The best sports coaches in the world are able to think ahead different scenarios and plays during a game. The great New England Patriot football coach Bill Belichick has an uncanny ability of thinking ahead in his mind multiple plays in advance when the Patriot offense is moving the ball. And he does the same when the Patriots are on defense. The late baseball manager Billy Martin had the same kind of innate ability to have multiple scenarios in his head during a rally by his team or the opposition with each pitch. Can we get youth baseball and softball players to think ahead? We all agree it is important. The linemaster drill is an excellent drill that puts players in a position to think ahead. Line up 11 players with 1 player (the linemaster) out front.Two baseballs are used. Depending on age and ability, soft covered balls may be best. The linemaster has a ball as does the first person in line. The coach standing next to the linemaster will yell, “throw.” The linemaster throws the ball to the 2nd person in line while looking to receive the ball thrown by the 1st person. This continues down the line and then goes back to where it started.
This drill teaches players to think ahead. They must know where the ball is coming from and know ahead of time where they will throw. The drill test eye-hand coordination. You will see a noticeable difference in players’ reaction times during the course of the year if they practice this drill regularly. Remember the coach determines the speed of the drill.
Can really young players do this drill? Yes! Try doing it with ground balls. Can older players do this drill? Yes! Coaches can make it a speed drill and increase or decrease distances. In fact try to stagger the distance with every other players.
The linemaster drill is a simple yet effective drill that forces players not only to act but to think. Baseball and softball are sports that players must process different things and be able to think ahead. This drill works!
This drill is from Marty Schupak’s ebook:
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