Add some problem solving to your drills
“I am so sick and tired of my players not being able to think for themselves. They sit back and just wait for me to tell them what to do all the time.”
I’m sure it does. Every coach deals with that dilemma. So how can a coach address it rather than just complain about it? One way is to insert some thinking and problem solving into your drills. Here are a few examples:
- Don’t tell the player where to throw the ball on ground balls. As the ball is coming at him, yell out a math problem. “2+2” means to throw home (4). “5-4” means a throw to first base.
- Give an infielder a ball and have them close their eyes. Place runners at bases. The player open his eyes when instructed and has to find the runners and determine which runner to go after. Example: Place a runner near 2nd base as if he is just about to arrive at 2nd. The runner at 3rd moves half way down the line. Shortstop opens his eyes, scans for runners, and (hopefully) goes after the runner off 3rd.
- Use colored balls or put a large colored dot on each ball. Hitter hits the “hit color” and takes the “take color.”
- Work on bunt drills with a full infield and pitchers. Call out a math problem like above and the answer is where the bunt is thrown after being fielded. Players move accordingly.
- Click HERE for another example I wrote about a while back.
If you are creative, I’m sure you can think of more. The point is to get players out of the “there is only one play” mentality. That obviously is not how the game works. Baseball is fluid. The situation constantly changes so the thinking of players needs to be fluid as well. Unfortunately, most of our drills involve the “only one play” concept. No wonder they can’t adjust.
Like everything else, if you want players to do it, you have to get them to practice it.
Do you do something like this? If so, share in the comment area or email me at BaseballByTheYard@gmail.com.