Batting practice is a critical part of a baseball player's routine, and it can often make or break a player's performance on game day. One way to make batting practice more challenging and productive is to incorporate competition drills. These drills force hitters to focus on specific aspects of their swing and help them make adjustments pitch by pitch.
One such drill is the "challenge drill", where the coach gives the hitter a specific challenge, such as hitting the ball to the opposite field or hitting a ground ball for a sac fly. If the hitter executes the challenge, they continue to hit. However, if they fail to execute, they must switch with the next hitter in line.
This drill is beneficial for several reasons. Firstly, it forces hitters to make adjustments pitch by pitch. If a player is struggling to hit to the opposite field, for example, they will need to make changes to their swing to execute the challenge. This level of focus and concentration is essential in real game situations, where hitters must make adjustments to different pitches and situations. Secondly, the challenge drill highlights a player's strengths and weaknesses. If a player is consistently struggling to execute a particular challenge, it may indicate a weakness in their swing or approach. This information is valuable for both the player and coach, as it helps them identify areas that need improvement. Finally, the challenge drill adds an element of competition to batting practice. Players are more likely to stay engaged and motivated when there is a competitive element involved. This added intensity can help players replicate game-like situations and prepare them for the pressures of a real game.
To incorporate the "challenge drill" into batting practice, the coach can set up different challenges for each hitter or rotate challenges throughout the session. Some examples of challenges could include hitting a line drive to the opposite field, hitting a deep fly ball to center field, or hitting a ground ball to the left side of the infield.
Competition drills like the challenge drill are a valuable tool in batting practice. They help players make adjustments pitch by pitch, highlight strengths and weaknesses, and add an element of competition to keep players engaged and motivated. By incorporating these drills into their routine, players can improve their performance and be better prepared for game day.