Brush up fundamentals in winter months | Youth1

Brush up fundamentals in winter months

As we make our way through winter, the 2017 spring/summer fastpitch season is on the horizon. As teams gear up for their respective upcoming tournaments, there are many things that can be done both as a team and individually to ensure the level of play does not suffer during the off-season. A few of those we’re highlighting today include improving your time at the plate, and becoming more agile in the field.  

Get Back on the Tee


When learning the game at a young age, one of the first levels of play is tee-ball. It is on that tee where the fundamentals of hitting begin. As we get older, the batting tee’s don’t always seem to make as many appearances and are replaced with pitching machines or actual pitchers, which is great to get that feeling of being in a game against an actual pitcher. However, great and consistent hitting means focusing on the fundamentals. With a batting tee, it’s fair to say that the flaws of your swing are pointed out to you; swinging under the pitch, you’ll hit the tee stand underneath the ball, swing over the pitch, the softball will meirly roll off the tee. But hit it just right, that softball should go straight ahead and with force.

The fundamentals and feedback one can gain from working repeatatly on the tee are endless, and it does not require a team or much space. Here are some drills courtesy of, a baseball and softball training facility with multiple locations.

* 2-0 Count-Player places the tee where they would look for a pitch with a 2-0 count. Visualize the pitcher going back in their windup to time your load.

* Inside/Outside Pitch-Player places the tee where they would make contact with the ball on in an inside/outside pitch. Work on barreling up the inside pitch by exaggerating a short path. Take the outside pitch the other way by seeing the ball deep and staying over the contact area.

* Right Foot/Left Foot/Hands (For a right-handed batter. Switch feet for a lefty)-Player stands towards the back end of the batters box and brings their back foot to their front and then softly strides forward. By creating movement with your lower half you exaggerate landing softly enough to prevent gliding into the baseball. Player should finish with their head in between their feet.

Improving your Defensive Agility

With the release of the pitch and runners in motion, fielders are moving as contact from the hitter is made. In close games and situations that could allow for a double play, fielders need to be quick thinking and quick on their feet as well as with the release of the ball. Being able to react quickly while in the field could mean the difference between stopping that tying run from getting on base or failing to do so.

There are many drills a player can do to improve their agility. Those listed below are courtesy of

*Directional Order Drill

When fielding and running bases in softball, you are required to respond to the actions of batters and fielders. An errant throw or a surprisingly powerful hit can mean that you have to make a split-second decision on which way to move. Thus, a drill involving making quick, responsive movements can be helpful. Have a coach, teammate or friend stand about five feet in front of you, facing you. Have the person shout out directions; you respond appropriately, sidestepping, backpedaling, or running forward at full speed, depending on what you are told. Try to maintain your speed and balance.

*Mini Hurdle Lateral Shuffle

Moving side to side is particularly important for infielders, who have to move quickly to field swiftly moving balls. To improve your lateral agility, perform a set of mini hurdle lateral shuffles. Place two mini hurdles or a similar pair of obstacles that are about 6 inches high, with one foot between them. Begin to the right of the right hurdle and quickly step over the obstacles, one foot at a time, as quickly as you can. When you reach one end of the set of obstacles, do not pause -- instead, change direction and reverse the steps you took.

*Shuttle Sprints

Many situations in softball require sprinting, such as stealing bases and racing to chase down a fly ball. Running shuttle sprints can effectively improve your sprint speed and agility, because they involve high-speed running and reversing direction. For shuttle sprints, begin on the goal line of a football field. Sprint to the 5-yard line, touch the ground, then sprint back to the goal line. Repeat this process for the 10-yard line and 15-yard line, then take a break before performing the drill again.

*Cone Box Drills

Cone drills can be effective training tools because they can be performed virtually anywhere, as long as you have cones or similar markers to designate the course you wish to run. A simple drill involves setting up four cones as the corners of a box. Begin at the bottom right corner, then sprint to the upper right corner. Backpedal to the bottom left corner, sprint to the upper left corner, then backpedal to the bottom right corner, where you started. Repeat the drill as many times as you can without compromising your form and speed. You can also simply run the perimeter of the box formed by the cones, backpedaling and side-stepping on the appropriate sides.

All of these drills and off-season tips will ensure you stay on top of the competition this winter, and are ready for the 2017 spring/summer fastpitch tournament season.


Written by: Erika Yackulic


Speak with a Youth1 Recruiting Counselor

Youth1’s Recruiting Counselors are on a mission to educate you on the recruiting process - one that's very competitive and starts early. Let us provide guidance through the most important decisions that shape your athlete's journey in sports.

Learn how to become a recruitable student-athlete, find out what colleges you match best with, and get the ability to message college coaches directly with a specialized recruiting package. 

Don't wait, schedule a time to speak with a Youth1 Recruiting Counselor. It's FREE! Just fill out the following information and then select a date and time in the form below. 



This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.