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Games and Drills Line Drive game Create two or three teams, One team in the field (if three teams, both teams are on defense) one team at bat! Each player gets 3-5 swings and score is kept, adding or subtracting as you go! Play innings, (once through the lineup) winning team gets small prize (ex. gum, small candies) or you can have losing team(s) do sit-ups / push-ups/ run home runs. Point system - Point for line drives (5pts) - Hard ground ball (3pts) - Fly balls to of (1pts) - Pop-up or foul ball (0pts) - Swing and a miss (-1pt) Two strike Hitting game This drill works best with 2 coaches. This drill creates game-like intensity while promoting an aggressive approach to hitting. This fun baseball drills will become the favorite of every team you coach. • With a 12 to 14 man roster, put a full defensive team in the field (minus a pitcher) • Create a lineup of your remaining 4 to 6 players • Coach #2’s job is to manage the dugout and lineup which without leadership can become chaotic • With Coach #1 pulling balls from a bucket, pitch to the first batter. All batters start with 2 strikes on them A strikeout ends the batters term as a “hitter” Every hit is live and the defense is trying to end each batter’s term as a “hitter” by getting them out If the batter hits safely, he remains in the lineup at the end of the line Batters can stay in the lineup as long as they continue to hit safely • If the hitter is out in any way (strikeout or in the field), he rotates back to the field at the RF position. (Sprinting at all times) • Coach #1 determines the defensive rotation as each out is made! (RF rotates to CF, CF moves to LF, LF moves to 3b, 3b to SS, SS to 2b, 2b to 1b, 1b moves to the end of the batting line) the First baseman springs in to the dugout to get a helmet and a bat. They then take their place in the end of the lineup. They are replaced in the field by the baseball player that last got out and has spinted to RF. This baseball drill re-creates “game like” intensity for both fielders and batters. It also promotes a very aggressive mentality in your hitters while promoting a good eye and dramatically reduces your called third strikes throughout the year. BUNTING GAME Split your squad into two teams. One team takes the field (infield only – I use a baseball coach to pitch, but have a pitcher player standing next to him). The other team is bunting. The bunting team gets one point for safely reaching first base, a second point for reaching second base, and a third for reaching third. That team is up until three outs are recorded. The fielding team must use the proper bunt defense based on where the runners are (i.e. if there is a runner on second the third baseman needs to hold). The bunting team is pressured to make good bunt to advance runners. MONEY BALL Two teams of even number players, one team hitting, and the other fielding. Coach pitches FIVE balls to each batter. First FOUR pitches are free pitches. The 5th pitch is the MONEY BALL. If you hit it and reach base safely your team scores a point (run). If the defensive team catches on the fly or gets you on the bases, or you miss the 5th pitch or hit foul the defense gets the run. I think this puts some "friendly pressure" on the hitter to get the bat on the ball and put it in play. (It also puts some pressure on the coach to throw a hittable strike!! Sometimes THAT is the biggest challenge.) Keeps BP upbeat for everyone and even though there really is no "count" on the batter, I find that each player is paying close attention to each pitch with anticipation for the MONEY BALL. In the past I have also deducted points for lazy defensive play on the first 4 pitches, and lack of hustle in returning the balls from the backstop to the bucket at mound. TENNIS BALL POP-UPS AGES 12 - UNDER For some great outfield practice I use a tennis racket & hit fly balls to my boys. The boys love this. It also helps them getting used to using two hands, the tennis balls like to bounce out of their gloves so they start using both hands. After a few practices you will notice a big difference in how much better they catch the ball. It works real well if you have a boy that is afraid of the ball. With the tennis ball you can teach him how to catch it & he will try because he knows it will not hurt. Once he starts catching them he will have the confidence for a baseball. ALLEY BUNTING Create two teams, Setup: Take two bats and place one bat just inside the 1st baseline, the other bat should be place parallel to the first bat in fair territory and approximately 8 feet apart, whereby, forming an alley. The players are to bunt through the alley! Make an alley towards third base line as well! Each time a player successfully puts a bunt through the assigned alley, they stay alive! You can start with wide alleys, and as you go through each round of successful bunts, the coach can make the alleys smaller, whereby making it more difficult each round! Players that do not put the ball in the alley, or pop it up are out! Winning team is the one with the last man standing! This drill reinforces bat control, and the importance of not bunting back to the pitch. BEAT THE BALL Set up the defense and a hitter gets one soft toss from plate or if you have L screen utilize front toss, to put the ball in play, the harder the better, no bunting. It is the job of the defense to field it and throw to first, second, third, and home plate in succession before the runner gets around the bases. Fouls are outs. The way it develops is the kids try to hit liners where no defender stands, placing their hits and run like crazy....meanwhile, the defense is incredibly efficient at getting the ball in and throwing around the horn. The kids not playing a base all communicate and line themselves up in a good backup position in case of a bad throw...but to get an out each base must be tagged while in possession of the ball before the next base can be thrown to. A lot of outs can be made with clean throws, but one bad throw in the process usually makes it able for batter to score. If the runner scores the entire defense for the play must drop for 5 pushups and if the batter is out he must do 5. OR you can keep score if you have enough players for two teams Keep a kid on deck to make it go smoothly and rotate the kids in the field to let everyone 'play a base. Dirt! Base-running Drill A big part of successful base-running involves properly reading balls in the dirt. This drill will help your players learn to properly judge the trajectory of a pitched ball that bounces in the dirt. Station a base-runner (or two at a time) at each base, - first, second, and third. Runners should be independent of one another, since the responsibilities for each base differ slightly. Have a coach on the mound, pitching a variety of pitches - mix in balls and strikes, as well as pitches that will bounce. Any time a pitch is about to bounce, the entire team must yell "Dirt!" This lets you know if everyone is paying attention, and players tend to like the excuse to yell. Base-runners on first should automatically go if they know the ball is going to bounce - if they wait to see if the catcher has blocked the pitch, they are too late. Runners on second should read the pitch and decide whether it is safe to go - if the ball gets away from the catcher, they should go, whereas if the catcher blocks the ball, they should stay put. Similarly, the runner on third should read and react. Take a lead, get a good crow hop as the ball nears the plate, then react to the bounce of the ball. Emphasize that each base is independent of one another; this is not a game situation in which a runner going from first automatically forces the runner from second. This is a drill to teach the different reactions needed from each base to a pitch in the dirt. Emphasize your runners' lead techniques, making sure that they don't lead too far, or are caught leaning the wrong way... it's not a bad idea to have your coach occasionally make a move to pick off one of the runners, just to keep them honest. It's also a good idea to keep two catchers for this drill, to avoid tiring one out too much. Bucket Drill This is a fun, productive drill, especially for younger kids, though older kids can gain benefit from it too. It focuses on the importance of getting rid of the ball in a hurry. Split your squad into two teams. Line the first team up, one behind another, at the shortstop position. Take the second squad and place them behind first base. Next, place a five gallon bucket upside down on first base (a garbage can also works as a suitable target). Make sure that you have plenty of baseballs handy. A coach rolls or hits a ball to the first person in line at the shortstop position, who then has three seconds to pick up the ball and throw it at the bucket. The coach should loudly count off the seconds; this will initially fluster some of your younger players, but will also help them to cope with pressure better in the long run. If the bucket is missed, the player behind first base fields the ball and returns it to the coach. Regardless of the outcome, the player who made the throw rotates to the back of the line. After several passes through the line, switch sides. As an added bonus, keep score between the two teams - it is amazing how much more effort you can get out of a kid if he's competing against his friends. If you have enough coaching help, you can vary this drill by having both teams throw at the same time; the competition is a big hit with players. Improve A Batter's Pitch Recognition by Using Baseballs With Colored Dots One of the biggest challenges encountered by baseball coaches is the difficulty that players have in following and identifying the pitch. In younger players, a common problem is that the batter doesn't pick up the ball until it is too close to hit. In older players, the issue is more that the batter doesn't identify the pitch until too late, leaving him at the mercy of his pitch guess. The solution to both of these issues has a similar fix - get the hitter concentrating on the pitch as early as possible. But how to accomplish this? You can tell the player to "watch the ball" until you are blue in the face, but odds are that they won't connect what you are trying to convey. Instead, take a selection of baseballs and, using a marker (colored sharpies work great for this), draw coin- sized colored dots on the surface of the ball. Repeat the process with at least one alternate color, making sure that it is clearly distinguishable (red and blue work well for this). To begin with, pitch to your batter from regulation distance, but instruct them to not swing. Instead, have them call out the color of the dot on the baseball as soon as they can identify it. As the hitter's recognition improves, call out a certain color and only allow them to swing at that colored ball. In all cases, make sure to mix up the colors used (this is why three colors are better than two), and hide the ball in your glove until you actually begin to make the pitch. What have you accomplished? Your players are truly watching the ball from the very instant it leaves the pitcher's hand, giving younger players more time to nail down their timing, and older players more time to recognize the movement of the pitch. It goes without saying that players of all ages can benefit from this drill. This is a great drill for practice on throwing accuracy, quick release, and for encouraging quick decisions.
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