Saturday Secrets to Great Baseball Coaching
Defense Also Wins Baseball Practice Game
When I look back at my baseball practices as a youth, one practice game shoots to the top of my mind. I am not sure of the name but it is some form of the piggy move up game. It is a lot of fun for kids when done right and is fast moving, but the reason it is a great game is that it stresses the importance of defense.
How the Baseball Practice Game Works
A coach pitches the game and a player or a coach is the catcher. Coaches set players at all the other positions with the remaining players up to bat. Players hit until they make an out, or until they have batted four times, whichever comes first. When the batter makes an out, they go and play right field with each defensive player moving up one position (right to center to left to 3rd base and so on) towards first base. After playing first base, that player moves into hit. Players continue on the base paths when they hit safely until they score, or until their turn to bat again. When there is a force out, the batting player is the one who takes to the field and not the forced out player, unless a double play occurs, wherein both players take to the field, one to right and one to center field.
Why the Baseball Practice Game is Effective
What makes this baseball practice game so effective is there is obvious incentive to want to bat, as all kids like that part of the game, but also, when a player makes an outstanding defensive play, as deemed by the coach, that player automatically goes to bat from whatever position he was playing. Each player moves up as the out will be the player moving to right field. Knowing they move in to hit at any time provides great incentive for players to stay attentive, play all out, and go for it on defense. Additionally, when a player makes an error, that player moves to right field from wherever they were playing, thereby penalizing them for the error.
Once again, though, a right fielder as any position, who makes a good play, can move all the way to at-bat from there. For instance, a player can make an out, move to right field, make a great play there, and move right back into hitting. The game has built in incentive on the offensive and defensive ends.
A couple other baseball-practice game instructions:
* This game should move quickly – after playing first base and moving into bat, players should set their gloves along the right field line so it is ready for use when taking the field.
* Coaches are judge and jury for this game, so they can reward players as they see fit. For example, a player who has never caught a fly ball in a game before can be sent into hit for that, even though it may not have been a great defensive play.
* When short on players, extra coaches may have to play a position to have enough batters up and ready.
* Coaches can make this baseball practice game as game-like as they want with stealing, pickoffs etc. based on using a real catcher or not.
* Of course, a player, who throws many strikes, can pitch, but the best part of the game is the fast moving pace, so usually best when a coach pitches.
* Players, who never seem to bat much because of error making, should bat at some point.
* Coaches, who want to take this baseball practice game to another level, so to speak, can keep a tally of runs for each game and over the course of the season to see who scores the most runs throughout the year.