Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Slump proof a team

April 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Coaching

You never can totally eliminate slumps as a player or team.  However, if your team is good at the following, you can prevent some of them or at least not allow the slumps to last very long.

Throw strikes.  Make sure your pitchers’ #1 priority is throwing strikes.  The three pitch rule is a great concept for pitching staffs.  The concept is to get every batter to put the ball in play within three pitches.  Prevents walks which helps keep an offense from big innings.  Chart pitches and make sure all the pitchers know there strike ratio, especially their first pitch strike ratio.  A goal for both should be above 60%.

Make the routine play.  Tell all of your fielders that you never expect any of them to make a great play.  You do expect them to make the routine plays, though.  If the other team gives you an out – routine ground balls, pop-ups, sac bunts, runners caught in a rundown, etc. – it needs to be an out.  Eliminating errors and “non-plays” (plays that should result in an out but are not) are more things that prevent big innings.

Bunt.  A team may not be very talented when it comes to hitting but anyone can be taught to bunt.  Great hitting teams who are struggling (or facing a stud pitcher) can keep moving runners and score runs if they can bunt for base hits and sacrifice bunt.  Bunts force the other team to make a play.

Run the bases.  Practice base running every day and reward/praise great base running on the part of your players.  Like bunting, base running does not require a lot of talent.  It takes hustle and a bit of pre-pitch planning.  Every team will have games won and lost due to base running.  Be on the winning side of that.  It is an aspect of the game you have total control over.  Take advantage of it.

Fun.  Slumps involve a lack of confidence.  Keep morale high by making practices fun.  Never forget that the game is hard and naturally wears down confidence.  Fill up their confidence tank every once in a while with positive, fun activities.

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