each group has subcategories with very specific needs. While many parts of the game apply for all age levels, a younger player is much different than an 18U player.

And as a result there are certain skills and drills that are great for an older, more experienced 18U player that may not be so good for the 10U girls (as an example).

I would encourage every coach that attends a conference to listen to each speaker through the “filter” of “does this apply to my team?” College coaches will be your typical speakers. While they nearly always deliver great information, they aren’t always teaching with younger players in mind.

And today’s post is written with the age-range of 8U-12U in mind. 

Continue reading to learn some fun and effective fastpitch softball drills for the 8U, 10U or 12U aged- teams.

The truth is that these drills are good (and recommended) for nearly ANY age-group. However, they will specifically help a younger player with her fundamentals.

And with young players laying a great foundation of proper fundamentals is essential for future success!

8U, 10U, 12U Softball Drill #1: Pendulum Throwing Drill

This first of my recommended fastpitch softball drills for a 8U, 10U, or 12U player is a throwing drill. Proper throwing mechanics is one of the biggest challenges I have experienced with these age groups. Some of this is arm strength, while some is simply reinforcing proper fundamentals. 

Just be sure to have the correct sized softball depending on the age.  For example, for 8U players our 10-inch softball is the perfect size for smaller hands. 

This drill will not fix all of your teams throwing woes. But it will help your players develop some body awareness for proper weight transfer during the throw.

In this drill, the player rocks back and forth with a ball in the middle of her body. You can see the video of the drill below:

A couple of important notes as you watch the drill:

  • The players rocks her weight back and forth from her front leg to her bag leg 2-3 times
  • On the last “rock” to her back leg she goes into her throwing motion
  • This drill helps players feel their weight transfer from the back side to the front side

8U, 10U, 12U Softball Drill #2: Jump-back Tee Drill

The second drill is a fun softball hitting drill that I call the “Jump Back Drill.” Once again, developing body awareness is the critical element for this drill.

Note that for this drill, it might be too advanced for some 8U players. If you try it and it's overly difficult, then simply back off the drill. 

Much like with the pendulum drill, this drill will help a player feel their weight transfer from the “back side” to the “front side.” This drill can help players develop proper weight transfer with their lower body. It can also help develop smoother upper body movements as the hitters hands separate from her body during the stride phase. 

This drill may be a little awkward even for the 10U player initially, but she will improve with practice and time. And as she gets into the 12U “phase” of playing she will have this mastered. However, just be sure to watch her upper body to make sure it isn’t “flailing around” during the drill.

Below is a video that walks through the drill from start to finish.

A couple of important notes on this drill:

  • As you can see in the video, the player sets up with her front foot even with the ball…with both feet together.
  • Second, the player jumps onto her back leg.
  • Third, the player brings her front-knee in towards her back knee .
  • Lastly, from a hitting mechanics standpoint you will notice in the video how her hands separate from her body. Also, her front shoulder and hips rotate “in”, all while she strides forward.

8U, 10U, 12U Softball Drill #3: Soft-Hands Paddles 

At the youth levels, teaching and reinforcing proper infield fundamentals is critical. Which is why I love using soft-hands paddles (also called "pancake gloves") for this age group.

This “drill” should progress from rolling grounders to your players, to possibly hitting grounders at them.

You do not need a lot of paddles to make this work (although it is easier with one paddle for each player).  If your budget is tight, you could purchase 2-3 each season. If you do not have many paddles, simply have the players share.

You can purchase paddles on a number of different websites. While we prefer the Rawlings glove , you can find a number of different options here on Amazon .

A couple of important notes:

  • This drill can be done either with a throw or simply by dropping the ball in a bucket after a fake throw.
  • Do not be overzealous with this. Going too hard could have the end result of players being afraid of a ground ball. Keep in mind that this is for fundamentals. Do NOT hit grounders at them with their paddles unless they are VERY comfortable. And start SLOWLY.
  • Use the paddles on grounders that the players can get in front of only. Balls hit right at them or that take them a few steps to the side is best.  
  • Proper footwork on grounders.
  • Covering up the ball with the throwing hand (two hands).
  • Making throws to bases after fielding.

8U 10U 12U Fastpitch Softball Drills

Drill #4: Buddy System (Team Building)

If you want to coach fastpitch softball, you NEED to do some  team building with your girls. But if you neglect this area, you will lessen your impact and the desire of your players to stick with softball.

What's more, softball team building drills are always a fun way for the kids to get to know each other!

A very simple team building drill is using a “buddy system.” In a nutshell, here is how it works (and you can EASILY tweak this):

  • Each player is assigned a buddy for a few days or weeks (depending on the length of your season).
  • During specific practices, the “buddies” take 5 minutes to learn something new about each other.
  • Take 5 minutes on occasion to have a player share with the team what they have learned about their “buddy.”
  • If you have new players coming onto your team each season, partner them with a “veteran” player to help them get to know each other.

Below you will find various videos for drills to help you this season. 

Can you use these drills as your team progresses into older age groups? Absolutely! But they are simple enough that most 10U and 12U player will be able to do them after some practice.

For 8U players, if the drill might be too difficult we will notate that on the drill.

The key to these drills is that when done correctly, they will reinforce proper fundamentals and get your players lots of quality reps in a short period of time!

DRILL #5: Partner Framing & Receiving Drill (Catchers)

(**This drill might not be a good fit for 8U players...use your discretion).

This drill is simply having a coach toss balls to the catcher around the strike zone, working on proper framing & receiving of each location. Framing is something that every 12U catcher needs to learn and practice. 

For most 10U players, introducing this will be the starting point depending on their skill-level. But this will also help them work on receiving pitches properly.  

Reinforce this daily and you will be amazed at her improvement with framing!  

DRILL #6: Triangle Backhand Drill (Infielders)

(**This drill can be introduced to 8U players to help them work on glove-work...but use your discretion if their skill-level isn't ready).

This drill requires 3 players, or at the very least 3 people. This is a GREAT drill for teaching players how to backhand a grounder at a pace that is manageable. 

Here are a couple of important points for using this drill with your players: 

  • Have the players work on fielding the backhand with both feet as the “lead foot.” While right-handed players will typically have the left foot forward, as they develop they will have situations where having the right foot forward is best. For example, a shortstop making a throw to second base might be better off backhanding with the right foot forward.
  • The receiving player should stay low throughout the drill. To keep the drill moving quickly, be sure that the receiving player in the drill does not stand up straight every time she tosses the ball over to the 3rd player. This will slow the drill down.
  • If you do not have a bucket for each group, simply have each group take 5 balls. Each player will then get 5 reps.
  •  The players continue going through this progression for a specified number of reps or time!

DRILL #7: Regular Soft-Toss (Hitting)

Regular soft-toss is a “staple” for most programs. However, it is critical that players know HOW to execute this drill properly, both as a hitter AND as the tosser. In fact, I would argue that the tosser is even more important than the hitter.

A couple of important points for this drill:

  • Have the tosser hold the ball up and show it to the hitter. THEN she can bring it down and up again for the toss. This allows the hitter to get their timing down.
  • The tosser should aim for the waist height. They key is to toss it neither too slow nor too fast. Too fast doesn’t give the hitter timing ability, while too slow (or too much of a “hump” in the toss) does not simulate fastpitch softball.
  • Use a coach to run this drill if necessary ...but it is important that the players learn how to toss to each other properly in order to get quality reps without a coach as they progress.

DRILL #8: Fastest Player Drill (Baserunning)

The purpose of this drill is to work on steal jumps. 

Here are the steps, In a nutshell:

  • Have all of your players line-up down the first base foul-line (or any line).
  • Have each of them get into proper position for a steal.
  • On a fake-pitch (just make sure it is a game-like fake pitch), each player “steals” the next base at the same time.
  • Simply have them go 60 feet (or to an assigned “end point” depending on age and whether you are coaching baseball or softball).
  • If a player “beats” the person to her right, they switch spots.
  • Do this as many times as you prefer. The goal for the players is to finish at the “top” of the line.

This drill will give you a very quick idea of not only your fastest players, but also your most competitive. You will notice that some players will give up quickly while some will fight to the bitter end.

DRILL #9 & #10: Encouragement Bags & Team Building Practice  (Team Building)

We wanted to include team building drills here because we believe it's very important. While these videos are geared for softball teams, something similar could be used for baseball teams as well. 

The first video, from Coach Ritchhart, is included to give you some ideas. You will need to tweak things so that they best fit your age-group. 

Video #1: Team Building Practice Session with Coach Ritchhart

Video #2: Encouragement Bags

Our second team building drill is called "encouragement bags." This is an easy drill to build greater team chemistry on your team!

This particular activity is one of seven activities that we cover in our Team Building Drills post. Click that link to see all seven activities!

But first, watch the video below to learn about the Encouragement Bag activity:

DRILL #11: Load & Go Drill (Throwing)

In this drill, you are working on proper weight transfer and use of the legs while throwing.  A common problem for younger players is not utilizing the legs properly (using all arms), as well as opening up too soon with the front shoulder.

This drill helps to reinforce proper mechanics for both of the mistakes listed above.

There you have it. That's eleven different fastpitch softball drills for 8U, 10U, and 12U coaches to use in practice. Nothing overly complicated…but for youth players keeping it simple is important!

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The Hitting Vault

Softball Drills and Practice Plans

Softball Drills and Practice Plans

Table of Contents

A tale of two halves, softball drills and practice plan: defense, infield/outfield (15-20 min), pitchers are people too, 21 outs (20-25 min), softball drills and practice plan: offense, softball hitting drills for practice, station three: front toss drills.

As a softball coach, you probably spend a good amount of time putting together specific softball drills and practice plans. The biggest piece of advice we can give is to take the same game mentality into practice. Practice can get dry, monotonous, and players can lose focus. As a coach, we always want to focus on how we can structure practice in a way that enables us to talk less and do more .

With an added focus on competition, intensity, and station rotation, your softball practice can bring the game speed and intensity to help develop your team. As coaches, at the end of the day, our job is to help make a difference for our athletes . The softball practice plan below is a great blueprint for all levels of softball to improve your team.

Learn More about The Hitting Vault

This practice will be designed to take two hours, about the first half of your practice should be focused on defense. The remainder of the practice should be focused on offense and competition. Getting the fundamentals down and executing on defense will help you win games. Giving away outs will ultimately cost you games.

After warming up, doing band work to stabilize the shoulder, and throwing, start to integrate a few drills for your infielders to help their hands. It’s important to start doing bands around age 11 or 12 to make sure the shoulder and back muscles stay balanced to prevent injury later on.

The first is a set of three drills to work short hop abilities. Here we’ll have both players on their knees throwing short hops to the other.

Short Hops Barehanded (5 min)

Trains the hands to be soft and for the player to get a good feel of the motion through the ball and playing the ball, instead of the ball playing her. Her fingers should be pointed down and her wrist slightly cocked back, starting with the arm closer to the body and working through the softball.

  • Facing each other, down the middle x5
  • Turn body 90 degrees, backhand x5
  • Turn body the other way, forehand x5

Once both players have completed 5 reps working forehand, straight on, and back hand, have them stand up and repeat the same sequence still without a glove, with their feet working “right, left, field.” Arms should have bend, knees bent, and hinging at the hip. The final sequence will be with a glove. These simple drills should become a staple in your warm up routine. Time permitting, increase the number of reps. Encourage them to do this at home against a wall with a tennis ball to improve on their skills.

Another staple in both baseball and softball is getting reps and throws from all positions and to all bases always. This helps increase arm strength as well as getting reads in the outfield and reps in the infield.

  • Two throws to second from Left, Center, Right
  • Two throws to third from Left, Center, Right
  • The first throw should be focused on throwing through the cutoff, if it gets cut, it gets cut.
  • The second throw to home is a “do or die” play, where the outfielder is throwing out the winning run, get it there, the cutoff should not touch this ball at all.
  • Now that the outfielders have had their reps throwing to bases and fielding ground balls and fly balls, line them up in center and (depending which dugout you’re in) have a coach hit more fly balls and ground balls to the outfielders from the foul line working on coming through the ball and getting into a good throwing position.

Moving around the infield, hit ground balls to third, short, second, then first. If there’s any way to you could have two coaches hitting ground balls that would be best!

  • Do this twice, challenge your infielders, move them to the glove side and to the back hand.
  • Two double plays, again moving the fielders around and testing their range. The first baseman will make the throw to second and try to get back to the base.
  • The first one, players will check the runners and throw to first, THEY MUST LOOK AT THIRD to freeze the imaginary runner
  • The second one, throw to the plate to get the runner on a TAG play, keep throws chest height or below and quick transitions from receiving to throwing to the plate. Let the catcher decide which one they want to have come home or go to first base. By having them yell, “check her, go 1,” or “4, 4, 4!”
  • Move all infielders back behind the baseline about 6 feet throw to first (1b makes the throw home), and roll them a slow roller so they can make the throw to first on the run. One regular throw, one short throw on the move.

The key to a good infield outfield is energy. The team needs to be loud and communicating every single play and rep. In practice, before games, this sets the tone for how you play. Nothing gets the team more fired up than a good infield-outfield and nothing is more intimidating than a loud and clean infield-outfield before a game.

Pitchers should have gone through a throwing regiment or specific plans that your coach has for the staff.

Competitive pitches are incredibly important. As the season approaches (and in season) the pitchers should be getting used to throwing to a batter in the box. This will increase confidence in pitches such as the backdoor curve or changeup. Pitchers can get a feel for how much their pitches break with a batter just standing in the box. On the flip side, as a hitter, there is no better drill for teaching pitch recognition than standing in on your pitcher’s bullpen sessions.

Ages 10 and Under

For youth softball hitters , have them stand 2 feet from home plate so the have enough time to get out of the way if they need to. Have the hitter say yes or no as soon as they know whether they would swing or not. This helps the hitter and the pitcher!

Ages 10 and Over

The hitter should stand where they normally do in the box, with their normal hitting stance , and pretend they are holding a bat by interlocking their top hand pinky with their bottom hand pointer finger. As they get more comfortable, hitters can actually simulate a live at bat. “Swinging” and “taking” balls and strikes. “Swinging” will obviously feel different because there isn’t a bat in their hand since their fingers are interlocked, but it is still a great way to give feedback to the hitter, work on their timing and help the pitcher out. The pitcher is able to see what a real hitter would in fact swing at or what they would watch go by. If the hitter does not feel safe, she can throw on a glove and just catch it if it comes close to hitting her.

We recommend that all pitchers have a Spin Right Spinner . Using a spinner teaches a pitcher the right way to throw different pitches: Rise ball, curve, screw, change etc. and is a great tool to use every day when they’re warming up. Because of the shape of the spinner, it gives immediate feedback to the pitcher and catcher if the spin is correct. It takes lots of practice to get it to spin correctly for each pitch, but will definitely help promote the correct tight spin that you want regardless of whether you are a power pitcher or a junk ball pitcher. This video from Sports Science shows just how effective and how tough it can be to hit pitchers who spin it.

This softball practice drill is where the practice is going to start to become competitive. Option #1 is for an elite team, option #2 is for intermediate, and #3 is for younger teams or teams that struggle a lot with making routine plays.

Send out your starting 9, yes, put your pitcher on the mound as well. Here the purpose is to go 21 consecutive outs without making an error. If an error is made, you restart at 0. Players should feel pressure as the outs climb, and this is good.

Whoever is not in the field will be running to simulate game speed. The more reps at game speed you take the better, it creates a competitive environment and helps both the players in the field and the players running.

Integrate everyone in the field, hit balls into the gaps, put runners on. Make sure your players are communicating where the ball is going and what the situation is. After every three outs clear the bases and change up the players in the field when you feel it is necessary. If they make an error, reset the outs to 0, 5 burpees, and right back at it. Do this until all 21 outs are recorded without an error made. For time purposes you can shorten it to 11 outs prior to starting.

Have everyone go to their primary or secondary position, making each spot close to even. For example, don’t have 4 people in left field while there’s only 1 in center and 1 in right. Balls will be hit directly at players as routine plays, in no particular order and include pop ups, line drives, ground balls, and bunts. EVERY ball must be thrown to second base, then to first base and then home to the catcher. The purpose it to have the least amount of errors until they get to 21 outs. For every ball that is fielded cleaning, thrown to second, then first, then the catcher without dropping the ball, adds a 1 point.

Every error, they will drop down to 0. Ex: You’re at 18, and a ball is overthrown, start over at 0. If a ball is hit that is not routine and they don’t make the play, they should finish out the play and then stay at the same number, not increase or decrease.

The goal is to create a competitive atmosphere, that will improve their defense, but at the same time building confidence. Keep track how long it takes for them to get to 21 outs and celebrate when they decrease their time! If needed you can shorten it to 11 outs.

Have everyone go to their primary or secondary position, making each spot close to even. For example, don’t have 4 people in left field while there’s only 1 in center and 1 in right. Balls will be hit directly at players in no particular order and include pop ups, line drives, ground balls, and bunts. EVERY ball must be thrown to second base, then to first base and then home to the catcher.

The purpose it to have the least amount of errors until they get to 21 outs. For every ball that is fielded cleaning, thrown to second, then first, then the catcher without dropping the ball, adds a 1 point. Every error, they will drop that number down 2 numbers. Ex: Start out with 0. Ball hit to short, fielded cleanly, and throws are good= 1. If they bobble it, they drop down to -2. Have another coach keep track of how many errors they had until they reach 21. If a ball is hit that is not routine and they don’t make the play, they should finish out the play and then stay at the same number, not increase or decrease.

The goal is to create a competitive atmosphere, that will improve their defense, but at the same time building confidence and helping your players develop a love for the game . Keep track of the final number each week and celebrate when they improve that number! If needed you can shorten it to 11 outs.

The atmosphere:

This is where your practice needs to be run with precision and intensity. The team needs to lock in during the hitting segment of practice because it gives infielders and outfielders live game reads – something you can’t give with a fungo – and it gives baserunners a chance to get reads as well. Feel free to switch up whether you have defense or offense first on the day. Keeps things interesting!

Hitting stations and rotation is going to keep the first part of this section alive and effective. Quality over quantity is important in these hitting drills because you don’t want to have your hitters tire themselves out and take meaningless swings, you want your hitters to take swings that will make them better.

Find a speaker and get to work. Here’s a playlist from FloSoftball that will keep the energy up. Also, here are a few options for portable speakers .

And trust us, your players will love you for it! If you’re not tech savvy, one of your players is bound to have a smartphone, and already know how to hook it up via bluetooth as long as it’s charged. If you have really little kids, then figure out how to use your phone or a parent/coach’s phone.

At The Hitting Vault , we believe that there should be at least four stations that you rotate through to run an effective softball hitting practice. This eliminates players from standing around and helps make the most of the short time you have available at practice.

One key thing to remember for any softball hitting practice is that quality always trumps quantity. Quality reps and swing movements in batting practice are much more important than hundreds of meaningless swings.

The softball practice plan that you’ll see below incorporates four separate stations, focusing on the tee, front toss and live pitching.

Station One: Movement Station

Hitting a softball with power comes from the bottom up. Having a strong lower half that stems from good rotation and weight transfer, will help you develop power — regardless of your size. When we say hitting for power we don’t necessarily mean hitting the softball 350 feet, or hitting for the home run cycle like Arkansas’ Danielle Gibson. What we mean is regardless of how big of a hitter you are, with the correct body movements, hitters should be able to hit the ball hard, in the gaps, and off the wall, if not over it!

Related reading: Practice Focus, Body Movements or Actual Hitting?

Separation Drill

The separation drill adds the feeling of hip and shoulder separation, which is key for hitting a softball with power .


Notice how Coach Alexa Peterson’s shoulders have not moved, yet her hips have rotated to the pitcher, this creates separation in the swing and generates power.

Full Turns Drill

One of the hardest things in sports to do is to hit a softball with power , yet the movements that compose a powerful softball swing can be simple. The Full Turns drill is simple, yet incredibly effective.The purpose of the full turn drill is to activate the core and strength in your lower half to produce stronger and more aggressive turns through the swing.

There are 3 progressions for this drill:

  • Pause in launch position, then complete the movement
  • No pausing, full movement
  • No pause, full movement off front toss


Station Two: Tee Drills

Crossover drill.

The crossover drill is an excellent way to work momentum going forward and through the ball while accentuating a great K posture. This will help hitters that collapse their backside and have a hard time maintaining their balance throughout the swing . By starting in this cross over position it integrates a controlled fall as well, feeling the body moving towards the tee.


Slow to Fast Drill

The slow to fast drill helps develop good rhythm in hitters. Often times we find hitters getting impatient and striding too quickly, too aggressively or just out of control. Slow to fast is also commonly referred to as slow to explode, and even helped this MLB hitter go from 14 home runs to 50 by adopting this concept.

To do this drill you want your hitters to focus on being slow and in control until they reach a good launch position, and then explode full speed and finish their swing.


The slow to fast drill helps hitters feel the load into their back hip and have the ability to control their stride and explode. With this control in their swing movements, hitters can often increase their bat speed as well by simply adopting this mentality and rhythm of slow to fast.

See Saw into Contact

The See Saw into contact drill should be the final drill in the tee drill station. This drill will be a good segway into the drills we’ll do in front toss in the next station. The purpose of this drill is to practice barrel control to contact and then making sure you get your elbows in the right position at the point of contact. Make sure the hands are above the barrel.

Star this drill by getting to a good launch position as shown below:


In this drill, you’ll want the hitter to pause at contact. This is how the hitter should look, notice how Coach Peterson’s top elbow and bottom elbows are bent, how her hands are palm up palm down, and she has great bat control. This creates a movement that puts the hitter on plane.


Note that in this photo her back toe actually has some pressure on it into the ground. This is because it is after she has made contact with the softball and therefore has essentially caught her balance. You should not squish the bug at contact, and at contact, the back foot should be weightless. It is okay that after contact the toes land on the ground like we see in this photo.

Now it is time to put these drills together in more complex movements and integrate timing with front toss.

Get on Plane Drill

The get on plane drill helps hitters from chopping at the ball and instead of using torso tilt to adjust to pitches. This will create an effective path to the softball that will result in a better launch angle , exit speed, and ultimately more hits!

Start this drill by having your hitter face the pitcher. Then, they will want to focus on rotating their hips and getting the softball bat behind them when they swing.


Bat Path Drill

The bat path drill is another drill that builds off the previous ones before it. By feeling the movement of the bat dropping into the seesaw position and the heel dropping at the same time, it is going to help the hitter over exaggerate the barrel working behind them first instead of pushing towards the ball.


So to integrate this into front toss, have the hitter do 3-5 reps of feeling the heel fall and the bat fall into plane at the same time before throwing the ball and finishing the swing.

Finish Your Swing (or turn) Drill

To wrap up the front toss station, we want to work on extra rotation after hitting the ball. For this drill, you’ll want your hitters to over exaggerate the finish of their swing and pause. After pausing, their back should be showing to home plate without pulling their head.


In order to fully unlock your power , we teach our hitters the important of rotation. As simple as it sounds, it is so integral to a great swing. The Finish Your Swing drill is a great drill to help a hitter understand what full rotation feels like.

Station 4: Live

As Coach Lisle has frequently said, getting to live pitching as soon as possible is important to focus on in practice. At The Hitting Vault, we refer to the sequence of a good baseball or softball hitting practice as tee work, front toss and then live pitching. The tee work and front toss stations are great to focus on to get your hitters warmed up and feeling swing movements, and then you want to amp up the competition to live pitching.

Here is the order of preference for seeing “live” pitching at your softball practice.

  • Benefits- hitters can work on balls and strikes, as well as timing. Pitchers can see what a hitter would actually swing at and what they wouldn’t. You can start with a 0-0 count or mix up what they start with!
  • Negatives- If you have a small pitching staff be careful your pitchers are not throwing too many.
  • Benefits: Coaches can work on specific pitches for hitters, paint the corners and work pitches inside and outside. This is also great for saving your pitching staff’s arms throughout the long season.
  • Negatives: Some coaches may not be able to replicate the speed or movement that hitters will see from a live pitcher their own age. Throwing good batting practice takes practice and there is definitely an art to it!
  • Benefits: Easily replicate pitch .velocity and location that your hitters will likely see in games.
  • Negatives: Timing can be an issue for some hitters coming out of the machine. The bottom line is that seeing the softball from a machine is different than seeing it live out of the pitcher’s hand. In practice, we want to create an atmosphere that’s as close to a live game as possible.

If you had the choice between live pitching and machine pitching, choose live every time! Live pitching is not only great for hitters being able to decide balls and strikes and helps with timing, but it also is very beneficial for pitchers being able to see when a hitter would really swing at a pitch or not.

Live batting practice should be broken into two rounds, getting the job done and a round of swinging away.

Round One: Getting the Job Done

The goal here is to put the ball in play and move runners into scoring position or score them.

  • Hit and runs X2
  • Angle down to drive in the runner X2
  • Regular swings to drive in the runner X6

Runners need to be getting game speed reads here. If it’s a hit and run they should essentially be stealing, but need to read the ball right off the bat whether they should go back and tag or not. The defense needs to be playing all these out. This brings competition to practice, this brings speed to the drills, and makes your team better.

Round Two: Swing Away

Defense makes plays, hitters have six to ten swings to do damage. The pitcher should work side to side, up and down, mix in a rise ball if possible, but these hitters need their hacks.

Rotate groups through the rounds two to three times to get them as many reps as you can before entering the competition round. Remember, quality trumps quantity in batting practice so make sure your hitters are taking quality swings. Check out our article, how many reps for more information on how many swings your hitters should be taking in practice.

Competition Round

Credit Coach Frank Niles with this one. The competition round helped win games in high school because it brings serious intensity, competition, and fun to the end of practice. Pick three captains, and have them draft teams.

One team will hit, while the other two plays defense. The team with the most points at the end of the competition round will win. Reward the team for winning, and be creative. A common one is to have the winning team get relieved of picking up the gear at the end of practice.

The team hitting will have 3 rounds to hit and get points.

Another level of competition you can add in if they’re old enough is: if they watch a strike go by or swing at a ball, their at-bat is over for that round and it goes to the next person.

One swing, if it is a hit, it is a point. If it is anything else no points will be awarded.

The defense can turn double plays (4 second time limit) to take away 2 points from the team hitting.

The team hitting will still have one swing. If it is a hit or an error, a point will be awarded. If an out is recorded, no points will be given.

Round Three:

The team hitting, if it is a hit it is a point and the hitter stays up until she no longer records a point. The third round gets loud and intense. Hitters can get hot and stay up as long as they are putting the ball in play for a hit or an error.

The teams will all get a chance to hit. The defense has to make plays under a pressure simulation. To have 21 outs and the competition round and this integrated, practice will be more intense and more competitive.

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Softball Drills and Practice Plans: Infield, Outfield, and Team Drills

Softball Drills and Practice Plans - Infield, Outfield, and Team Drills

Drills are the bread and butter of a good softball practice. The drills you choose for practice are only limited by your imagination, though there have been some established as being more effective than others over the years. Hundreds of books have been written about softball practice plans, infield, and outfield drills, hitting mechanics , and dozens of other softball training topics. It is an extensive subject. Coaches have many opinions on the best way to go about running a practice. Frankly speaking, there are many ways to run a successful practice but all the best practice plans roughly follow the same formula.

In this guide, Dugout Debate covers all the bases: the most important elements of softball practice plans, some examples of the most popular drills and how to execute them, and the five pillars of exceptional softball practice. Whether you’re a first time Little League Softball coach or part of a veteran coaching staff in a University softball organization, there’s always something more to learn and hone your softball practice plans.

Coaching Youth Softball and Beyond

We’d be lying if we promised that being a softball coach is a walk in the park. Younger kids can lack discipline and are prone to picking up bad skill habits from parents or other players who may have no idea what they are talking about. Additionally, there are parent and team politics that must be handled with caution and diplomacy. You’ll have some parents watching you like a hawk and judging your every decision, not to mention some who tally their kids playing time down to the second. These individuals must be dealt with a special tact more often seen in global politics than on a softball field. Nevertheless, even taking all of this into account, it is still a very worthwhile and rewarding experience. Getting to spend time with your kid, seeing the youth athletes on the team get better over time, and watching them have fun more than makes up for all the headaches.

Softball Coach

For most softball coaches, the beginning of the coaching path starts around teaching kids age 4-6 in Tee Ball and ends around high school. Sometimes experienced parents will get a chance to be the head coach if their schedule allows or have the opportunity to help with the high school team if the coaching staff is on a smaller budget or the athletic director is lenient. For a clear breakdown of ages and Little League divisions of play, the official Little League site has a nice list. Not many coaches get the opportunity to coach in college as many of these positions are full time, come with decent compensation, and are very competitive.

Another very popular softball association is the ASA (American Softball Association). ASA offers softball at all levels: recreational, competitive league, tournament, and National championships, and even international. Oftentimes, in ASA there is a higher level of competition than that found in Little League. ASA provides a coaching certification program called ACE (Achieve, Certify, and Educate) and provides trained umpires who are knowledgeable (most of the time).

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Softball Drill Plan

Instead of “winging it” and having your practice descend into complete anarchy leaving you looking incompetent and you’re coaching authority taking a big hit, a much better strategy is coming up with a broad-stroke outline of your practice. This outline will leave enough room for flexibility in the event that a drill accidentally goes overtime or if for example, you feel the team is especially benefiting from a particular exercise.

Coaches are constantly making decisions. Their vision and implementation will have a very large impact on how successful the team’s season is. As a brand new coach, managing a team of young players can feel pretty overwhelming at first. The best things to keep in mind is that things will keep getting better with time and experience. Half the battle is won just by keeping everyone active and engaged. The more thought and time you put into coaching, the faster you will get to the point of having a practice run like a well-oiled engine.

Also reading books on coaching and informational sites—especially ours wink wink—is a great way to supplement experience and find drills and workouts that best suit your team. It takes a few weeks of practice to get acclimated to a new team and discover the specific skill sets of each player and which position they will fit best in.

You may not be the organizational type but it is an essential skill to being a good head coach. It’s a good idea to map things out before practices get started. Start with the preseason, then in season, and the games schedule that makes up the final part. Divide these into more manageable pieces and create mini-schedules. For example, practices, before games start, will be much more intense than practices in between scheduled games.

Having fun is the most important part of any sport. Creating drills with little competitions, and having the right balance of conditioning and drills goes a long way to achieving an enjoyable practice. This plays a large role in keeping the team motivated and interested during practice. Especially if you are coaching younger kids, you don’t need to have grueling practices as there is much less focus on competition. Also, the younger the players are the less likely they will be able to grasp specific concepts and mechanics. A much better approach is focusing on general ideas and the key areas where they will get the most benefit.

Coaching Tips Summary:

  • Gain experience and knowledge
  • Stay organized and break things down the season into mini-schedules
  • Keep things simple with younger players
  • Have fun, that’s why the players are there in the first place

The Five Pillars of a Successful Softball Practice Plan

Repetition and practice will reduce mental and mechanical errors, not eliminate them.

1. Warm-ups.

Softball Warm Up Drill

Occasionally this indispensable portion of a well-rounded practice is neglected by coaches or players. A light jog, stretching, and some sort of catch and throw activity is an excellent way to warm up the team. You don’t always need to follow this basic warm-up outline though, there are plenty of dynamic warm-ups that will loosen up the whole body and build softball skills. Furthermore, warming up helps prevent significant injuries such as cramps and pulled muscles. Professional athletes always incorporate a warm-up before any rigorous training or drills to aid in preventing injuries and help take care of their bodies.

Example Drills:

  • Catch and Throw
  • Side shuffle, partner toss
  • Catch and Throw Modified (On the Knees)
  • 4-1 play and 4-3 play
  • A Dynamic warm-up (we included an example in the video below)

2. Softball Drills, workouts, and conditioning.

Drills, workouts, and agility training will compose about 75% or more of most practices. Like we mentioned before, they are the bread and butter of any good practice. Hitting drills, outfield drills, infield drills all fall under this umbrella category. If you have an inexperienced or younger team, you’ll want to start with drills that concentrate on the basics and then move on to more advanced exercises.

Repetition and practice are the best ways to ready athletes for game situations. Decision-making errors are common, so drills that help players prioritize where the balls needs to go in what situation will help prevent this when it’s crunch time. Another of the most common errors are missed fielding opportunities and dropped fly balls. Repetition is also the way players will be able to develop good mechanics to prevent these from happening during games. Keep in mind, mental errors and mistakes are inevitable. Practice and repetition will reduce these errors and increase the chance of your team winning, but they will never eliminate them altogether.

Softball Practice Drills

  • The scarecrow drill
  • Reading the hop
  • Decision drill
  • Backhand and throw drill
  • Tripled infield drill

3. Team building Softball Drills and bonding exercises.

On relatively younger aged teams you’ll be able to get away with doing a lot more “fun drills” because you’re spending less time on getting into the nitty-gritty details of hitting and fielding mechanics. These are usually positioned towards the end of practice and are a great way to wrap up and keep team morale high. This can be as simple as team batting or skirmish and as complex as some creative game the coaches have come up with.

Team bonding drills are also a great way to melt some of the tension away during the beginning of the season. Many of the players may not know each other well or come from different social groups and these drills help establish a foundation of friendship among the teammates. It reminds players that they made the right decision coming out for softball and that they are going to have fun during the season. As a coach holding taxing practices filled with conditioning, high-intensity drills, and pressure situations over and over again will wear down players and may even result in some of them quitting. Having the right mix of drills is what separates great practices from good ones.

  • Steal the bacon
  • Bucket relay
  • “Barney” game
  • “Thunder” Game

4. Specialization.

When it comes to defensive softball skills, a smart approach is to break the team up into groups from time-to-time to allow players to really hone their specific and most used skills. It doesn’t make sense for your pitchers to practice as catchers or vice versa.

Outfielders should spend more time tracking and catching fly balls, infielders with ground balls and bouncers, and pitchers throwing to catchers. Focusing on the skills most pertinent to each athlete’s position is one of the best ways to make the best use of finite practice time.

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to break into separate stations. This may be because you’re the only coach and you have to focus on drills the entire team can do together to keep everyone engaged and active.

Softball Infield Drills

It’s not a good idea to overdo it and have the players only focus on the scenarios that are most often seen in their position. You still want each player to be well-rounded, knowledgeable, and skillful in all roles. For example, a player may miss a game someone else will need to fill in the position for the team. Players can move to different teams, quit, find a position that better fits them, and/or be involved in other sports that limit their participation. Anything can happen, and that’s why it’s always pragmatic to train all players on the team to have a base level competency.

5. Water breaks.

Keeping athletes hydrated is critical for a number of reasons. It helps them maintain a high level of performance over a longer practice duration, prevents cramping and dehydration, and is a welcome reprieve in between drills. Water breaks are particularly important on hot days and during intense practices. You don’t want any of your players passing out from heat exhaustion. That is dangerous and will also result in some very upset parents.

On average, you’ll want to incorporate around 1-2 water breaks for every hour of practice. More than that and you’re wasting time, less than that is not enough and risks players’ health. This will give the team a chance to refocus and take a breather. These water breaks are also a great opportunity for coaches to get together and discuss player progress and how to go about implementing the next activity. Also, these breaks are a good way to give you some time to come up with the next drill if you forgot to plan the practice.


Nicely done. Good view points on the exercises, simple explanation. Keep up the good work !


Another staple in both baseball and softball is getting reps and throws from all positions and to all bases always. This helps increase arm strength as well as getting reads in the outfield and reps in the infield.


Steal the bacon ….. and other team un drills. Could you email?

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Youth Softball Drills: 8U, 10U, and 12U

Youth Softball Drills: 8U, 10U, and 12U

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With age comes differences in cognitive development, engagement, and physical capabilities. Therefore, when planning youth softball drills for your upcoming tryouts or practices, it is essential to tailor drills according to the players’ ages.

We break down youth softball drills for 8U, 10U, and 12U players. Drills that will keep each age group motivated while helping coaches analyze players across the core areas of softball, such as: hitting, throwing, bunting, fielding, and catching.

8U Softball Drills

Kneeling glove fielding drill.

  • Arrange players in pairs on the infield, positioning them approximately 15 feet apart from each other. Both players should have gloves on for this softball fielding drill.
  • Players will take turns rolling the softball.
  • The receiving player will catch the softball with both hands while ensuring the palms of their hands are facing upwards.

Tip: Emphasize the importance of soft hands when players catch the ball. This means catching the ball with minimal force while ensuring a secure grip, helping to prevent the ball from bouncing off the glove.

Tee hitting drill

  • Place a batting tee on the ground. The height of the tee should be just above belt level; however, minor adjustments can be made.
  • Line players up and fill a bucket with 10 softballs.
  • The first player in line will hit the softball from the tee, repeatedly replacing a softball on the tee after each swing.

Tip: Ensure players maintain a proper stance, hold the bat with a comfortable grip, and keep their eye on the ball at all times (from the moment it is placed on the tee until after contact is made).

Running callout drill

  • Have players line up in a single file line.
  • The first player up will start at first base.
  • On the coach’s call, player 1 will have to run towards (and back to) whichever base you call.
  • Have each player complete this drill 3-4 times before rotating to the next player in line.

Note: Ideally, you want to encourage players to increase their speed & endurance each round. Make sure to use a stopwatch to time each player and congratulate any victories along the way.

Balloon batting drill

  • Position a balloon between the player’s thighs before they assume the proper batting stance.
  • As the batter advances with their swing, they must maintain control of the balloon, preventing it from shifting or dropping to the ground.

Tip: For optimal batting stance, players will stand with their feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Weight should be on their back foot with their front foot planted on the ground. Their toes and chest should be pointed towards home plate.

One-knee throwing drill

  • Players will begin by kneeling on one knee, with their back leg perpendicular to their front leg.
  • The throwing hand (on the side with the back leg) will start by going to the player’s thigh before they bring their elbow up and face the ball out.
  • Simultaneously, the other hand with the glove will be extended straight ahead.
  • Once this position is secured, players will perform the throw. In this drill, the throwing hand will follow through while the gloved hand steadily descends in a straight path.

Tip: As the ball is released in this softball throwing drill, players should also be snapping their wrists to ensure greater accuracy of the throw.

See the one-knee throwing drill in action

Softball player sliding into base

10U Softball Drills

Point value bunting drill.

  • Assign a score to each base. For example, bases 1 and 3 can be worth two points while base 2 can be worth one point.
  • Each player will take turns bunting the ball.
  • The players will get awarded a point value for where the ball stops . If the ball doesn’t land in any designated marked areas, a score of zero will be given.
  • Each player will bunt the ball 4 times.
  • Make sure to tally up the scores at the end of all four rounds.

Tip: Ensure players bunt the ball off the upper portion of the bat, slightly north of the barrel’s ideal zone.

Pendulum throwing drill

  • Line players up.
  • The first player in line will rock back and forth 3 times, shifting weight from their back to their front leg.
  • On the last rock to their back leg, players will get into a throwing stance.
  • As players rock forward, they will throw the ball.
  • Rotate through players 5-6 times.

Tip: For optimal throwing stance, players should stand with feet shoulder width apart with one foot slightly in front of the other. Additionally, elbows should be at or slightly above shoulder level and knees should be slightly bent to generate maximum throwing power.

Triangle fielding drill

  • Draw a triangle in the sand and pair up players.
  • Have one player stand with their knees slightly bent and hip-width apart at the base of the triangle. Without a glove, these players will practice receiving different ground balls from their partner: i.e., straight, forehand left line, backhand right line.
  • Once players feel comfortable with this drill, they can then put on their gloves to receive a variety of ground balls.

See the triangle fielding drill in action

Freeze hitting drill

  • Players will set up their swing how they normally do; however, when they go back into their load position , they will freeze for 2-3 seconds.
  • Players will then follow throw with their swing and hit the ball.

Slide catch drill

  • Players will start a few inches ahead of home plate, with their knees bent in a squat and their gloved hand straight out.
  • Fingers should face up to the sky and their palm facing the field).
  • On the coach’s call, a ball will be thrown, either veering slightly to the left or right. Note: Players won’t know ahead of time which direction to go
  • Players will have to quickly slide over to the designated side where the ball is heading and drop to their knees to catch the ball.

Tip: When players move to the right side, they will need to ensure they throw their right foot out (and vice-versa when they move to the left side). Enough momentum should be developed so that that the trail side follows along with it.

Youth softball player throwing ball

12U Softball Drills

Hit the helmet throwing drill.

  • Place a helmet at home base and line your team up between second and third base.
  • Each player will throw the ball with their dominant hand, and ideally hit the helmet, before going to the back of the line.
  • The first player to hit the helmet wins the round.
  • After each round, continue to place the helmet an inch further from players.
  • Run the drill for 5 rounds.

One-knee hitting drill

  • Pair players up.
  • One player will be on one knee, with their back leg perpendicular to their front leg and their shoulders relaxed with a solid grip on the bat.
  • The other player will be responsible for throwing the ball in a standing position.

Note: This hitting exercise effectively isolates the upper body, prompting the hitter to concentrate on correct swing mechanics rather than speed.

Wide-receiver fielding drill

  • Line up players in the outfield with their gloves on.
  • Place a cone 20 feet from the first player in line.
  • On your call, player 1 will sprint to the cone before either breaking right or left at a 45-degree angle. Note: Players won’t know ahead of time which direction to go.
  • As the player begins to sprint to the cone, you should release the ball. The player must maintain visual contact with the ball throughout to ensure a successful catch.

See the wide-receiver catching drill in action

Knee tap bunting drill

  • Line up players with a bat.
  • Player 1 will start in an upright hitting position.
  • As the coach throws the ball, the player will drop down to one knee and execute the bunt.

Note: Dropping to one knee helps players to maintain better balance. Additionally, by localizing movement the upper half of the body only, batters can achieve greater precision when bunting.

Slow to fast batting drill

  • Line players up with a bat.
  • As the ball nears, the first player in line will assume a normal batting stance but slowly shift their weight onto their back leg.
  • Once weight is shifted, players will gradually increase their bat speed until they make contact with the ball.
  • After hitting the ball, players will continue their swing (at full speed) through to the hitting zone.

Wrapping Up

While younger athletes might still be mastering fundamental softball skills such as coordination and balance, your older youth athletes might be advancing to focus on throwing accuracy and batting swing path. Therefore, when athletes perform youth softball drills that align with their physical capabilities and cognitive development, their skill set has the potential to thrive.

Looking to ditch the pen-and-paper forms and evaluate your youth softball players easily and conveniently? SkillShark’s softball evaluation app enables you to create customized templates, score players on your mobile device, and gain valuable player insights upon evaluations with pre-generated reports.

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Explore how SkillShark has transformed careers and organizations through real-life success stories. Join our community and streamline your softball evaluations today.

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We’ve evaluated approximately 1200 players this season. It was super simple and convenient. Data entry usually took us eight hours a day, for fifteen consecutive days. With the volume of athletes that we need to process in one event, SkillShark has probably saved me about 120 hours overall.

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FAQ — Youth Softball Drills

What is the importance of organizing youth softball drills according to age groups, how many drills should be run during softball tryouts, what are some 8u softball drills, what are some 10u softball drills, what are some 12u softball drills, how can i easily evaluate my youth softball players.

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10 Best Softball Drills for 11- and 12-Year-Olds

Teach technique, but focus on fun

May 05, 2022 | 12 min watch

Softball drills are centered around hitting, throwing the ball and catching. Makes sense – there’s a lot to learn. 

By age 11 or 12, most of these young players have got the fundamentals down . It’s time to work on the technique that will make them even stronger on game day. 

Our 10 best softball drills for 11- and 12-year-olds take softball practice to the next level, without forgetting the fun – ‘cuz they’re still kids!

Superstar Go for the gold with quick transfer times and accurate throws. 

Four Corners Quick throws around the diamond keeps players on their toes. 

Think Fast Batting practice reaches a fever pitch!

Inside/Outside Double the tees means double the fun in this game.

Beat the Ball Who’s gonna win? Runners round the bases while the fielders try to get the ball home first.

Gold Glove Who’s got it? All players get a shot to make the out.

Bunting Bonanza Hitters lay down bunts as fielders scramble to get outs.

Go the Distance Pitchers start close to the plate to dial in their release point – then back it up. 

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The Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Travel Softball Teams | Everything You Need to Know

March 14, 2023

48 min read

12u travel softball practice plans

If your young daughter plays fastpitch, at some point you’ll hear the debate around travel softball. 

Certain parents will tell you that your child should start playing travel ball as soon as possible. Others will tell you to avoid it completely. 

The decision to join a club softball team is a big one for your daughter and for the rest of your family, with many factors to consider. 

If you have questions about travel ball, you’ll find answers in this comprehensive guide, which covers:

  •  How travel ball differs from recreational softball
  • How travel ball works
  • The pros and cons of both travel and recreational softball
  • What to consider when making the switch
  • How to find and tryout for a fastpitch travel team
  • How much does travel softball really cost?

# How Does Rec Ball Differ from Travel Softball?

Fastpitch softball competition is split between recreational leagues and travel ball. 

Recreational, commonly referred to as “rec ball” is usually run by Little League Softball or other local organizations. 

The focus of rec ball is on having fun and teaching players the fundamentals of the game. 

The tryouts in rec ball are to ensure that talent is as evenly distributed amongst the league’s teams as possible in the name of fairness – and everyone makes a team if they register for the league. 

The rec season runs in the spring, from March to May, and games take place locally at a predetermined set of fields during the regular season.  

As a parent, you can usually expect a commitment of two games per week and maybe one or two practices. 

Typically, the cost is around $100, and teams are organized around age-based divisions for players ranging from 4 to 16 years old. 

# Travel Softball

Travel softball differs from rec ball in a few important ways. 

A big one is that club teams hold pass-fail tryouts, selecting and organizing players based on skill. Players without the requisite skills will not be offered a spot on the team. 

Such teams usually also travel to other cities or out of state to compete, hence the name “travel ball.” 

Organizations like the USSSA, the American Softball Association (ASA), Triple Crown, and the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) host tournaments all across the country for travel ball teams year-round. 

While not every team plays all year long, travel ball still lets your child play a lot more softball than they would in rec ball. 

Club softball costs significantly more than rec ball as well, ranging from $500 to $5000 for yearly player fees. 

Rec Ball Differ Travel Softball B P045

# How Travel Softball Teams Work

The structure of a travel softball season differs quite a bit from rec ball. 

In rec ball, you play against the same teams throughout the season, at the same local parks, often practice 1-2 days per week, and play a single game on the weekend. 

In addition to being year-round, travel softball includes tournaments, more weekly practices, possible expectations that they’ll procure weekly 1:1 training sessions, along with attending weekend friendlies, scrimmages, or league play. 

Let’s break a few of these things down individually.

# Fastpitch Travel Tournaments

Fastpitch travel teams usually play in tournaments, as many as every weekend in the summer. Some teams play in fall and spring tournaments as well. 

Weekend tournaments guarantee between 5-10 games total, depending on how well your team performs. 

They start either Friday night or Saturday morning with “seed” play or pool play. After 3-4 games of seed play to determine your rank, bracket play starts. 

Most tournaments are double-elimination in bracket play. 

And winners of the tournament usually get a prize like small trophies or medals – but they can also earn teams so-called “berths” to compete in larger national championship tournaments. 

Berths are like special invitation tickets that grant travel softball teams admission to the biggest and most competitive stages in the game. 

That said, instead of weekend affairs, some tournaments are weeklong onslaughts with 1-5 games per day. 

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# Practices and Training Sessions for Travel Softball

Travel softball requires more time both on and off the field. 

Your daughter will play in more games, but she’ll also spend more time at practices and might even be expected to have individual private lessons, group clinics, or training sessions. 

If she’s playing at an elite level, then putting in extra work will feel essential to keep up with her teammates and competition. 

Practices can become fewer during tournament season, but training ramps up in the winter season. 

To be a high-level competitor in travel ball, most parents and coaches these days would lament the reality that there's no real break from the game. 

Practices Training Sessions Travel Softball B P045

# Travel ball League Play

Finally, your travel team might sign up for a league. 

Essentially, some large cities host weeknight games or double-headers for club teams in the area to compete in. 

These leagues differ from rec softball because the teams are more competitive. They’re also more common in large urban centers where more teams are likely to be based. 

If your club team is from a small town, then you may not play in one of these leagues. Or you might travel further to play in one. 

To be clear, these league games are usually in addition to the weekend tournaments previously explained. 

# What Are You Committing To with Travel Softball?

One of the biggest differences between rec ball and travel ball is the time commitment. 

You and your daughter should be ready to spend a great deal of your time on softball once you sign up for a travel team. 

As you can see by now, travel ball encompasses more than just some tournaments. When people say it’s a lifestyle, you should take them at their word. 

Not condoning or condemning here – these are just the current realities on the ground. 

And if she’s serious about playing softball and dreams of competing in college ball, these are sacrifices she’ll almost inevitably be expected to make. 

Travel softball teams also bring a financial burden. 

If you’re spending more money on fees, equipment, uniforms, travel, or other softball-related expenses, that’s less you can spend on your daughter’s other activities. 

It might also mean less material things like video games, new smartphones, or new street clothes. 

So unless you are very well-off, both you and your daughter must be willing to accept some trade-offs to play club softball at an elite level. 

Of course, these realities can affect the financial decisions of your entire family. 

Let’s detail the pros and cons of both rec and travel softball, so you can more easily make an informed decision about signing your daughter up for club ball or not.

Committing Travel Softball B P045

# The Pros and Cons of Rec Softball

  • Emphasis on learning – With Little League/recreational leagues, everyone who signs up gets to play on a team. The focus is on learning the game and developing values like sportsmanship and leadership. Coaches will also let girls play at different positions so they can figure out what they’re good at and what they like best. 
  • Stay local – If your daughter plays on a rec team, you won’t have to travel more than 30 miles from your town. Even in small cities, they try to organize leagues so that travel is minimal.  If you’d rather allocate your budget to family vacations than to transportation and hotels for softball, then rec ball may be more suited to your family.
  • Less expensive – Rec ball is significantly less expensive than club softball. Although fees vary by region, the average is around $100 for a season, which includes a uniform.  Sometimes, coaches will even provide all the necessary equipment for their players.  In most cases, though, you might have to buy your child the right softball gear, which will increase the yearly spend to between $100-500 – depending on exactly what you decide to buy and how well her equipment held up the year before.
  • Lower competition – Since anyone that wants to is allowed to play, there’s no filter for competition. Coaches and umpires are usually volunteers, who may have little experience within the game. Many players who want to improve and hone their softball skills to an elite level won’t be able to do so if they continue playing rec ball into high school.
  • Less organization – Although not the case for all recreational leagues, some tend to be poorly organized. The entire league might be run by volunteers or city employees with no background administering youth sports. Poor organization can lead to fewer opportunities for your daughter to play, like if games get double-booked or canceled unexpectedly.
  • Fewer games – You play fewer games in a season of rec softball than with a club team. The total is about 20 games, not counting weather cancellations. Fewer games mean less exposure and slower rates of skill development. If your kid loves softball and wants to play as much as possible, it might be time to move up to the more involved club teams. 

Pros Cons Rec Softball B P045

# The Pros and Cons of Travel Softball

  • Better competition – For players who want to improve to an elite level, challenge themselves, and be part of a hard-working team, travel ball may be the way to go. With travel ball, kids learn the importance of bettering oneself for the sake of greater team success. They also face other elite players, making them more prepared to play at the collegiate level.
  • More games – If your child can’t get enough of softball, then travel ball might be perfect for her. Travel softball affords many more opportunities to play and develop, even if you have to sit on the bench sometimes. And for the amount of money you invest in club softball, you can expect a decent number of games.
  • Opportunity to travel – Some might view the travel aspect as a hindrance, but it can also be an opportunity. For some kids, the chance to venture outside their city or state could be a great way for them to become inspired. 
  • Costly – We’ll get into the details of these costs below, but after reading this.  Suffice it to say, you will want to make sure that both you and your daughter clearly understand the commitment you’re making to playing travel softball.
  • Missing out – In addition to costing money, travel will cost you valuable time. Your kid could miss out on social or school events. You, too, could miss out on work or extended family events by spending all your free time driving your daughter to tournaments and practices.  Many of the parents who can cover the financial curveballs that travel softball hurls at them, will be tempted to breeze past this warning. But it is worth serious consideration. 
  • Difficulty level – Although your child might want to play travel ball, you should be realistic about her current skill level.  Travel softball teams are full of elite, competitive players who are often targeting college softball and its scholarships.  If your kid doesn’t have the same abilities but ends up on a highly competitive team, she may quickly fall behind, see less playing time, and become discouraged with the sport.  But the good news is that within travel ball, there is an entire spectrum of teams with varying levels of skill and expectations.  So part of the team or organizational selection on your end is being realistic as to where your daughter is now, while creating a plan and setting goals to help get her where she wants to be in a year, 2 years, or 5 years from now.  

Travel Ball Pros Cons B P046

# A Middle Ground Between Rec Ball and Elite Travel Ball

It’s worth mentioning that travel softball teams are split up into categories based on both age and skill level. 

For age brackets, there’s 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U. 

Additionally, there are often “A,” “B,” and “C” levels for each age group. The “A” teams are the most competitive, the “C” teams are playing more for fun, and “B” teams fall somewhere in the middle.

So it’s possible for your daughter to play travel ball without facing steep levels of competition. Many “B” and “C” teams form to give kids a chance to play more softball than they would with a rec league. 

These teams focus less on college recruiting outreach and chasing softball scholarships and more on building character. 

Teams like these might play only in summer tournaments instead of year-round. And since they play fewer games, they require less time commitment, and there are fewer associated fees. 

Although these lower-tier teams are still considered “travel” softball teams, they might only or mostly play in local tournaments. 

Less serious club teams are a great middle-ground for girls who want more competition and playing time than rec ball offers, but who don’t want to commit to continuing to play in college softball. 

They’re also ideal for parents who’d rather invest less time and money in their child’s softball – so your daughter and your family can focus on other meaningful endeavors – but want more organized structure than rec ball.

Middle Ground Rec Ball Travel Ball B P045

# Should You Switch from Rec Ball to Travel Ball?

Whether or not you switch from rec ball to travel ball is up to you and your daughter. 

It’s truly an entire family decision. No blanket solution exists to suit everyone. And there’s also no particular best age for switching. 

The smartest thing you can do is continue on the path of research that led you to this article. 

Reading other parents’ experiences with travel ball versus rec ball on message boards and forums can be particularly enlightening. Their impressions might give you an insight into the sport you hadn’t thought of. 

Another great way to research travel softball is by word-of-mouth. 

Are there teams in your area? Can you get in contact with that team’s parents and ask them for advice? 

Sometimes the decision to try out for a club team is based on availability. 

If there are no travel teams in your area, you could join one out of town. This practice is actually much more common than you might think. 

For example, many elite, Hawaii-residing softball players will fly in and play for travel teams in places like California or Texas during tournament season. But, for most, doing so means driving or flying long distances for both practices and tournaments. 

Indeed, many softball parents will tell you that their decision about travel ball is based on circumstances. The location, budget, and presence of teams will all be factors in this decision-calculus. 

The most important factor, however, is your daughter’s interest in playing travel ball. 

If she’s willing to set aside other parts of her life for softball and wants a challenging environment to improve her game, then she should play some form of travel ball. 

Make sure both you and your daughter understand the time and effort that go into travel softball. Go over the pros and cons of club ball together, so you’re both informed. 

Once you and your child are clear about what you want, then you can make an informed decision.

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# how to find a fastpitch softball travel team.

Say you’ve weighed your options and discussed it with your child. You’ve both decided she should play travel ball. 

Now how do you go about finding a team? 

And what things should you look for in a travel softball team?

# Where to Look for Travel Softball Organizations

As mentioned, word-of-mouth is a great way to start your search for teams. Ask parents you know about travel teams in your area. 

If you live somewhere with a high concentration of softball clubs, like southern California, personal recommendations can come especially in handy. 

If you don’t know anyone involved in travel softball, then you can look online. Big organizations in your area will likely come up in a search engine, and this is a great way to find teams. 

But not every team has a website – or one that’s really optimized for search – so many won’t show up in search results. 

However, all teams that play in USSSA, ASA, Triple Crown, and NAFA must register with the organization. As a result, these websites might have directories of teams in your area. 

USSSA is a particularly great resource for this. You can use these online searches as a jumping-off point for finding a team, especially if there are a lot of them in your area. 

For cities and towns less inundated with travel teams, joining Facebook groups dedicated to travel softball is a great way to find recommendations. 

You could also search for a given team or travel organization’s Facebook page or Instagram profile, as nearly all will have these updated regularly even if they don’t have an official website. 

And social media posts from such accounts will often have the most accurate and real-time information about tryouts and team openings – such as, “Looking for a 2025 catcher”.

A final resource worth checking out is HeyBucket . There you will find tryout postings for most of the travel softball organizations around the country, along with a robust forum filled with parents and coaches discussing all things travel ball.

Look Travel Softball Organizations B P045

# Travel Softball Team Tryouts

If you want to join a travel softball team, you can expect to go through tryouts first. For teams that want to play in summer tournaments, tryouts can be held as early as the preceding August. 

At this time of the year, players are still fresh from their summer season, so ideally, they’ll perform their best at tryouts. Fall tryouts also give teams a chance to work out over the winter and coordinate fundraising efforts. 

# What Can You Expect at Travel Softball Tryouts

At tryouts, you can expect a 2-4 hour session similar to a practice. The coaches will introduce themselves and ask your daughter to do so as well. 

Travel coaches do this partly because they want to gauge your daughter’s confidence and maturity levels. 

This is especially important for teams focused on college recruiting, because these experienced coaches know that these same traits can make a player more or less attractive to college scouts. 

And their job as competitive travel coaches, aside from guiding her performance development, is convincing such scouts – who will eventually interact with your daughter – that she’s a great fit for their program.  

After introductions, the athletes will go through static stretches, movement-prep drills, and throw. 

Next, they’ll either start with offensive or defensive drills or live situations. 

Coaches will also want to assess your daughter’s baserunning. If she’s a pitcher or catcher, she will be asked to showcase these skills. 

Typically, tryouts are structured as stations, with girls moving from one station to the another. 

Encourage your daughter to always do her best at tryouts and hustle continuously without pause. 

Coaches at these tryouts are evaluating her attitude and work ethic as much as her softball abilities. If she makes a mistake, tell her – beforehand, not during – to just shrug it off and move on to the next rep.

Can Expect Travel Softball Tryouts B P045

# Warning to Parents During Fastpitch Travel Tryouts

You might have caught that less-than-subtle recommendation not to call out to your daughter in any way during a travel ball tryout. 

That’s because the truth is that for competitive travel ball teams, you as parents are also trying out in a way. Again, this is most true for college recruitment-age teams.

Coaches are always on the lookout for red flags from parents. 

Professional coaches also notice if your daughter looks to you in the stands directly after making a mistake during a tryout.

To them, this bad habit hints at both a lack of confidence on her part and a potentially toxic sports parent relationship, where she’s only doing this to please you and not because she herself loves the sport. 

For many travel ball coaches, such observed behaviors can lead to your daughter not making the team. 

In the interest of blunt honesty, if your daughter truly has top-percentile talent, such parent red flags may be willfully ignored at the younger levels of travel ball play. 

However, no matter how much potential your daughter possesses, these issues will become more of a problem at the older, recruitable 14U-18U ages, for reasons alluded to earlier. 

After asking about your daughter’s Rapsodo analytics metrics, GPA, SAT, and attitude tendencies, the very next question that all college coaches will ask your travel coach is “How are the parents?”

The travel ball coach has to tell the whole truth at this moment or risk losing their trusted reputation earned by years of hard work and relationship-building. 

Travel coaches know the truth will come out eventually – college coaches are often even more conscious, observant, and disqualifying in response to the red flags we listed – and not many travel coaches are going to be willing to lose face by lying.  

If your daughter is still within that 8U to 12U age range, this section is still worth heeding early. Stop bad habits on both your parts before they start. 

# How to Choose the Right Travel Softball Team for Your Daughter

There are eight major things you should keep in mind during your travel ball team selection:

# 1. Coaching style

How does the coach relate to the players and parents? Does the coach have experience playing or coaching softball, and at what level?

Do the coaches emphasize instruction, winning, or a combination of both?

The coaching style will have a big impact on your daughter’s experience with a travel ball team, so choose wisely.

As we’ve already discussed, cost is an unignorable factor in travel softball. Ask about a breakdown of fees up front.

Coaches should know how much everything on their side will cost before the season starts, so you’ll have a good idea of what you’re paying.

Look at what you get for your money – are uniforms and equipment or additional training opportunities included? Are tournament fees extra?

Keep in mind also that you’ll have to pay your own travel expenses in addition to whatever fees the team requires.

# 3. Structure

How is their season structured? Does the team play tournaments year-round or only in the summer? Which tournaments will the team play in?

At younger ages, staying closer to home for tournaments is ideal – your daughter can still learn and compete and you can save your money for when she’s more serious about softball, closer to college-age.

Traveling long distances to the most elite travel ball tournaments in the country will eventually be necessary if she’s interested in playing D1, though.

When thinking about the organization of the team you should also look into their practice schedule and winter workouts.

Off-season training sessions are when your daughter will build upon her skills the most, so these practices are vital for her improvement.

# 4. Skill level

How good is the team? Do they finish each tournament by losing their first two bracket games in a row?

Competing, improving, and having fun can be more important than winning. But losing badly every weekend also isn’t much fun and it doesn’t facilitate skill improvement or confidence.

# 5. Playing time

When it comes to younger teams, players should be moving around positions and getting as much experience on the field as possible.

During tournament pool play, everyone should have about equal playing time. Once bracket play starts, though, the emphasis is often on competing at the highest level possible.

As players get older, their positions will become more fixed, and playing time should be based on performance.

Most elite travel ball coaches won’t give you a straight guarantee on your daughter’s playing time. Their priority will be putting together the best team that can compete at the level they’re playing at.

# 6. College

You shouldn’t worry too much about college recruiting until your daughter’s freshman year of high school.

But second-year 14U team coaches and up should know the rules around recruiting and work to educate you and your player on those rules.

They should also have contacts in college programs and be a proponent for your daughter in these programs.

# 7. Personal development

You should look for teams that foster character building in your kid. Improvement in the sport and college ball preparation is important, but you and their coaches should keep an eye on the bigger picture.

What kinds of values does this team instill in its players? Do they encourage a strong work ethic, respect for teammates, and good sportsmanship?

These are the types of skills players should learn in youth sports because they translate to adult and professional life.

Above all, the experience should be fun. Your daughter should enjoy playing on this club team and everything it involves. If it’s clear the other girls on the team aren’t having any fun, that’s a bad sign.

Travel ball players and coaches are a serious bunch, but they shouldn’t be so tightly wound that they make the experience miserable for everyone else.

Choose Right Travel Softball Team Daughter B P045

# Wrapping Up on What You Need to Know

Deciding to join a travel softball team is, as you can see, a big decision. 

You and your daughter have many factors to consider which will significantly impact her experience playing softball. 

You want your child to do activities she finds rewarding and enjoyable, which promote her personal development. 

Travel softball can achieve all of these things for her. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. 

We did our best to not make this about how things should, could, or used to be in our game. This wasn’t an opinion piece. 

Instead, we sought to make a super practical and unfiltered guide for moms, dads, and up-and-coming athletes trying to make a major life choice today – in the current year.

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you have the information you need about travel softball to make the right decision for you and your daughter.

# Bonus Material: How Much Does Travel Softball Really Cost?

Maximum Annual Costs Travel Softball B P045

Below are some rough approximations of expenses. 

We do not recommend focusing too hard on the numbers listed.

And not just because we don’t want you to have a heart attack.

It’s mainly because this is mostly an exercise to inform you more about the different types of costs incurred in a given year of travel softball. 

This is by no means exhaustive, but it does give you a good place to start when considering this decision from a financial perspective. 

So, without further ado. 

# Gate Fees and Concessions for Travelball

Most complexes that host travel tournaments charge parents and other adult supporters, like your relatives or friends, who want to attend the games a gate fee. 

This gate fee is usually between $5-10 per person per day though some charge by the weekend or week. 

Also, you and your family will get hungry and thirsty, and most athletic complexes do not allow outside food on the premises. 

Gate Cost: $300-800 yearly

# Travel Expenses for Club Softball

At the younger ages of 8U-12U, there is less distance traveled, as teams mostly compete within their local state or even county. 

However, they usually play more tournaments in total, as there is no so-called “dark period” for these younger athletes. 

The dark period is the time that high school-aged softball players cannot play travel ball because it is high school season, and the regulations do not allow them to play both at the same time. This period is enforced in almost every US state. 

Besides the travel to actual games, you must consider the travel to practices, which occur 2-4 times per week – depending on the team and organization. 

And for all this travel you and your family will need to get some food and drinks, at least some of the time. 

Moreover, there is the wear and tear on your vehicle and its maintenance to consider. 

Lastly, you or your significant other may need unpaid time off in order to attend various games and tournaments throughout the year.

Travel Cost for younger ages: $700-3,000 yearly

At the older ages, 14U to 18U, the travel cost varies greatly. 

It depends on the competitiveness of the team and whether they are focused at the regional level or if they are chasing D1 scholarships at the national level. 

Travel Cost for older ages: $2,000-10,000

# Gear and Travel Team Events

You’ll also need to at least consider purchasing your daughter’s bats, cleats, batting gloves, extra uniforms, extra socks, athletic tape, eye-black, hair accessories, and sliding shorts. 

Some of these items may be included in your monthly or yearly dues to the travel organization or team that your daughter plays under. 

And you will be expected to contribute financially – usually in the form of bringing snacks or drinks or buying tickets – and time-wise to various team fundraisers and bonding events throughout the year. 

Gear and Special Event Costs: $500-1,500 yearly

# Additional Expenses for Elite Softball

Most travel softball players get private lessons or participate in group clinics for hitting, pitching, catching, or fielding. 

Some travel softball athletes also get additional training or help keep them optimized physically from strength and conditioning coaches, PT’s, and/or chiropractors. 

Additional Training Cost: $500-4,000

Once athletes are recruiting age – technically 8th grade to 12th grade, but here we mean high school – they may want to attend college softball clinics and camps to get additional exposure to particular college coaches, and help their chances of getting recruited. 

College Camps/Clinics Cost: $500-2,000 yearly

# Travelball Expense Totals

So, the approximate price range, depending on a ton of different variables – which is why the price gap is so massive – for participating in travel softball each year is between:

 $2,000* and $23,300.

To be honest, both of these numbers represent extremes on the low and the high sides of the spectrum. 

But we included this expense exercise to help parents like yourself begin to think about how serious a financial investment travel softball is. 

The only way to make decisions that are best for your daughter and for the rest of your family is to be informed about what such decisions might entail. 

Finally, it should be mentioned that the majority of softball athletes begin travel ball at the 10U or 12U level – between 9 and 12 years old. 

If your daughter competes in travel all the way until the 18U level at 17 to 18 years old, you can now get a rough idea, from these yearly approximations above, toward what an entire competitive career in travel softball might cost.

We’ll let you do that career-length extrapolation on your own though – this no-nonsense guide has likely stressed you out enough by this point. 

That said, hopefully this guide was a tiny brick on you and your daughter’s long road through this wonderful game that we call softball.  

*On the lower number, we did not include the “Additional Expenses” categories, because they might not be needed depending on the age and competitiveness-level.

About the Author

12u travel softball practice plans

Courtney Withrow

Professional Writer

Originally from the U.S., Courtney is a Brussels-based freelance writer with a Master’s degree in International Relations. She grew up playing softball and still loves the game.

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12u travel softball practice plans

Softball Practice for 12U – Pitching & Catching Drills

Home » Softball Coaching » Softball Practice for 12U – Pitching & Catching Drills

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From Mike… A pitching drill that I like to do with my daughter is a one-hop [tag]softball drill[/tag].   Utilizing the width of a gym, she throws the ball as hard as she can keeping the ball low and hitting the floor in front of the catcher.   This [tag]softball pitching drill[/tag] teaches the pitcher the proper release point and cuts way down on high pitches.

From Frank… I have coached [tag]softball[/tag] at many levels in my career, but currently I am coaching jr. high girls and 12 year old boys in the local Little League. One of the things I was having trouble with was, during batting practice the kids were not reacting to fly balls.

As many times as I would tell them a fly ball was a gift from heaven, they would just let them fall in front or behind them, then go over pick the ball up and roll it back to the pitcher.   I now tell them that whoever catches the most fly balls during batting practice will get a free ice cream of their choice after practice.   If they drop one, it is deducted from their totals.

They now react properly to fly balls during practice and more importantly during the games. This drill has made batting practice fun and very competitive for the kids who are in the field.

Practice Plans and More

The following plans and templates are provided to assist coaches with practices and games. These documents are created in Excel and can be easily downloaded and altered to fit your agenda. Thanks again for all you do for our program!

Indoor Practice Plans

Indoor Practice 1

Indoor practice 2, indoor practice 3, indoor practice 4, indoor practice 5.

Outdoor Practice Plans

Practice Plan 1

Practice plan 2, practice plan 3, practice plan 4, practice plan 5, practice plan 6, practice plan 7, practice plan 8, practice plan 9, practice plan 10, practice plan 11.

Game Day Templates

Fielding Rotation Template

Rotation examples, lineup template, instructions/demonstrations.

From Orono High School Coaches: Chris Johnson & Chad Christians

These helpful handouts were distributed at the Coaches Clinic conducted on Sunday, April 7 at the Orono High School gym. Orono Varsity Head Coach Chris Johnson and Asst. Coach Chad Christians provided the training that evening and also these materials in order to have consistency throughout all levels of the Orono softball program. Please adhere to the fundamental forms and language used in these documents.

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12u travel softball practice plans

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12u Practice Plan Bundle

12u Practice Plan Bundle

Practice makes perfect!

Are you looking for drills to improve your athletes skills? Our practice plan bundle is the perfect solution to have many drills in one place and to save time on creating efficient practice plans!

What is included in our Practice Plan Bundle?

  • 10 - 2 hour practice plans
  • 5 - 2.5 hour practice plans
  • 5 - 3 hour practice plans
  • Drill bank of over 130 drills
  • List of speed and agility drills
  • List of dynamic and static stretches

Upon purchase you will receive a link to download your digital files. 

*No practice plan in any bundle are identical 

12u travel softball practice plans

Free Softball Practice Plan

Complete this 20-second questionnaire and we'll create a custom practice plan for your team!

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Practice Planning

  • Thread starter oneeye78
  • Start date Oct 28, 2022

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  • Oct 28, 2022

I am an assistant on a 12U travel team. I am not happy with our head coach's practice plans. They tend to be quite loose and not very time bound. We often spend most of practice doing activities in lines where girls are waiting more than they are active. We get mired in drills and can spend 20-25% of practice on a very niche skill like base stealing. I want to make an alternative proposal, but I wanted to get input from people more experienced than me. A few questions for the group: 1) Do you use small groups across stations to reduce wait time? Or move as a team? 2) How long do you stick with an activity? 3) How consistent are you with drills? Do you change a lot or stay consistent practice to practice? 4) What is the right mix between fundamentals and applied skills for intermediate players? Any input on the questions above or example practice plans would be much appreciated.  

oneeye78 said: I am an assistant on a 12U travel team. I am not happy with our head coach's practice plans. They tend to be quite loose and not very time bound. We often spend most of practice doing activities in lines where girls are waiting more than they are active. We get mired in drills and can spend 20-25% of practice on a very niche skill like base stealing. I want to make an alternative proposal, but I wanted to get input from people more experienced than me. A few questions for the group: 1) Do you use small groups across stations to reduce wait time? Or move as a team? 2) How long do you stick with an activity? 3) How consistent are you with drills? Do you change a lot or stay consistent practice to practice? 4) What is the right mix between fundamentals and applied skills for intermediate players? Any input on the questions above or example practice plans would be much appreciated. Click to expand...


I try to keep any activity /drill to a 15-20 minute max ... After that you start losing their attention and its counter productive ... The exception would be hitting stations where overall we spend about a half hour but there are 6 or 7 stations that they rotate through with a hitting partner. It depends on the activity, sometimes we do smaller groups and then come together as a team, sometimes there is no need to come together and sometimes the entire team will run through it together. A lot of time can be lost between drills if your not careful which causes more standing around... What I do is make them take everything they need for practice out of their bat bag prior to starting practice ... Hair is already up, cleats are double knotted, bat, water bottle, batting gloves, glove or mitt is all out of the bag sitting against the outside of the dugout fence ... Phone is in the bag in the dugout and turned off ... If you do a water cooler, place it so you are not creating a line in the dugout ... Between drills they have 1 minute to switch gear, hydrate and be ready to go. (Yes, I do a stop watch and whistle) Have your basics but always throw in some new drill or activity ... Always have something fun ... If no one makes an error, if no one learns a new skill, if no one laughs during a practice; you're doing it wrong. My 2 cents.  


I like the previous comments. Except @CoachJD blasphemy about not hitting much in practice, lol! -Warmups should be mini-practices with plenty of hitting. Use your imagination and look for opportunities when a cage or open field presents itself. This can help expand what you have time to do at your actual practices. -There is time between games sometimes to work on fielding stuff that keeps players busy and doesn’t run them into the ground. -Coaches talk too much at practice. Shut up and practice. If you have something to say, say it and move on. They aren’t listening if you are talking in paragraph size sound bites.  

Westwind said: I like the previous comments. Except @CoachJD blasphemy about not hitting much in practice, lol! Click to expand...


Possibilities & Opportunities!

CoachJD said: I would like to hit a little bit more than we do, but not that much. It's not that I don't think it's important. We just play at a level where the pitching is rarely dominant and most of our losses happen because of bad defense. Our hitters are not great hitters, but they're good enough. The defense (and base running) often is not. Click to expand...
CoachJD said: I am also the only coach who can pitch front toss. Click to expand...


CoachJD said: So those hitting days have to be days I don't need to be available to do anything else. I don't have our pitchers pitch BP to our hitters. But a lot of it is what offends my softball sensibilities. I don't get upset watching bad hitting. Watching our defense can make blood shoot out of my eyes sometimes. Click to expand...
  • Oct 29, 2022

Sparky Guy

  • Oct 30, 2022



RADcatcher said: sad coaches need a skills clinic LOL What is the errors count vs. Runs scored? Click to expand...
GunnerShotgun said: Team hitting is one of the worst ROI in all of sports practices that I can think of. Spend more time on baserunning and defending baserunning if you want to win at a high level. Click to expand...

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12u travel softball practice plans

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12u travel softball practice plans

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OU Softball: Oklahoma OF Hannah Coor Having Another Back Surgery

John e. hoover | 18 hours ago.

Jayda Coleman, Hannah Coor

Oklahoma outfielder Hannah Coor announced Monday that she is having a second back surgery.

Coor made the announcement on her Instagram.

“This season was on eof the most fun and exciting ones yet, but also extremely tough,” she said. “The fight and strength that were displayed this Eason will always be the biggest win for me and something I will remember for the rest of my life. 

“Pain is no one’s friend, and I am so ready to get rid of mine! I’m currently at the hospital waiting for my second back surgery. I could use all the heal thing thoughts and prayers sent my way. My hard is now, and I’m beginning to understand and appreciate all my challenges in life.

“God is a mighty God who will continue giving me strength through all of this. His plan! A win is coming … a win is freaking coming for me; I just know it! Oh … And I’m not done yet!”

Coor, a third-year sophomore from Yorba Linda, CA, played in 63 games this season, with two starts. She batted .211 with one home run, two doubles and eight RBIs.

OU head coach Patty Gasso said last fall after the Sooners’ Battle Series that Coor was dealing with “chronic” back issues and was “just trying to manage the pain” so she could return for the 2024 season.

“I think it’s just pain and frustration,” Gasso said. “She had the surgery and we’re just trying to get it to allow her to sleep at night or go through a practice without enormous pain. And it happens every single day, so it’s a mental stretch on her. It’s really tough. You can see it.

“But she’s got her heat pack on in the dugout. She’s trying to do everything she can to stay in the game. And you can see — I can see her just really struggling at times. So I commend her for that and the really just finishing strong with it.”

Coor played in just four games in 2023 after a freshman season in which she appeared in 40 games primarily as a pinch runner.

John E. Hoover


John is an award-winning journalist whose work spans five decades in Oklahoma, with multiple state, regional and national awards as a sportswriter at various newspapers. During his newspaper career, John covered the Dallas Cowboys, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Arkansas Razorbacks and much more. In 2016, John changed careers, migrating into radio and launching a YouTube channel, and has built a successful independent media company, DanCam Media. From there, John has written under the banners of Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Fan Nation and a handful of local and national magazines while hosting daily sports talk radio shows in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and statewide. John has also spoken on Capitol Hill in Oklahoma City in a successful effort to put more certified athletic trainers in Oklahoma public high schools. Among the dozens of awards he has won, John most cherishes his national "Beat Writer of the Year" from the Associated Press Sports Editors, Oklahoma's "Best Sports Column" from the Society of Professional Journalists, and Two "Excellence in Sports Medicine Reporting" Awards from the National Athletic Trainers Association. John holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from East Central University in Ada, OK. Born and raised in North Pole, Alaska, John played football and wrote for the school paper at Ada High School in Ada, OK. He enjoys books, movies and travel, and lives in Broken Arrow, OK, with his wife and two kids.

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