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.******
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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
Last edited by lefthookdad
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.
Last edited by kdog
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.
Last edited by NDD

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