Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Principled drills

September 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Coaching, Practice

range-drill-2There are two different types of drills that we coaches tend to run our players through during practice. The first involves picking a position-based skill that needs to be worked on and designing a drill to target the skill. An example might be underhand feeds by the shortstop on double plays with the second baseman. You roll grounders to the shortstop and he underhands it to the second baseman. Pretty simple and effective if the player does it correctly.

The second type of drill involves what some might call “principled application.” These are bigger picture items that scale across many areas of the game. Let’s use the underhand toss again as an example. Every player in the infield will have to underhand a ball to someone at some point. You could design separate underhand drills for each position or you could design one drill for everyone to do (even outfielders). The principle is “underhanding balls while moving” which as I said earlier can be applied to any infield position. Structuring this type of drill for moving underhands – a square drill comes to mind – teaches the principle and general skills to everyone at the same time. This builds the foundation for the movement.  Once they have the foundation they can apply it to dozens of underhand scenarios during games.

If a coach starts with separate underhand drills for each position, the practice will last forever. He will also have the problem of players shifting to different positions and thinking they must do – in this case underhands – something different at each position.

Start drilling with the principle and fill in the details with position-specific drills later.

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