How can you get your players game-ready? Make them uncomfortable at practice.
Coach Carol Hutchins believes that putting athletes in challenging situations during practices prepares them to handle the unexpected during games. Check out these three offensive drills, which she uses with her own players. Then try them at your next practice, and get your players to elevate their games!
Six-pitch offensive drill
Purpose: To train players to hit the good pitches and take the bad ones.
How it works: One player at a time enters the batting cage. A coach pitches a ball and the player must take a swing. If she doesn’t, her turn ends and she goes back to the end of the line. Poorly executed hits also end the player’s turn. Batters who execute six good hits win the drill.
Requirements: One player, bats, protective gear, balls, a coach and a batting cage
Offensive and defensive task drills
Purpose: To train players to successfully execute designated skills.
How it works: A coach selects a series of offensive and/or defensive tasks for each player. He or she designates the number of successful executions that are required for practice to end. For example, the coach may require 10 fungos, 20 ground balls to second base, and 15 “dinger denyers.” Once all the tasks are completed, the drill series ends and players can call it a day.
Requirements: Players, protective gear, gloves, bats, balls, a coach and a field
Progression hitting drills
Purpose: To train players to execute different hitting styles.
How it works: Set up a series of stations with different batting skills at each, such as grounders, bunts and timing swings. Players perform the designated hitting skill at each station. To advance, they must complete a predetermined percentage of well-struck hits.
Requirements: Players, protective gear, bats, balls, a coach and a field