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Ideas for avoiding boredom during hitting practice

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  • Ideas for avoiding boredom during hitting practice

    Like most teams, all our kids (age 9-11) love to hit and scrimmage at practice. I'd love to have a full scrimmage (fielders and the rest hitting and running) where we have our pitchers pitch but between inconsistent pitching and hitting the fielders are soon shuffling their feet and looking around bored to death. When there finally is a hit they arn't ready. Last game inbetween batters I took some time and hit the ball around for different plays to help break up the monotony. That seemed to help keep people in the game-at least temporarily.

    Looking for ideas on how to run a scrimmage to give real game situation experience yet keep it moving.

  • #2
    If you are going to have all the players in positions then what you are doing helps. After the pitch and no hit you put one in play. If you have another coach one take the left side and the other take the right side.

    However I've rarely done full squad hitting practice like that. Try just having the pitcher, catcher, hitter, on-deck, and three outfielders. Two of them are to shag the balls and the other is to stand near second base with a bucket to put the ball into when the other two outfielders throw it to him. Key point here.... make sure the bucket guy is paying attention and NEVER has his eyes off the batter when a pitch is being made. If you happen to have a screen between him and the field then that's good. So now we have seven kids involved and moving positions regularly and staying awake.

    Take the above and add two stations. Have a kid doing tee work. That kid moves to the soft-toss drill. That kid moves to on-deck. That kid moves to batter. That kid moves to one of the outfield spots and you then rotate to the on field spots. If you have two kids at the tee (one putting and one hitting) and a coach doing the soft-toss now you have 10 kids involved.

    Take the above and have a pitcher and a backup catcher on the side warming up to come in and throw live. Now you have 12 kids involved.

    If you have more have a few kids doing a needed drill on the side.

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    • #3
      I just re-read your post. I don't think I answered what you were looking for.....

      Looking for ideas on how to run a scrimmage to give real game situation experience yet keep it moving.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had good succes with two types of scrimmages in my practices this season with this same age group.

        Fungo scrimmage: There's a full team of 9 on the field and 3 baserunners. The pitcher throws a pitch and I hit a fungo into play. One of the baserunners acts as the batter and runs to first after I make contact. This way I can make sure all the fielders are involved. We're working on fielding, game situations, baserunning, pitching, and catching.

        Soft-toss scrimmage: 8 fielders (no catcher) and 3 or 4 batters. Instead of hitting a pitched ball I give the batter a soft toss. This way the ball gets put in play a lot more often. After tossing the ball I'll act as the catcher for the fielding team. We're working on hitting, baserunning, game situations, and fielding.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
          Like most teams, all our kids (age 9-11) love to hit and scrimmage at practice. I'd love to have a full scrimmage (fielders and the rest hitting and running) where we have our pitchers pitch but between inconsistent pitching and hitting the fielders are soon shuffling their feet and looking around bored to death. When there finally is a hit they arn't ready. Last game inbetween batters I took some time and hit the ball around for different plays to help break up the monotony. That seemed to help keep people in the game-at least temporarily.

          Looking for ideas on how to run a scrimmage to give real game situation experience yet keep it moving.
          Consider a slight modification in which the coach pitches.

          Other than this make it game like.

          If batters strike out, then back to the bench they go.

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          • #6
            give the batter 2 strikes. That way they will learn to protect and won't let the good pitches go by. Hitting with 2 strikes is a skill that kids need to spend more time on anyway and this would be a good situation to practice. At the high school level we give the batters a 2-2 count to speed things up if we want to work on 2 strike hitting and a 2-1 count when we have a regular inter-squad scrimmage.

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            • #7
              Instead of them just fielding and rolling the ball back in, give them game-like situations. Not only will this keep their attention, they will see more situations and they will know what to do when it happens in a game.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                I had good succes with two types of scrimmages in my practices this season with this same age group.

                Fungo scrimmage: There's a full team of 9 on the field and 3 baserunners. The pitcher throws a pitch and I hit a fungo into play. One of the baserunners acts as the batter and runs to first after I make contact. This way I can make sure all the fielders are involved. We're working on fielding, game situations, baserunning, pitching, and catching.

                Soft-toss scrimmage: 8 fielders (no catcher) and 3 or 4 batters. Instead of hitting a pitched ball I give the batter a soft toss. This way the ball gets put in play a lot more often. After tossing the ball I'll act as the catcher for the fielding team. We're working on hitting, baserunning, game situations, and fielding.
                I do this also and it works well.

                I also scrimmage with self-toss.

                I mostly practice hitting in the cage and pitching in the bullpen (but with a passive batter standing in the box).
                Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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                • #9
                  kinda off the subject a little, but I tried something a little different this year after watching a local college take BP. they had 5 groups of 5, They put kids in infield poisitons, then had someone throwing BP, each kid would get 5 pitches and thats it, 5th pitch no matter if he hit it or not he would take off to 1st, next kid was up asap and was expected to be ready. They would go through it 4 times so each kid got 20 pitches total and then switch groups. The infielders would field the ball but would not throw it, just put it in the bucket closest to him. Then they had another group hitting BP in another cage, and another group working on outfield stuff ect..

                  I switched the routine a little, I called it 7-7-7, I would give each kid 7 balls still using an infield and had a wiffle ball station as well. we would have 4 kids per group since we don't have 25 kids. It really seemed to keep there attention, they know there only getting 7 balls and the better not sit on a marginal pitch or else they don't get any work. the wiffle ball group got 10 pitches per kid and rotated as well. The other 3 kids were expected to be picking up the wiffle balls.

                  Sorry I got off the subject a little, but its kinda still on the subject.

                  Cally

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by baseballdad View Post
                    Like most teams, all our kids (age 9-11) love to hit and scrimmage at practice. I'd love to have a full scrimmage (fielders and the rest hitting and running) where we have our pitchers pitch but between inconsistent pitching and hitting the fielders are soon shuffling their feet and looking around bored to death. When there finally is a hit they arn't ready. Last game inbetween batters I took some time and hit the ball around for different plays to help break up the monotony. That seemed to help keep people in the game-at least temporarily.

                    Looking for ideas on how to run a scrimmage to give real game situation experience yet keep it moving.
                    I seen Pat Casey from OSU throw from an L screen with players in positions fielding. There was a coach behind an L screen hitting ground balls behind first base in between pitches to infielders. Casey was throwing 60 percent from half the distance.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rkbenn View Post
                      I seen Pat Casey from OSU throw from an L screen with players in positions fielding. There was a coach behind an L screen hitting ground balls behind first base in between pitches to infielders. Casey was throwing 60 percent from half the distance.

                      same drills I was talking about. Different college.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by callyjr View Post
                        same drills I was talking about. Different college.
                        Agree, but OSU is the defending back to back champs....lol

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                        • #13
                          I understand, I live in Vancouver, Attended a few Beaver games this year. I'm all about the Beavers until next season when my Ducks open the pac 10 season against them. Then its all about the Ducks .

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by callyjr View Post
                            I understand, I live in Vancouver, Attended a few Beaver games this year. I'm all about the Beavers until next season when my Ducks open the pac 10 season against them. Then its all about the Ducks .
                            Come on don't leave the Beavs. Shoot, I didn't know UO had a baseball team? It's hard for me to go to College games because they last 4 hours. I was able to see OSU and Cal this past season. Not sure how last year's champs can't get an invite to this years tournament.

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                            • #15
                              I've gotten some great ideas to incorporate from this thread. Thanks. The screen behind first is really a fun idea.

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