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Softball Coaches Clinic 3.25.12. Welcome…. Coaching Staff Dan Rattacasa (Head Coach / 2 nd season) Lindsay Rattacasa (Assistant Varsity &JV coach / 4 th season) Ray Renshaw (Volunteer Assistant / 1 st season) JB Hodges (Volunteer Assistant / 1 st season). Topics….

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  • Coaching Staff
    • Dan Rattacasa(Head Coach / 2nd season)
    • Lindsay Rattacasa(Assistant Varsity &JV coach / 4th season)
    • Ray Renshaw(Volunteer Assistant / 1st season)
    • JB Hodges (Volunteer Assistant / 1st season)
  • Expectations for U-High School Softball Players
    • what skill sets should they be familiar with and fluent in when entering 9th grade
  • The fundamentals
    • Defense
      • Outfield & Infield Positioning
      • Throwing
      • Catching
      • Receiving
    • Offense
      • Baserunning
      • Outfield & Infield fielding techniques
      • Hitting Philosophy
      • Small Ball and the Speed Game
    • “Playing the Game”

Fundamental skills that should be practiced daily regardless of level

1. Throwing

2. Catching

3. Receiving

4. Bunting

5. Baserunning

6. Typical Defensive Alignment/Depth

*At the high school level we spend 45-60 minutes each practice on #1-5*

“When on defense SOFTBALL turns into a high level game of

THROW & CATCH”  starts with the fundamentals!

“Offensively our main goal is to put the ball in play,

preferably on the ground”  put pressure on the DEFENSE!

defensive positioning
Defensive Positioning
  • Regular Depth (fundamental D)
    • P/C – no worries
    • Middle IF (2nd/SS)
      • 2-3 steps behind baseline
      • 1-2 steps shaded towards 2B
    • Corner IF (3rd/1st)
      • 1-2 steps behind baseline
      • The distance away from the foul

line of an aggressive secondary lead

    • Outfield
      • Depth depends on hitter
      • LF  directly between 2nd & 3rd
      • CF  directly behind 2nd base
      • RF  directly hehind 1st & 2nd
def positioning cont
Def. Positioning (cont.)
  • Bunt D or IF In
    • P/C – the same
    • Middle IF (2nd/SS)
      • 1 step behind or even with baseline
      • 1-2 steps shaded towards 2B
    • Corner IF (3rd/1st)
      • 1-2 steps in front of pitching rubber
      • The distance away from the foul

line of an aggressive secondary lead

    • Outfield
      • Depth depends on hitter (creeping in slightly for back-up duties)
      • LF  directly between 2nd & 3rd
      • CF  directly behind 2nd base
      • RF  directly behind 1st & 2nd
pre pitch movement
Pre-Pitch Movement
  • Offense(at bat, on deck, on double deck)
    • Rhythm & Movement  develops timing. X STATIC X
    • YES – YES – (YES or NO)  Mentality
  • Defense(on release of pitch)
    • Middle IF and Outfield
      • STEP-STEP (creeping forward and attacking)
      • Balls of your feet (no heel contact)
    • Corner IF
      • STEP-STEP (side to side since they are close to the batter)
      • Balls of your feet (no heel contact)

You will be surprised how difficult this is to accomplish each and every pitch of the game

  • Let’s get in the habit of:
    • Picking up the 1st base coach immediately after contact for a signal (this is our philosophy, especially for young athletes)
      • BOTH HANDS pointing towards the base = Run Through
      • HANDS UP / GOAL POSTS = Go 2 and pick up 3rd base coach
    • Awareness after running through 1st base (listening to 1st base coach  “GO GOGO”
    • Running Through 1st Base
      • Making contact (w/o lunging) on the front 1/3 of the base (not middle or back half)
    • Rounding 1st Base
      • ? Method  gets runner in best position to reach 2B/3B as quickly as possible
      • No Deceleration
      • Contact with front left corner of base with foot most comfortable for baserunner
    • Sure extra base hit picking up the 3rd base coach after touching 1B
    • Tagging UP
      • Runner on 3rd < 2 Outs
      • Get them trained to get back to 3B, into a strong running position, and wait for the 3B coaches cue to GO
baserunning cont
  • Leading Methods (runners’ preference)
    • Track Start (2 examples)
      • Leave base at release of pitch
      • Hard 2 steps
      • Recognize pitch REACT
    • Rocker Start
      • Practice Timing  start rocker during windup and leave base at release of pitch
      • Make sure to not turn your back to the play
    • Retrieving back to a base
      • RIGHT foot  FRONT LEFT corner of base (body as far away from play as possible)
      • Step – Dive – RIGHT Hand  FRONT LEFT corner of base
baserunning cont1

Track Lead #1 Track Lead #2

*Covering less distance is the key*

small ball
Small Ball
  • Bunting & The Speed Game
    • Beats dominate pitching
    • Objective to put the ball in play
    • Put pressure on “D”
    • Head Dunking
  • Sacrifice Bunting
    • Pivot vs. Square-Around Methods
      • Same skills involved
      • If executed perfectly they accomplish the same job



Sight of ball may be easier to track

Comfortable for some

  • Popular in our program
  • Faster out of box
  • Balanced Plate Coverage
  • Keys to a successful BUNT
    • Balance
    • Control
    • Plate Coverage
    • Knowing your *NEW* strike zone
    • Hand Placement
    • Grip on Bat
bunting cont
Bunting (cont.)
  • In the Batters Box
    • Stand close enough so that once you pivot/square around the bat covers the entire place
  • Hand Placement
    • 1. Slide top hand to the top 1/3 of the bat (where barrel begins to fatten)
    • 2. Slide top hand to the top 1/3 and bottom hand to bottom 1/3 of bat
    • Grip is Critical! They must grab bat firmly
      • Thumb on TOP – Pads of fingertips on bottom
  • Body Positioning
    • Athletic position bending at waist and knees
    • Bat starts at the top of the strike zone
bunting cont1
Bunting (cont.)
  • Bat Position
    • Bat out in front of plate (cancels movement)
      • Both arms almost completely straight
      • “EYES” of bat on pitcher
    • Bat is flat or angled slightly upwards
    • It’s easier to lower bat than to raise it
      • “landing a plane”
  • Optimal bunt locations…
    • Down 1st base line
    • Bermuda triangle #1 (pitcher-1B-C)
    • Bermuda Triangle #2 (pitcher-3B-C)
bunting dragging
Bunting / Dragging
  • Sacrifice Bunt vs. Bunting for a HIT
    • SAC = show mid windup HIT = show @ release of pitch
    • Pivot Method
    • The Difference is the timing of when to SHOW
  • Drag Bunt
    • Clear front leg
    • Get into running position
    • Bat extended out in front of plate
    • First practice with bat already in position and have player RUN & Track
  • Slap
    • Clear Front Leg  Running position
    • Choke up – Chop

Defense has to field these plays without hesitation = Pressure

  • What we have observed
    • Arm discomfort
    • Tendinitis
    • Inconsistencies in arm strength
    • Inconsistencies in throwing accuracy
    • Little usage of trunk / lower half
    • Smoothness, Rhythm, and Flow ?
    • Stiffness and robotic-like movements
throwing cont
Throwing (cont.)

Every level (T-ball  USA Team) breaks throwing down

WHS Softball Throwing Progression

Kneeling Wrist Toss (extension off fingertips)

Kneeling Forward Trunk Twists & Extension

Kneeling Side Trunk Twists & Extension

Standing Cement Feet Trunk Twists & Extension

Standing Side Trunk Twists & Extension

Carioca Toss

Long Toss

Towel Drill

Arm Placement, Hand Placement, Glove Tuck & Timing, Trunk Rotation, Linear Movement, Release & Extension

  • Never be Static – Always be moving
  • Expect an inaccurate throw
  • Beat ball to the spot
    • Double Plays
    • Cutoffs / Relays
    • Home to 2nd / 3rd
    • Rundowns
  • Throwing hand close to glove for smooth, fast, & efficient transition

Keys to Success

  • Track ball all the way in to glove
  • (advanced/older) Position body in the direction/location of your next throw slightly before the reception of the ball (i.e. DP’s, Cutoffs, relays)

WHS Softball Drills/Games/Contests  Our Favorite Thing To Do

  • Around The Horn
  • “4 Corners”  Follow your throw & communicate
  • Clockwise / Counterclockwise (w/o and w/ tags)  timed

*Have defenders make THROWS whenever possible*

  • Outfield
    • Beat ball to Spot
    • Have them practice running w/ their glove on
    • Work on eliminating backpedaling
    • Work on raising glove closer to the moment just before making a catch


    • “Thumb to Thigh then reach for the Sky” = BIG “C”
    • Demand strong, accurate throws w/ good extension
    • Throw through cutoffs chest
      • We are helpless with a ball over our heads. Keeping it low can provide a nice short hop or charity hop giving the fielder a chance at a play


    • Field like an infielder – practice ground balls with IF
fielding cont
Fielding (cont.)
  • Outfield (cont.)

*Proper progression is vitally important*


3 Hops

Kneeling Pop Ups

QB Drop Back

Hussle Drill or “X” Drill

Between the Legs Basket Catch

All in 1 Drill (hops-ground ball-basket-QB)


fielding cont1
Fielding (cont.)
  • Infield
    • The TRIANGLE
      • Hips / Knees bent evenly
      • Field ball out in front (pre-pitch position)
      • On balls of our feet
      • Beat ball to spot
      • Count the hops
      • TRACK Ball
  • Drills
    • 5 Yard Drills (both directions)
    • Backhands
    • Rake Throughs (advanced)
    • Short Hops
    • Charging
    • QB Drop Back
    • Fence Drill
    • “Elephant”
defense rundowns
Defense / Rundowns
  • Our Defensive Philosophy:
    • The opposing team may try something fancy on the base path but when a play is on we will dictate the tempo, route, pace of the play.
    • We make the decisions for the baserunner, we don’t wait for the baserunner to make our decision
  • Rundowns
    • Minimize Throws
    • Communicate
    • Throwing Path / Lane
    • *Shorten distance between throws*
  • Practice Dart throws & Communication
    • “You must play the game” to get skilled at this situation
  • Our Hitting Philosophy:
  • Have a solid pre at bat regimen that is repeated consistently
  • Visualize
    • To develop confidence and for timing purposes
  • Have some Rhythm & Movement throughout stance and pre pitch (NO STATIC)
  • Stay balanced
  • Make contact  Put the ball in play & minimize strikeouts
    • Catch – Throw – Catch = Continuous Pressure on the Defense
  • Track Ball every pitch
  • YES-YES-NO or YES-YES-YES approach
  • Palm Up – Palm Down @ CONTACT
  • Balance
  • Be a situational hitter
    • Have a zone (if the 1st pitch is there smash it)
    • Hitting mentality is different with a 0-0, 3-0, or 1-2 count
  • Hit ball well to ALL fields – Hit inside, middle, and outside pitches well
  • Remain Balanced

How far should you stand from a batting tee?


We are not fans of moving up or back in the box. We believe adjusting your rhythm, movement, and timing will help decrease frustration and allow for better balance and direct contact with the softball.

infield outfield
Infield / Outfield

Components to a good IF/OF

Everyone moving on every play

Everyone talking/communicating

Proper, sensible progression  Flow

High # of throwing, receiving, backing up repetitions

WHS Softball IF/OF (time permitting roughly 8 min.)

OUTFIELD  straight home, RF to 1st , 2nd, 3rd, home, 2 w/ cut, 2 w/o cut, 3 w/ cut, 3 w/o cut, (gappers with SS & 2B as cuts and 1b as trailer or double cut), Home w/ cut, home w/o cut

INFIELD  around the horn x2, home, 1st, 1 and cover, double plays, infield charging to 1, bunt defense x4, (slap defense x8), catcher throw downs to 3B, 2B (ss/2b cover), 1B (in/out), home

playing the game
“Playing the Game”

Positive “Chatter”

One of the few sports without a clock as we are free to speak

as much or as little as we want

  • On Offense
    • Always talking, always encouraging, always UP if possible
    • “It’s not WHAT you say it’s HOW you say it”
  • On Defense
    • Whether it’s a close game, lop-sided, slow moving we are always:
      • Communicating to our fielders (team-pitcher, IF-IF, OF-OF, IF-OF)
        • Reminding
        • Communicating
        • Encouraging
        • Picking-up
        • Celebrating the big play
thank you
Thank You…

Please feel free to contact me at any time and I will answer any questions that you may have about the topics discussed at today’s clinic or any other questions that may not have been covered during the presentation.

[email protected]