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I was reading the excellent discussion, Pitching in bunting situation and it made me think of Batting Practice.

What are some good, innovative batting practice routines to keep
practice fresh, keep the kids engaged and allow them to learn and get
their work in?

We've all been stuck with the 2-3 bunts, 10 swings...  and move on
batting practice.  I'd love to hear from the CheckSwing community with
some ideas on how to structure batting practice.


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I have seen a team using something they call a Circus Drill where they put a runner on 2B and 1B. Defense on the field, coach throwing BP. Runner on 1st treats it like 1 or no outs... Runner on 2nd treats it like 2 outs... infield is trying to turn 2, outfield throwing to get runner at home. Moves fast and the players seem to enjoy it.
If you are only talking about pregame as in the picture, tough to do anymore than what you have written. Maybe add hit and run, hitting to right side to move runners, Sac, Squeeze, fake bunt swing,
We split our kids up into groups of 3 or 4 kids per group and set up various stations (tees, soft-toss, short toss in the cage, live hitting, baserunning, and shagging). Depending on how long we have alotting for hitting that day we then to timmed stations (generally 10-15 min at each station). With Tees, Soft-Toss, & Short Toss each guy takes 10-15 swings and then the next guy jumps in, and they just keep cycling through until time is called. Base runners will work on taking a lead, getting a secondary, then reading the ball off the bat and go 1st to 3rd, or round 3rd from 2nd. Live hitting they do 2 Sac Bunts, 2 Hit and Runs, 2 Move the runner over from 2nd base, 1 runner at 3rd with less then 2 outs, then the next guy jumps in. After that round then each guy just takes 5 swings. Sometimes we'll change up the 5 swing rounds and have a coach sit behind the cage and call out situations for the hitter. Shagging group can get some defensive work in at the same time by fielding as much as they can from positions they will be playing in the field.

By the end of an hour of BP, each kid can easily take 200+ swings, and it keeps all of them moving all the time.
We use something that we call LSU. We usually break our hitting groups into 4 man groups and usually have 4 or 5 groups.
We have two groups in the field taking live ground balls and fly balls. Those are put into a bucket either located in the outfield and on the corners of the infield. Another group in the cage getting Tee drills and soft toss work being done. Players will generally start here and work throught the rotation so they get their fundamental work done before hitting on the field. This ensures that they are prepared to hit on the field and not just getting loose during this session. The group that is hitting on the field, begins with the last guy in the group on first base. The hitter at the plate then goes through a series of situational hitting scenarios. First is hit and run. The runner at first takes off and the hit and run is executed. Then we move him over with something hit to the right side and the runner advances to third. Next, we drive him in from third. Finally the player gets one free swing and then advances to first and the the round starts all over again with a new hitter. This works situational hitting, defense by taking live balls, and baserunning. A few rounds of this keeps all the kids moving and there is very little down time for kids to stand around. See if this is something that you can incorporate into your BP session.
We stress situational hitting in the cage by playing a game we call 3 on on 3. We divide into teams of three. They take a cut and the coach describes what happens (single, double, ground out, etc). They have to hit depending on where guys are on base. As soon as they finish their cut, the quickly get out of the cage and next guy in.

Moves quickly, they get more of a game feel by only seeing a few pitches instead of staying in the cage for 20 cuts, teaches situational hitting, and is competitive for the kids
We played a great game called "around the horn." It was good for teams as high as high school level.

You have a coach or designated pitcher throw. This is live BP (when you hit the ball, you run as you would in a game). If you reach base safely, you stay and run until you get out or score (there is no catcher, thus no plays at the plate). With every new hitter, the situation resets at less than 2 outs.

After you are recorded out or score, you go to right field. When the next person comes to right, you move to center, then left, then 3rd, then SS etc...the 1st baseman gets in line to hit (you can have them doing soft toss or tee work while waiting). If a double play is turned both players report to the outfield (one in right, one in center).

This moves very quickly, so players need to be hustling all around the field. It gives your hitters, baserunners and defense a new situation with every batter. This also helps evaluate players at multiple positions, which can always be helpful. It's better than scrimmaging because it gets the entire team involved at once (everyone is doing something). We usually do this at the end of practice, after "traditional" fielding/cage work has been completed.

It sounds a bit chaotic but we started doing this with 9U team, and they picked it up in a matter of minutes. You can twaek it however you feel fit and the kids really enjoy it. Keep practice interesting and you won't ever have kids "going through the motions".
We've also used this one with success. High school players usually have their positions set, so this drill would likely be a good drill for rec ball and youth leagues.
I break them up into two groups. One group soft tossing at the net working on hitting outside, inside pitches. Basically all around the plate. The other group live pitching, and you can do it situational hitting to make more fun. Like what do you do with an 2-0 count with a runner on 2nd for example. That keeps the batter aware of that game and getting batting practice at the same time
These are all great recommendations and I will incorporate a lot of these into our workouts. Thanks guys!
A couple of similar ideas - (1 below) encourages the importance of batting tee work (although not technically a batting practice routine). (2 below) helps players concentrate more on hitting skills.
1. Play a game using the batting tee - 3 or 4 player teams - other guys play regular defense - three outs per inning. Kids will begin to realize the importance of tee work and that it takes a good swing to hit the ball well even on a tee. No pitcher position needed and no bunting of course. Helps players on defense too, keeps it moving and it is exciting when you see defense start to adjust to players hitting tendencies by moving around some depending on the hitter. Can have players run bases or not. If not count number of clean hits by each group.
2. Players get 10 pitches (strikes) - whatever,2bunts, 2 hit and runs, 2 balls opposite field, 2 sac flies, 2 game winning hit opportunities. Depending on how many successes they have determines how many swings they get the next round. The details of this can be adjusted of course to fit the part of the game coaches want to work on. It can be as simple as 10 pitches - depending on how many hard hit balls are hit determines how many swings hitter gets next round.
The draw back is that the weaker hitters are the ones who get penalized with less swings but it may provide incentive for them to practice more. Coaches can handicap it some with different speeds to help weaker players to compete also. Coaches can try different variations of this but kids often like the competitive part of it and it spurs concentration during bp.
I love the game ideas, Jack! I'm definitely going to use these with my 10-12 kids this spring.
The ten and out situation is good every once in a while, but players need to be able to preform in games so why not practice situational hitting?

3 Sac
next round
5 hit behind runner with runner on second
next round
5 get runner home from third, infield in or back
next round
5 hit and run
next round
5 free swings

Also, if possible, have groups rotate from hitting in cage to hitting on field to getting fungos and playing the ball live on defense in the field.


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