Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

How to add some fun to a line-up

July 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching, Mental Side

My hometown Phillies are currently in last place and 14 games back in their division.  It has been a tough summer for Phillies

The Tampa Bay Rays insert some fun with a "Nerd" travel day. Create your own!

fans who have not seen a last place team in some time now.  By the looks of the players in the dugout, it’s been a tougher

summer for them.

Play the game long enough and you’ll eventually be on a last place team.  It is no fun.  Losing saps a lot out of the team in terms of chemistry but it can also make the game less fun which is the most damaging part.  Players try to do too much, coaches don’t know what to do, pitchers blame the fielders/hitters, fielders/hitters blame the pitchers, etc.  No fun indeed.

With adversity, though, comes an opportunity to think outside the box a little and try something a little unorthodox.  As a coach, you’ll get some kudos for at least trying something different and might just bring back some of the fun in the process.  Sometimes that’s all you need to get the bats and/or the wins rolling again.

Below are some things I have been apart of on teams that were either in the basement already or just not playing up to potential.  Some didn’t work but all were fun!

  • Have a player draw names from a hat.  The first name pulled leads off, the second name bats second, and so on until the line-up is made.
  • Draw names out of a hat to determine positions as well.  You can make exceptions for pitchers and catchers if you like.
  • Line-up is created based on chronological order of uniform numbers.  Lowest to highest or highest to lowest.
  • Switch up the uniform.  Everyone goes Old School with the high socks.  If the team is already Old School, bring the pants down.
  • Everyone wears eye black.  Even the pitchers.  Even the coaches.
  • The entire line-up swings the same bat.  Pick one and everyone uses it.  Choke up if you need to.
  • No on-deck batter is allowed to swing weighted bats, use donuts, etc. in the on-deck circle.  Just stand there in case you need to get to the home plate area to tell a runner to slide/stand up.
  • All hitters MUST swing at the first strike.  Penny fine for those who don’t.
  • All players sprinting onto or off a field must touch a base on their way out/in.
  • Don’t take pre-game infield/outfield.  Just play the game.
  • Take a phantom infield/outfield.  (Stay tuned for a separate post on this one!)
  • “Slump busting Kool-Aid”.  A separate water cooler is made with Kool-Aid.  All players MUST take a small drink from it before walking up to the plate.  Label the cooler clearly.
  • All players MUST enter/exit the dugout backwards.  After in/out they can turn and walk/run as normal.
  • In you have any, bring out some old uniforms.  Dig around in the storage units (all high schools have them) and bring out old jerseys, pants, or both!  I’ve done this multiple times, always with success.

Their are countless others but the point of all of them is to be creative and bring back the fun.  When that happens, players relax.  When players relax, their potential can come out and the wins start showing up.

 

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