Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Playoff baseball: Part 2 – Preparation

May 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Coaching

This post is part 2 of three posts dedicated to playoff baseball.  Part 1 dealt with scouting opponents.  This post will deal with a couple points related to preparing for the playoffs.

Many high school players have been engaged in baseball workouts since around January.  Some never really stopped their workouts at all.  They just continue in different phases throughout the entire year – spring season, summer ball, fall ball, indoor workouts and lifting, and back to the spring again. 

When planning for practices around playoff time, I tried to keep all this in mind.  Although the excitement and energy of the playoffs can spark some new enthusiasm, many of their bodies are pretty worn down by this point.  Because of this, I tried to stay away from marathon practices that attempt to teach and/or remind players of all that they have learned over the season.   A typical playoff practice for me would be no more than 90 minutes.  My thought was if they didn’t know something by now, they probably weren’t going to get much better at it the day before a playoff game.

Typically, my practice prior to a playoff game would basically be the equivalent of a football “walk-through” where players would go through mostly defensive situations meant to remind them as to where they should be.  We’d go through the offensive and defensive signs again and would then do a quick round of BP.   Time on the field was between 75-90 minutes tops.

My practice design was to go over some defensive things (I give defense a priority when it comes to playoff baseball) in a relaxed setting to improve confidence as much as technique and also to build in some needed rest to save their energy for the games.  At this point in the season, a relaxed, low pressure practice session accomplished all that was needed.

There is a lot to be said for high intensity practices to improve playing under pressure.  A marathon practice to address stamina and mental toughness has its place as well.  However, my experience as a player and a coach convinced me that short, efficient practices this time of year can go a long way.

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