Increases Batting Practice Repetitions 20-30%

In all my years of coaching youth baseball, I have always

looked for the most efficient practice methods in every aspect of

baseball. It took me only a few years to realize that most youth

baseball coaches, including myself, were running batting practice,

not incorrectly, but inefficiently. From what I have seen in the

typical batting practice, a coach will pitch a predetermined

number of pitches to each batter with the fielders fielding the hit

balls and throwing them to first base. Usually the coach will yell

something like, "run the last one out,” and the batter does just

that. If the ball is hit to the infield, they try to throw him out at

first. If it is hit to the outfield, he usually runs until he is thrown

out. This is all good- intentioned, but it wastes valuable time

when a coach wants to run an efficient batting practice.

Here is the most efficient way of running a batting practice.

Batting practice is just what it sounds like, batting practice.

Batting practice is not fielding practice or baserunning practice.

So, all youth coaches and parents should really define what a

youth batting practice is and what they want to get out of it.

Most of my youth practices do not run more than one and a

half hours. Every minute of wasted time will affect other drills,

skills, and techniques I want to cover. The first thing a coach

needs to have is an overabundance of baseballs. The league will

provide baseballs, but I always make sure I purchase a few dozen

extra. I try to work with three dozen and keep an extra dozen in

my trunk. And I'm frugal about it, accounting for every baseball

at the end of practice. I try to make sure we find each one, and

after practice, we comb the field to make sure we got them all.

Usually we find extras and end up with more than what we

started with. I am extremely aware of the economic times we live

in but maintain if coaches need to spend any extra money, they

should do it on extra baseballs if their league doesn’t give them

enough.


Here are the actual logistics and set up that I use about 95% of

the time I run batting practice. I'm a big proponent of bunting. I

set up two cones on the third base line, about six feet apart,

approximately where the bunt is supposed to go. I set up two

empty buckets, one about three feet to the outfield side of second

base and the other one between the pitcher’s mound and second

base. I have another bucket with the baseballs on the mound

easily accessible to me. Now, this is a key. As a youth coach who

wants a well-run practice and a lot of repetitions for the kids, I

move up almost to the front base of the mound to pitch. I do this

mainly so I can throw strikes consistently. For safety purposes, an

"L" screen would be required from a shorter distance for safety.

If your league doesn't have any, make them get one.

  

  I have the first person up at bat with the 2nd player or on deck

hitter ready to bat. By ready I mean he has to have helmet and his

batting gloves on. It is extremely important when switching

hitters to waste as little time as possible. I have the 3rd hitter or

double on deck hitter on the outside of the field hitting balls into

the fence on a batting tee using pickle balls (plastic) or Wiffle

balls with another parent feeding the balls on the tee. If there are

enough assistant coaches, I have one working with the 4th hitter

on the soft toss. So we have a lot of activity going on with four

kids including the batter not in the field.


  The batter bunts the first to pitches. For each successful bunt,

the player receives an extra swing. I usually give players five

swings besides his two bunts. So if a player lays one of the two

bunts between the cones, he gets six regular swings. If he lays

both bunts between the cones, he gets seven swings (the

maximum per hitter). There are certain things that have to

happen to make this work. Remember, there are two buckets

strategically located. After the bunts, when the hitter swings away,

wherever the ball is hit, the fielder tosses it into the bucket nearest

to him. If it is hit to the outfield, he will throw the ball as close to

the bucket behind second base. If he hits it to the infield, the

fielder will toss it to the bucket behind the pitcher's mound.

Reinforce to the players that they must toss to the bucket on one

or two bounces or they will tend to play basketball with the

baseball and bucket.


 The point here is that the fielders do not make a play to first

and the hitter does not run the last one out. We get more

repetitions in a short period of time. The players are always facing

the hitter. One might ask, isn't this boring for most of the players

in the field? Well, not really. Because of the amount of balls hit in

a short period of time, the ball is usually hit all over the place.

And the coach throwing batting practice will keep one or two

extra balls in his glove and is ready to pitch the next ball right

away. When out of baseballs, have the players in the infield hustle

to gather up the balls, combine buckets, and we're ready to go

again. This works great!


I have heard from people knocking holes in my method of

having a grown up throwing batting practice. Some people will

insist that it is better having a player throw batting practice with

the thought process being that the pitch itself should be as

realistic as possible. It is beneficial to the batter when he is seeing

the baseball at the correct angle rather than from a grown up and

the angle of the ball coming down is different than the batter sees

in a game. I have not tried every single method but I have found

what I described as the one that works for my team the most.

You as coach can try as many systems as you want and you make

the final decision.


Batting practice is a favorite of any baseball player at almost

every level. Do not deny batting practice at any practice. And

always look for the most efficient, safest ways to help enhance

your whole practice.

Related Resources:

The 59 Minute Baseball Practice
Backyard Baseball Drills

Hitting Drills & Techniques

Fielding Drills & Techniques
Baseball Coaching:A Guide For The Youth Coaches & Parents

For the best baseball instructional videos  FREE  on   Amazon Prime Video !   Keyword:   Schupak Sports

For the best baseball instructional videos FREE on Amazon Prime Video!

Keyword: Schupak Sports

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