The Importance of Good Practice

Practicing Properly

Practice is more important to player development than games. It is interesting to me how many youth coaches will schedule 60-80 games in the summer, but will not provide any time to practice. In a perfect world, playing 30-45 games with 1 or 2 practices per week would be the way to go. Kids want to have fun and play, and coaches want the kids to have fun and play the game properly. When kids play the game properly they have fun.

If we can agree that practice is important, then the next question is how can we practice properly. The best practices are nothing but small bits of the game broken down and rehearsed over and over again. The coach that can put his players in a position to do the things that need to be done in the game will find more success than the coach who has catch, followed by batting practice and then a round of infield. The coaching template provided in our product list is a great way to divide the practice time, But the good coach knows exactly how to break the game up and teach the game thru the proper drills. Most of us grew up, played baseball, went to practice and never experienced a good practice. For those of you who did, you know exactly why practice is important.

The most important point of this blog is that the kids need to experience any situation that the coach wants them to learn. For example, when a pitcher fails to cover first base on a ball hit to his left, the coach will tell the player what he should have done. But that is not enough. To hold the player accountable in a game situation, the player should be put in positions in practice where he needs to react properly. This is what good coaching is all about. Breaking the game down into small pieces and allowing the players to experience what is expected.

Here is another example. With a man on first base and the bunter bunts, where should the left fielder go? When should he go there? The left fielder should quickly break over behind third base in a line from first base thru 3rd base all the way to the fence. The left fielder should position himself/herself to back up the throw coming from 1st base. Just telling the kid he needs to be there is not enough. This needs to be put into a physical sort of practice experience. Rundowns, cuts and relays, bunt defenses, base running, feeds on double plays are just simple examples of situations where some coaches want proper execution by simply talking about them in practice. Good coaches figure out ways to practice game situations.

How about base running? Ask kids what they should do if they are on 1b and a long fly ball is hit to left field. Most will say go half way. (They should go 1 step past 2nd and read the play). What do most base runners do when on 3rd and a line drive is hit to the outfield. Most runners take 2 steps toward home and then as the line drive is being caught, work hard to get back to 3rd and tag. Why is this mistake made so often? We do not practice it enough. We talk about it and expect them to get it. Good practice is a must if the kids are going to learn how to play the game.

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  1. gary g
    5 years ago

    need to have a book and ask questions for different situations at all positions