There is no part of practice that players love more than batting practice... especially one field batting practice. But, from a coach's perspective, this is the part of practice that has a tendency to be the least productive.
There is nothing I hate more than unproductive practice time!
Here are some tips to help you get the MOST out of your batting practice time.
- Have a pre-set routine so no time is wasted in set up or rotations
- Don't just let players mindlessly swing. Have a specific goal for each round (i.e. 2-0 count, 0-2 count, or random count game)
- Give players a specified number of swings, not pitches so they don't feel the need to swing at bat pitches
- Emphasize pitch selection during batting practice. When else do they get to work on it?
- Set up specific hitting drills off to the side of your field or cage with specific drills for players to work on
- Set up a bunting station right before players get into the cage or hit on the field
- Have a coach or extra players hitting ground balls to infielders between pitches
- Have players work on base running after they finish their round in the cage
- Require your defensive players to play the ball live off the bat like a game. For outfielders, it will be the most valuable defensive time they get. We have actually changed the name of our on field batting practice to "live defensive practice"
- Have enough baseballs so you aren't spending 1/2 of your time collecting baseball
Get our organization system for on field batting practice here:
Implementing these tips in your batting practice sessions will ensure that your entire team benefits from this session, allows you to work on multiple aspects of the game at once, keeps all players involved, and forces hitters and fielders to work on game situations.