How to run a baseball practice

The inspiration for this post could actually be, “how not to run a baseball practice.” We observed a team on our local field Monday, which we know to be in last place in the league’s AAA division, (one level below Majors) and it was all we could do not to intervene. The entire practice consisted of a kid on the mound pitching to batters, with no catcher behind the plate. There were four infielders, and two dads with gloves in the outfield, and the remaining four players were sitting on the bench twirling their helmets waiting for a turn. A coach stood behind home plate at the backstop to field errant pitches. He got the most practice of anyone. We could write a book on why this practice was so terribly ineffective. Here are a few highlights (or lowlights):

  • Why have a pitcher practice pitching without a catcher? Will that ever happen in a game? You have four kids idle, one of them can get on the gear and be a target.
  • Four kids sitting on the bench at all times, doing nothing? Set up several hitting stations! Hit off the tee into a net, hit the heavy ball off the tee, do soft-toss, there is even a  cage at this facility…unused. The kids should all be taking over 100 cuts at every practice.
  • It was immensely boring. The coaches were trying to simulate a game situation but it was nothing like a game. They were saying things like, “runner on third,” after the ball was hit to the shortstop. But no one remembered from one play to another where the baserunners were supposed to be.

We could go on and on. If you’re struggling with running your practice, why not get a CoachDeck? Inside you’ll find 52 good, fundamental drills broken down into four color-coded categories, (baserunning, hitting, infield and outfield). In its simplest form you can just take one card of each color, run each drill for 20 minutes, and have a fun and effective practice. We have a softball, soccer, football and basketball deck too. Don’t drive kids out of the sport by running practices like the one we saw. I know these coaches are volunteers and don’t want to be too hard on them, but this was hard to watch.