Practice Plan Preview
You should always have a practice plan written down and laid out including the timing of each segment of practice. A good plan takes a little effort, but will keep your practices focused and productive. One thing that I never put in a team practice is pitching practice. If you have pitchers practicing during team practice time, they (the pitchers) are missing the short and valuable team practice time that is available.
Pitching takes a lot of hard work and deserves its own separate practice time. I have to tell you a story about the 13 players I had on the 10U team that I coached in the fall of 2009. We had two practices during the week, one focused on hitting/offense and the other on fielding/defense. I would announce at the end of both practices, when the next practice was and where and the time. I would cover several topics normally covered at the end of practice. I also let them know that if they were interested in pitching, the pitching practice was going to be separate from the team practice and that would be at such-and-such field at 6:00 PM Sunday evening. Well, I had thirteen potential pitchers show up for pitching practice at 6:00 PM Sunday evening. Let me tell you, thirteen pitchers on one team is not the perfect number to have. Long story short, I put my best foot forward and gave them all the best instruction I could. We ended up using only six pitchers through out the season and the best three when we got down to the playoffs. We held a pitching practice once a week and at the end of the season, we still had thirteen pitchers showing up for practice.
I like to have two types of team practices (not including the pitchers practice). The first type is a defensive practice. The defensive practice is, as the name implies, focused on defensive skills and drills. We would teach and practice defensive strategies during this practice. The goal is to have the girls understand what the role is for each position in each situation so that when it happens in a game, they will all be doing what they should be automatically. I would slip in a little soft toss hitting during this practice, just to keep the swing mechanics fresh. The second type of practice would be the offensive practice. Here is where we would spend most of our time working on swing mechanics. The players would also get some bunting instruction and experience, some batting practice, slapping practice, base running, sliding and learn about signals and strategies.
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