Read these 21 Drills Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Baseball tips and hundreds of other topics.
Great drill for those who are pulling their head out on the swing (excellent for young players). Take batting practice with the back eye closed or covered. This forces the hitter to follow the ball all the way in with the front eye. Thus, they tend to keep their head down throughout the swing.
Use this drill to give infielders a ton of ground balls and throws in a short period of time.
Start with a coach and a bucket of balls at home plate. Hit grounders to third and have the third baseman turn two (5-4-3 double play). But, have the second baseman throw to a first baseman standing about 20 feet down the right field line (away from first base). As soon as the ball is hit to third, grab another ball and hit a grounder to shortstop. The shortstop is making the throw to first (6-3 putout). The shortstop is throwing directly to the first baseman at the first base bag. Empty a bucket of balls at a quick pace and what you will end up with is two piles of balls at the first baseman and at the alternate first baseman (standing 20 feet behind the bag)
Next, gather the balls and repeat the process. This time, make the third baseman throw to first and make the second baseman turn a double play (4-6-3) with the shortstop throwing to the alternate first baseman (20 feet behind the bag).
Gather the balls again and switch again to the shortstop turning two (6-4-3) and the third baseman again throwing to first (or if arms are weary, have the third baseman field and throw the balls out to the side).
Finally, do a round solely with the first baseman making a 3-6 putout. Shortstops just toss the ball off to the side.
Tremendous drill that gets hundreds of ground balls and throws achieved in a short period of time.
Most programs use swings as a monitor for their batting practice. For example, each player gets two bunts, ten swings, and one suicide bunt. But, you might want to experiment with an alternative. Instead of swings being the monitor, try time. For example, give each hitter a minute and a half or two minutes for b.p. This forces the player to concentrate harder on getting their bunts down. It also forces the batting practice pitcher to throw strikes. This gives the hitter the opportunity to get more than ten swings if they maintain a good pace.
Have someone blast fungos into the sky in between fielders from home plate. Communicating on who fields the popup is the key. The shortstop takes priority over all infielders...the center fielder takes priority over the outfielders. Infield-outfield is most important and can only be mastered with constant drilling.
Form two teams and have players line up about 60 feet apart (30 with younger players). Start with a ball at the beginning of each line and have the players throw consecutively to the next player in line. The player must field the ball cleanly and throw to the next player. When it gets to the far end, reverse the throwing and head back. The team that completes the drill flawlessly first is the winner.
This drill simulates cut-off throws. Keep the concentration on throwing at the player's head (or raised arms). Speed is important, and the players will realize that technique generates the speed!
Each player in a small group gets additional swings. If they get a base hit, they stay in the batter's box. If they don't, they are replaced by the next hitter who is waiting just outside the batting practice cage. Let the batting practice pitcher decide what counts as a hit.
Try scrimmaging with starting each batter with a 2-1 count. This achieves two things. First, it makes the pitcher throw strikes. Second, it makes the batter aggressive. The 2-1 count is a pivotal count for the batter is temporarily with the advantage, but can be put back in the hole with just one strike!
Try having a light catch bare handed. Also, field light ground balls bare handed. Without the aid of your glove, catching is more difficult. Fielding bare handed will teach you how to field with a soft, forgiving hand. You will be that much better when you put on your glove!
Have a coach throw live to hitters who are allowed only one strike. This forces them to put the ball in play. Have the batter and defense react to the hit ball and make the plays.
Run the drill like a normal inning with the stress on good defense (no stealing and no counts except that the hitter gets one strike).
This drill is for the pitcher looking to learn the proper feel for a true curveball. Don't throw curveballs until about 14-15 years of age.
Fill a tennis ball can with some rocks to give it weight. Go through the wind-up and throw the tennis ball can in the same manner you would throw a curveball. The goal is to get the can to spin perpendicular to the ground. This simulates the proper release point and arm angle necessary to throw a true curveball. The key is to get a 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock spin.
Infielders should play balls off the bat during batting practice, but they should also be getting fungos hit in between pitches.
To do this properly, a team must be equipped with the proper screens: One at first base, one at second base, and a solid cage over the batting area along with an L-screen for the pitcher.
Fielders can work on ground balls and throws, but the practice must be completely organized and efficient to eliminate injury from stray balls. Watch a college or professional team run through their batting practice. Time is used wisely and efficiently. Balls are bouncing all over the place, but each player maintains the proper level of safety.
How do you become a good fielder?
At any position, the answer is simple...hard work.
There are some players that are naturally gifted fielders, but without hard work, they are nothing.
Likewise, even those who are not as talented as others can compensate by working harder than the rest. Take extra ground balls, and shag extra flies. During batting practice when others might be socializing, take the time to field balls off the bat. This will set you apart!
When doing soft toss drill, tee work, or even pepper just don't go through the motions. Use the drills as a way to improve your swing. Doing drills gives you a better perspective of your own swing as you will become more familiar with your stance and swing with each cut you take.
There are a variety of drills that you can do to improve your mechanics. Purchase books, take lessons, and consult professionals to find drills that perhaps you have not used before. By adding variety you will prevent boredom. By using drills properly you will enhance your mechanics.
Preparing to play any game takes a lot of work and practice, but baseball training can be as much of a mind game as a physical one. The hand to eye co-ordination needed is one of the most demanding of any sport. Finding the sweet spot of a baseball flying near you at high speed demands that the batter keep their eye on the ball.
After the basics of pitching and catching are somewhat mastered, the ball player must continue to work on the fundamentals of the game. Proper stance to catch a ground ball speeding its way towards a second baseman will allow for a quick pick up and throw to first base for the forced out.
Throwing a ball with accuracy is something that a player develops after much practice. Playing pitch and catch is fundamental to perfecting a throw to the exact spot it needs to go. To work on accuracy, pick a spot near the player being thrown to and hit it every time. This builds confidence in throwing ability and helps with concentration. Every player should learn to throw the ball accurately, not just the pitcher.
Baseball training equipment like gloves and bats should be seen as part of the player himself. They are extended to catch or hit the ball and must be used with skill.
If baseball is your sport, than it is likely that you have spent a lot of time practicing in the yard with your dad, brother or friends pitching back and forth beyond the practice schedule of the team. The reason that anyone worth their salt would do this is because there simply is not enough time in every practice for everyone to get a good length of time on the mound practicing their pitch, even if you go to two or three practices each week. Going to baseball batting cages have many benefits for those that are serious about their game. Using the batting cages can improve repetition, improve hand-eye coordination, and develop sound muscle memory.
Even using backyard batting cages or the nets that you throw a baseball into and they bounce back to you can improve your throwing arm. When going to the baseball batting cages, however, you have the benefit of setting the speed of the machine so that you can start out where you are comfortable and learn to hit quicker and pitch faster as you improve. This is practice that will be valuable to you as you move from little league to single A baseball and up. Practicing with the team or a friend will also be a great help if you can find someone that will commit to a regular practice time with you.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|