This softball fielding tagging drill drill helps improve fielding, throwing and baserunning. It also helps the fielder become aware of base runners and base runners aware of what to do when heading to a base where the ball is being thrown. Please remember to have the base runners ALWAYS wear their helmets when running the bases.
Note: This drill can be played between second and third, but you could also play this between two bases anywhere on the field. With younger players, you can start this drill on grass so they get comfortable with sliding.
- Divide the team into two groups (this could also be done with a smaller number of players while another group is working with a coach on a different skill) and form two parallel lines to the right of second base toward right field, one for fielders and one for base runners.
- Select two fielders, one to play at shortstop and one to play at third base, and position them appropriately.
- Place a runner at second base (wearing a helmet) and have the coach who is hitting or throwing the ball, stand between home and the pitching rubber.
- Either on the coaches command or when the ball is hit, the runner at second base takes off toward third base and the ball is hit on the ground to the fielder at shortstop.
- The shortstop fields the ball and throws to third base. The fielder at third base catches the ball and applies a tag as the runner comes in.
The object for the runner is to get safely to the base, (either by sliding or stopping on the base and not over running it), and the object for the fielder is to get the runner out.
The coach should time the hitting or throwing of the ball so that the play at third bse is close. After the runner gets to third and the ball is thrown, the runner resets back to second and the drill goes again.
Each runner and fielder gets two chances, then the fielders and runners rotate: shortstop goes to third base, third base goes to the back of the runner line, the runner to back of the fielding line. The first in line of the fielders moves to shortstop and the first in line of the runners puts on a helmet and moves to second base.
Depending on time, run the players two or three times through this drill. As they got better, you can modify it by either hitting the ball to the fielder at third base and have them throw to the shortstop covering second base, making the runner go back to second, or occasionally hitting the ball in the air to either the shortstop or third base, sending the runner back to second. If the ball gets past the fielder, then the runner advances so the players get used to advancing on a misplayed ball. The change can help both the runner and the fielder become more aware of where the ball is and what to do in a given situation.
You could also have the fielder in the second base position take the base and get the runner in a run down as an extension of the drill.