Preparing your baseball team for the season requires a tremendous amount of preparation and hard work. As a team manager or coach it is your responsibility to make sure that your team has been given every available opportunity to work on the skills needed to be successful during the season. In this article I will focus on one aspect of the game that is very important to the success of your baseball team, running an effective batting practice.
The very first thing you need to do as a manager or coach in charge of the hitting is to have a batting practice plan for your team. This is not only important in the winter work outs, it is important at every batting practice session. All too often you see teams that have no rhyme or reason to their batting practice sessions. It becomes a glorified home run derby session if it is not organized properly.
Our Method for Batting Practice
My coaching staff and I like to take BP with a purpose. We break it down into 4 rounds. Each round consists of 12-15 pitches per batter.
In the first round we have our batters start off with five clean sacrifice bunts when they first come to the cage. They are then instructed try to hit ground balls and nothing but ground balls with their remaining pitches.
In the second round of the batting practice we work on situational hitting of advancing a runner and moving him over. All too often players do not know how to effectively advance a runner when the situation calls for it. This is why we work on this with each and every hitter during batting practice.
In the third round we work on driving in a runner from third base. How many times have you been frustrated as a coach leaving a runner at third base after two or three failed attempts to get him home? Working on this situation in batting practice can turn some of these situations into runs and some of these runs into wins.
The fourth and final round of the batting practice is to have the batter hit the ball as hard as they can while not trying to hit a home run. I know many coaches will want their players to try and swing for the fences, I do not. I want my players to drive the ball as hard they can in this round. All too many times you see what could be a big inning end because a player was swinging for the fences and flying out instead of hitting a hard line drive into the gap.
The Purpose of Batting Practice
The sole purpose of planning a batting practice is to make sure the batter works on each and every aspect of the game he may face as a batter. Doing this over and over each batting practice, before and during the season, will make each and every hitter on your team a better all around hitter. It will also help make your team become a successful hitting team as well as a winning team.