It is hard to mimic game like batting practice, but the following method is one I use to pitch baseball batting practice that works to help players in many areas of hitting.
Baseball batting practice has three main goals, when done correctly. Baseball batting practice should help players develop timing, build confidence, and challenge players with game like speeds. In order to do each of these, coaches should throw batting practice in the following manner.
Baseball Batting Practice Technique
Pitch 1 – This first pitch should be slow, and even lobbed to the batter, as long as it gets to the strike zone. This slow pitch forces players to wait for pitched balls, the first ingredient with helping to develop timing – waiting on the ball.
Pitch 2 – The second pitch should be at medium speed, which helps kids develop confidence, as most players can hit medium pitched speeds.
After this third pitch, coaches restart with the first slow pitch again. At the beginning, I like to tell hitters of this sequence, but after a while, coaches should mix up these three speeds without letting players know which is coming, and with more pitches at the speed at which they struggled the most, as this is different from player to player. Additionally, the slow or medium pitched ball can be a curve ball or similar off speed pitch to give players game like pitches.
Of course, with all three it is important that batters attempt to hit balls in the direction of the pitched balls (i.e. outside pitches to opposite field, etc.). This baseball batting practice method is challenging and may produce some player frustration, so coaches should explain the value with this, and let players they will be better hitters for it in games and in the end. Finally, the most beneficial batting practice comes from throwing at regulation game distances, but this is difficult for most coaches, so adjustments in distances and speeds are necessary to make worthwhile.