Positive pressure

Caroline Hardy, volunteer assistant coach at Georgia Tech Softball and former player of Alabama Softball, taught us a fun drill: the ladder. Fun, competitive and a good exercise to practice with "positive pressure".

One “drill” that I learned about this last year in my new job is called laddering. The drill is done with a partner, in groups of two, that way one person can either front toss or feed the machine while their partner hits and allows for quick switching. The general idea is that as you complete each step of the drill you progress up the ladder of tasks and then eventually back down to the bottom. In order to move up the ladder you have to complete the previous level perfectly! So if the first level is 3 SAC bunts, then you can’t move up until you get 3 SAC bunts down in a row. I think the best way to describe it is to give you an example.

Ladder example:

  • 4 SAC bunts 
  • 3 hit & runs 
  • 2 line drives up the middle
  • 1 squeeze
  • 2 line drives up the middle
  • 3 hit & runs
  • 4 SAC bunts

So partner A starts the drill…she gets down two bunts but fouls off the third, so then it becomes partner B’s turn because she didn’t get all of them down in a row. Let’s say partner B gets all four bunts down in a row, she moves up the ladder to H&Rs! But you can only pass one level on each turn, so it goes back to partner A who is still on bunts. This time she gets all her bunts down, so she moves up the ladder. Now it’s partner B’s turn, who is on H&Rs…she gets two fair but fouls off the third, so it goes back to partner A’s turn…BUT when it is partner B’s turn again, they do not have to start back over with bunts. Once you pass a level, you don’t have to pass it twice. Partner B will continue to do hit & runs until they pass that level and move up the ladder.

We have loved this drill! It gets really competitive with our girls. Whichever partner finishes through the ladder wins, with some kind of consequence for the loser! They really have fun with it, and it works on pressure situations and being able to execute when called upon. You can fill in all kinds of tasks in “ladder rungs” - maybe one day the ladder has all different kinds of bunts and the next could be situational hitting (hitting the ball to certain parts of the field). There is so much room for variety!

I hope that my explanation was clear enough for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, I am happy to clarify for re-explain anything for you!