Looking for some new ideas for running uptempo and "competition" based drills and games during practices. Been doing the same things for a few years now and just looking to keep it fresh for the kids.

Figured there's probably a lot of great ideas running around out there y'all would be willing to share.

For example:

We have "bunt scrimmages" where we break into teams of 9, put a pitcher on the bump and strictly bunt. We have a scoring system that scores each play for the offense and defense. Kids get into it. It's also great for an indoor practice in nasty weather.

We have "situational scrimmages" where we break kids into groups of 4 or 5 hitters, everyone else on D. Each group will hit for a set time in the chosen situation and we'll score it. The one we work most is simply putting a runner at 2b and we count runs. Coach throws from behind an l-screen. Reset set runner at 2b before every hitter. Whoever scores the most runs wins.

Just stuff like that that is a little more competitive and exciting than just the fundamentals (which we hammer, too, don't worry).

*****I'd like to challenge everyone to keep this going all season. If you use some of the ideas comment on how they worked. If you tweak them some way and you thought it was an improvement let us know also. And God knows if you find something new that you like throw that out as well.******
Original Post
We do a king of the infield drill, all infielders start at first, field it clean you move on to second and so forth, every error you go back back one spot. If you run it without throwing to first you can have multiple coaches hitting and keep a fast pace. If you do throw you have a designated first base and one coach hitting. We usually run it fielding only until everyone is at third and everyone fields a clean one at third
quote:
We have "bunt scrimmages" where we break into teams of 9, put a pitcher on the bump and strictly bunt. We have a scoring system that scores each play for the offense and defense. Kids get into it. It's also great for an indoor practice in nasty weather.

Oh I like this.

Great ideas all around.
I like doing what we call BP +1. Put the IF and OF defense in their spots. Take a normal round of BP but on the last pitch it's live. But no matter what they hit they have to stretch it to an extra base. For example a nice easy single over the SS head to the LF - the batter has to stretch it into a double. Now the defense has to play aggressively and the runner can start learning what they can / cannot stretch into extra bases. Once you get the hang of it then on a play like this have the runner put the brakes on and now the defense has to execute a rundown.

If the ball hit is a simple grounder and he gets thrown out at first now you can work on a bad throw situation. Once the first baseman catches the ball he steps forward, turns and throws the ball somewhere in foul territory. Now the catcher is involved and the runner breaks down past the bag like normal and then breaks to second.

On the baserunning out / safe doesn't matter. Once the play is over then the runner goes to the nearest base and works on reading bunts, hit/run, sac flies - whatever you're doing in the normal part of BP before the last pitch.

You can get a lot of realistic situations in that way while teaching aggressive baserunning.

Also, going back to the double relay thread since you're doing BP pitching there's probably going to be several balls in the gap / fence. Great way to work on this and even with a runner on first to work on that plays at home.
We play a BP game I call "validation".
You get a point for a single, two for a ball that touches the fence... but in order to get your points you have to validate with a fair bunt.
So if you get a hit, your very next pitch you bunt, if it's fair you get your point; if you don't get it down fair you get no points.

It's been a fun, competitive game.. you can tweak it to meet your needs. They have to bunt under a little bit of pressure to get their points (and you learn a lot by watching them bunt under pressure)
Another competitive game we play is one I call 'Bash and Dash'

Set up: Coach is throwing BP style from behind an L-screen. I put a temporary base at about 80-85 feet and then let the 2nd teamers hit with the 8 starters on the field. The starters are still throwing to the regular base but any time the hitter reaches the temporary base before the ball is caught he is safe (this is to equalize the speed of the jv guys being slower running to 1st.. puts pressure on the defense to get the ball to first simulating a fast runner)

If the ball is a hit into the outfield we have the DASH part of the game. The hitter keeps right on running up the right field line to a cone that is about 160-170 feet from home plate. The outfield is simulating a man going to home and the throw must arrive at home before the hitter (who is dashing) passes the cone.

The defense gets 2 points for every out. The offense gets 1 point for a single and 3 if they reach the cone ahead of the throw.

You can also have the OF throw the ball to 3rd and use the same deal where they have to beat the hitter to the cone.

The hitters get to swing and get some good running in. The defense has pressure on them on every ball... they even learn they must take care of the ball on a routine single and get it somewhere or it can cost them points.

if you try it you'll probably find a way to tweak it a little to suit your needs best. MY jv guys love this game and starters do NOT like losing to the 2nd team so it can get pretty competitive.
I would do a lot of "live" BP where every ball is live, but the batter only runs on the last one. One reward was that BP after a "win" was always a double play situation (they love turning two). BP after a loss was always something they deemed "boring".

The key is to mix up situations. How often do you practice "runner on 3rd w/one out"? We would do it 4-5 times a season as part of BP. We practiced bases loaded and the home to first double play multiple times. Mix up your situations and a round of BP becomes a lot more than just getting your swings in, plus you can rotate guys through different positions.
I got this drill from the ABCA Coaching Digest many years ago. Best team practice I have. Every phase of the game is worked: Defense - Offense - Baserunning.

The practice is set up like BP and there will be a coach or other player throwing BP using a small screen (using this small screen allows more balls to get up the middle versus the regular "L" screen. You can work on any situation you desire.

Now break your players into four groups: group 1 and 2 will be the 1B, 2B, SS and 3B players and group 3 and 4 will be LF, CF, RF and C players. You will need a player at each positon (if you are from a small school get your best JV players to help you out).

The rotation is as follows:

RD Hit Baserun Defense Defense
1 1 3 2 4
2 2 4 1 3
3 3 1 4 2
4 4 2 3 1

You can see there are four rounds - a group hitting, a group base running and an entire team on defense minus a live pitcher. Create what ever situation you want and work it. I usually rotate the groups every 12 minutes and have 1 out the entire practice (this keeps the coach from always yelling). Now the first 3 min. there is a runner on 1B, the second 3 min. there is a runner on 2B only, the third 3 min. there is a runner on 3B only and the fourth 3 min. there is a runner on 1B and 2B. Again, 1 out the entire practice. After twelve min. the groups rotate as seen in preceeding chart. When the groups rotate they have 20 seconds to get where they need to be and off we go again.

To speed up BP I give each hitter one swing. Either make contact or lose your turn. Now they only swing at strikes.

If you want further info let me know and I will email a power point I have when I presented this at a local clinic.
quote:
Originally posted by trojan-skipper:
We play a BP game I call "validation".
You get a point for a single, two for a ball that touches the fence... but in order to get your points you have to validate with a fair bunt.
So if you get a hit, your very next pitch you bunt, if it's fair you get your point; if you don't get it down fair you get no points.

It's been a fun, competitive game.. you can tweak it to meet your needs. They have to bunt under a little bit of pressure to get their points (and you learn a lot by watching them bunt under pressure)

Excellent!
former san diego state coach Jim Dietz ran something called "speed ball", great for having fun, getting in shape, playing defense and forcing guys to be aggressive at the plate. He put it in a video i think it was called Jim Dietz total team defense drills. Our players love it and it is a great way to close off a practice, or to get the guys jump started.
We'll finish some practices with Speed T-ball.
Two teams. A coach usually catches. As soon as 3rd out is made, teams race on and off the field. The first hitter due up can hit as soon as he is ready. If 3b is due up first, he can sometimes be hitting to an empty OF if the team that just finished hitting doesn't strategize and hustle.

Bat control, teamwork, hustle, lots of defensive reps and situational work, up tempo, competitive to say the least.
We play the following game and there are two versions of it.

1st to 3rd
two teams of 7 (everyone but a pitcher and catcher.
The team hitting always has a runner at first base and in order to get points the team must move the runner to 3rd or get 3 hits in a row. If the baserunner ends up at 2B the runner just clears the base.

I was introduced to this game by an assistant coach and I really did not know if I wanted to use it. However what we have seen with our program has been the following. OF's have learned how to make more accurate throws, use relays properly, and not overplay balls. We have seen baserunners become more aware of where the OF's are and how to challenge OF's

The other version of it is 2nd to home. You would need 16 and have a catcher. L screen comes into play on balss to CF. I just grad the L screen and move it. On both games we score a LD off the L Screen as hit and anything that hits the ground first we count as an out.
Another drill I've seen but not used myself is something I saw at a UNC clinic. They put their infielders in their spots while the OFs, catchers and pitchers hit ground balls off a tee with a runner on first. The defense has to turn double plays on each ball hit. Great drill for working on fairly live double plays.
quote:
Originally posted by coach2709:
Another drill I've seen but not used myself is something I saw at a UNC clinic. They put their infielders in their spots while the OFs, catchers and pitchers hit ground balls off a tee with a runner on first. The defense has to turn double plays on each ball hit. Great drill for working on fairly live double plays.
We have done a variation of this where we played an actual scrimmage off the tee. Not great for hitting, but it works the defense hard.

Looking back on it, I would use it sparingly, it's too easy to see what the hitter is trying to do and cheat, possibly causing bad habits.
kdog....I like this. We do a version we call "quad squad" and mix it up for situations.

We will put two groups on defense, one group at the plate on offense, and one group in the cages. we then rotate at a time interval just as you do.
This sincerely is some really good stuff. I'm gonna be using some of it on our first practice of the year tomorrow.

I believe baseball is a game of repetition, but it doesn't have to be a game of monotony.

I'd like to challenge everyone to keep this going all season. If you use some of the ideas comment on how they worked. If you tweak them some way and you thought it was an improvement let us know also. And God knows if you find something new that you like throw that out as well.

A sincere thanks to everyone who's thrown something out already. I know it's making me a better practice planner and a better coach.
The following is one of my favorite ways to wrap up practice. I present this drill along with several others at coaching clinics I speak at. You'll have to use your imagination since the followig is cut and pasted off of a handout that has a diagram. I've shared a lot of stuff with people here on the site and so, if you want a copy, let me know.

PM me if you want my email

This drill is called "Air Raid."

Air Raid is a great way to end practice with something that is fun while also challenging and conducive to winning. Naturally, as with any drill, competition makes the drill that much more fun. Each of my assistants as well as myself takes great pride in our abilities to hit “the perfect fungo ball!” We compete with each other during this drill. C1 starts the fun. Then the rotation moves from C1 to C2 and then finally, to C3. A bucket of balls is off to the side and a feeder (Yellow Circle), who is aware at all times that a ball could be hit in their area, keeps all of the coaches supplied with balls. The balls are returned to the other yellow areas, which typically are pitchers or anyone not participating in Air Raid. The Red Areas are the areas of danger. As a coach, you should be very aware when another coach has hit a ball into these areas to ensure that you allow the kids to make a play. So, the drill goes like this, C1 hits a ball to the left field side. While the ball is in the air, C2 hits a ball to the right field side. C3 then assess the situation. C3 can hit a ball to any area where it is safe. If the balls from C1 or C2 are on the infield, C3 can hit a popup to the catcher or a foul ball to 1st or 3rd. If C1 or C2 has hit an outfield ball, then C3 can hit to whichever infield side didn’t get a popup or hit a popup to the catcher. C3 is the pivotal Coach. He has to be able to keep it going but keep it safe. Should C3 hit a ball to shortstop, then, C1 now hits the balls to the right field side and C2 now hits to the left field side until you switch again due to a ball hit by C3. This is really confusing isn’t it? We want 2 balls in the air at all times! You should be able to do this. Please keep in mind. You want good fungo hitters doing this. If you have a kid hitting these fungos, they will top the ball and hit a line drive right between some kids eyes. Air Raid can also be done with 2 coaches. You simply alternate making sure that you keep the catchers supplied with some fungos. This will keep it safe.
To all of you who have requested the 4 man game and to all who have emailed me I think you for your positive comments. I see you love the practice segment as.much as the kids in my program do. Try to use it in off season class next fall. Rotate the groups every seven minutes and you will be surprised how much work you will get in. Best of luck this season. I'll post some more practice ideas later.
quote:
Originally posted by kdog:
To all of you who have requested the 4 man game and to all who have emailed me I think you for your positive comments. I see you love the practice segment as.much as the kids in my program do. Try to use it in off season class next fall. Rotate the groups every seven minutes and you will be surprised how much work you will get in. Best of luck this season. I'll post some more practice ideas later.


Could you send me the ppt also, please? bklm99athotmaildotcom
Offensively we play a game we call short game. There are two teams and it is best if you balance the amount of OF on each team, and pitchers, because you will need a full infield, a catcher, an a pitcher. We have a coach throwing BP from 45 ft. The object here is to score runs via bunts. It will go something like this.

Lead off guy drags/pushes
If he gets aboard next guy will SAC him over.
If defense does there job then there is a runner on 2nd with 1 out and the 3rd guy will have to drag push.
If he gets on you would have runners at 1st & 3rd 1 out. The next guy must squeeze, push, or drag.

Only Hard rules we have are as follows.
1. Can not sac with 1 out
2. Cones are set up at the corner spots and the mound to keep those people from vacating early. Coaches keep an eye on them.

Defensively run a drill called pull down. OF go to right and center field and infielders go to 1B. We fungo balls to the OF's with the infielders running to 3rd base. We call it pull down because we try to get them to understand that they need to pull down on the ball and in order to get it there or long hop the 3rd baseman. We also do this with OF running and ground balls to the infielders. We do not do it off the T but we have 2 coaches fungoing back and forth with OF running.
We have a drill that our guys really enjoy. We call it our multi-station PFP drill and it goes as follows:
round 1: 4,3-1(tweener play); 2-6, 5-2
round 2: 1-6-3, 4-3, 2-5
round 3: 1-3 (bunt), 4-6-3, 2-3
round 4: 1-2 (squeeze), 3-5, 6-4-3
we take 5 min/round and get a ton of work in 20min.
keep em coming fellas, good stuff.

Brave23: I am guilty of not getting enough PFP in so thanks for that.

Do most of you guys use your game field for PFP? I am thinking of setting up an area (I have a practice football field right nearby) adjacent to my field... I think i can get more done if I use another area. Of course the gym on a rainy day, but let's face it, that ain't the same.
We run a 4 station pick program

Station 1: Pitcher on the grass in front of the mound working on Pitch Out....5 to a righty and 5 to a lefty

Station 2: Pitcher to the 1B side of the mound working on Picks to the 1st baseman

Station 3: Pitcher on Rubber woking inside move and timing pick with MIF

Station 4: Pitcher to the 3B side of the mound working on Pick to the 3rd baseman and 53 moves. Obviously can't throw 53 move

Everything is based off the guy at station 1. When he is done the pitchers rotate to the next station.
20 Minute Infield (need two fungo hitters)

Round 1: Pitcher pitches to catcher and catcher throws to 2nd on a steal, After pitcher pitches fungo1 hits ground ball to 1st baseman and the pitcher covers first and at same time 3B back to other fungo hitter.

2: 3-6-1 DP and 5 - 2 play at plate

3: 4-6-3 and 3B bunts (we use 2 1st basemans here and have the one on the DP cut the distance down between 2nd and 1st base)

4: 5/6-4-3 DP and 1-2-3 DP (again we use the 2 1st basemans here)

5: 1-6/4-3 DP and 5-2-3 DP
We have an execution game that we as coaches love. We set up 6-12 executions we want to work on and force the kids to roll dice to choose the execution. If you execute you go to the end of the line where your teammates are. If you do not execute the player goes and sits in the dugout and watches his teammates do ten team sit-ups. No one wants to be that guy that forces his team to do more. After everyone is done the guys left in the dugout come back out and try again until they execute.
Here's a drill that always moving and will highlight the players that are in shape vs. those who have work to do, while at the same time exercising critical baseball skills. I've used it for all ages and a ten minute round of this is good to interject from time to time.

Player at plate (P3) (no catcher gear), player at 2B bag (P2), player at 2B deep playing position (P1), rest of players lined up behind 1B. Coach (C1) with Fungo on right side of infield, coach (C2) (or mature players) at first.

C1 fungoes ground ball to P1 at 2nd base playing position. P1 makes play to C2 at first, then runs toward C2 to within about 10 feet and makes button hook out to RF position to receive an over the shoulder throw of the same ball from C2.

C2 should keep an extra ball in back pocket (or nearby if players are executing the C2 toss) for wayward throws to keep it moving.

Sprinting to RF, P1 receives catch over his shoulder from C2, or shags it if missed, sets himself and throws to P2 at second.

P1 then sprints to second to become P2.

Once C2 has made over the shoulder throw to P1, new player sprints out to take 2B position and becomes the new P1. C1 maintains the flow of the drill by fungoing once the previous P1 has made his throw to P2.

P2 (at second) makes tag on throw from P1 OF, sets himself, and throws to P3 (home) then sprints to home to become P3.

(if you want to provide a little extra time between sprints you could have more than one player start at P2 and P3, and form a mini line at those spots as well.)

P3 makes tag, and brings ball to C1 bucket while sprinting to end of line of players waiting behind first.

Throwing and sprinting are going on simultaneously with hits from C1 to P1.

The entire team experiences wind sprints, ground ballwork, over the shoulder pop fly work, OF to IF throwing, IF to Home throwing, and tag work all in one drill.

Run it as long as it takes to get them winded or make it a competition until they execute X number of perfect reps.

(while in line these players are basically catching their breath before their place in the rotation begins again. That line presents opportunities for added drill work, perhaps with a third coach (or mature players) throwing Bunt work)
Bunt Competition
Got a chance to watch Mizzou practice last year and stole this idea.
Two (or three) teams will bunt through every player in the lineup one time and both teams will try to earn as many points as possible. The team with the most points at the end wins and the other team does a one-minute "payback" upon the conclusion of each round/inning (crunches, fence sits., etc.).
A hitter stands in ready to bunt and a member of the offensive team is running bases and another is on-deck to run. A full infield plays defense including a pitcher and catcher. The pitcher will come set, and make an "air" delivery while a coach, who is set up short of the mound, makes the real pitch. The ball is bunted and the action takes place.
Where you place the runners is up to you as a coach.

Here are examples of innings/rounds we play:
R1, Sac bunt
R2, Push/Drag bunt
R3, Safety/Suicide squeeze

Scoring is as follows:
The offense scores a point for advancing the runner(s) and (unless sac bunting) for the hitter/bunter being safe.
The defense scores 1 point for an out, 2 points for an out on the lead runner, and 3 points for a double play. Scores are totaled after each inning/round, payback happens, and the next round begins.

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