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I really like to work on situational hitting with runners on base. The team also likes when you make a game out of it. You can pick teams and whoever wins get a prize...
^^^ Agreed. The more you can make practice feel like a game situation, the more comfortable they'll be in the real thing.
Totally agree that games and competition are awesome for practice time.
Another way we add intensity, focus, pressue, and all those things that strengthen our players' mental game; is time them.
Just grab a stopwatch and time some of the things that you're already doing.
The first step is to time your runner from home to first, and you can also time guys from second to home, third to home on a tag...and anything else you can think of.
Now when your hitting infield/outfield, grab your stopwatch and time the plays that are being made. Time the plays to first, double plays, relays from the outfield, and all of it. You don't have to time every play, just time one out of each three or four if it's easier.
This adds a lot of accountability and pressure to drills that are otherwise lacking in the mental stimulation department. You can keep track of the % of the time your team actually gets people out (would have gotten them out) and strive for improvement.
There really isn't any limit to what you can throw a stopwatch on, and we find that this has a huge impact on the practice in general. We time pitchers between pitches in scrimmages, obviously catcher's throws, base stealers, agility drills, catch games, and on and on.
You also end up with a lot of cool information regarding player speed and defensive abilities that may shed light on things you can use as a coach.
This is more of a pressure thing than a mental game, but here it is...
At the end of practice we will, on ocassion, play "21". There are 21 outs in a game, so we'll put the defense in place, then have coaches hit a variation of ground balls, line drives and fly balls, with baserunners running from the opposite box. The object is to get to 21 without any errors. Once 3 outs are recorded, the bases are cleared. If an error is made......yep, restart the count. It's a simple game, but the pressure the players put on each other (especially from about 15 outs) gets pretty intense. If the defense is solid, we're out of there in 15-20 minutes. If errors are made, it can get ugly....but it's also a great way to create in-game tension and see who can deal with it.