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Simple Games That Make Practice Both Fun and Effective

Don Peters jokes that he could probably “write a book” on all the different games and activities he conducts with his team during practices.

A travel and high school softball coach in Michigan for more than 30 years who has won a state championship and nearly 600 games, Peters isn’t shy when talking about all the fun elements of his team’s practices, because he understands how important they are.

Coming up with such activities not only keeps players from becoming bored and disinterested during practices, he said, but it also hones their skills and competitiveness, since losing could lead to unpleasant duties, such as cleaning up the field afterwards or doing additional physical labor.

“We put in a lot of things like that,” Peters said. “I could probably write a book on it.”

In lieu of a book, Peters shared some of his favorite fun games and drills.

Bucket Ball

One of Peters’ favorite games he calls “Bucket Ball.” To begin, two sets of three buckets are set up on top of each other.

“We have a group of girls on one side and a group on another,” Peters said. “We have a tee about 20 feet away. What we are trying to teach them is to stay on the ball as long as possible. What we have them do is compete against each other to see who can hit the buckets five times, let’s say. The first group that does that watches the other do a few push-ups. They love that. They ask me to do that all the time.”

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More Buckets

Buckets can also be used for a throwing contest.

“We come up with a target, which could be a bucket, that we set up about 40 or 50 feet apart, and put players in groups,” Peters said. “The group that hits the target 10 times (wins).”

Survivor

Another activity Peters likes is an infield defense game called “Survivor,” which is a softball version of the popular reality TV show.

What we do is we hit ground balls,” Peters said. “If they miss, they are out. If they make a bad throw or if they don’t field it cleanly, they are out. The last one is the survivor.”

Peters adds another element to add to the competitiveness.

“We have T-shirts made up and we give players different colors, depending on how many times they have won,” Peters said. “They can get a gold one, a blue one or a (camouflage) one.

Of this game, he adds: That’s another one where they are mad if we don’t do it.

Base Running Races

Not all of these activities require an elaborate setup or plan. For example, Peters says simple base running races can go a long way in helping players further develop that underrated aspect of the game.

“We have races, and I think everybody does this, where we have one group on second and one group at home, and you have them race around,” he said.

Home Run (or Hitting) Derbies

Finally, Peters said his team conducts home run derbies and competitions where players have to hit the ball where it is pitched or else everybody runs. This is a drill that helps the girls focus on making contact in situations where it is absolutely necessary to do so.

From GameChanger and Keith Dunlap.

Softball, Softball Tips & Drills

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