I believe in baseball drills for players of all ages, as they work for a number of reasons. First, they help explain a certain aspect of the game, as for the correct way to hit, throw, pitch, and field. Second, players usually get a great number of repetitions in a short span. Third, for most baseball drills, a small area is all that is necessary to do them. Fourth, and most important, good baseball drills generally force the correct actions, leading to quicker improvement than would have been possible without the baseball drills. Lastly, they help keep practice boredom away, especially with the great number of drills available to coaches and players.
However, some dangers exist with baseball drills, especially in the short term.
Possible Negatives of Baseball Drills
- Some players have a tough time differentiating drills from reality. Many young players sometimes think that the drill is the way they are supposed to do something, instead of realizing that the drills are to help achieve the correct actions.
- Different actions than those intended develop – sometimes, players develop a different bad habit from incorrect or over use of a drill.
- Players become somewhat mechanical – before the desired action becomes natural, players may look or be awkward with the implementation.
- Players begin to think too much – sometimes players do not just let the actions flow but think about them to the point of paralyzing their movements.
- Especially when it comes to hitting drills, all players have different habits, so what helps one player’s skills may actually hurt another.
- When it comes to throwing drills, changing from an individual’s natural habits may cause arm injury, even though the change is for better throwing mechanics.
Because of those dangers, it is always best to do a few things to try to avoid them from occurring.
Baseball Drills Implementation
Players should do the following when doing drills:
- Try to understand why they are doing the drills the coaches suggest and realize they are drills.
- Have coaching supervision to make sure they do the drills correctly.
- Find the drill or drills that best suit their weak areas and focus mostly on those.
- Repeat the drill for a spell, ten or so repetitions, and then try the skill without the drill, so they see if they can do the correct way without the drill.
- Be careful they do not perform the drill to the point where a different incorrect action is the result.
- Give the drill time to work, which is often, a long time with young, inexperienced players.
- Forget the drill when in games, so they do not over think and become mechanical.
- Back off from the drill when they experience pain, as some drills may be too difficult at their age, as one arm hitting drills, for example.
As stated above, I believe continual use of baseball drills are the best way to teach the game, but coaching supervision is necessary so the intended result has a chance. Finally, although it takes patience to wait, I often see the results of good drills take affect at the beginning of the following season, as players show improved skills at that time and do not over think anymore.