30 days till 1st game of the Middle School Season


#1

We have 30 days till we play our first game. During the off season we have done some weight room work but not alot. My question is this, In the past we have ran our practices with all the players grouped together and it seems to not be very efficent (25 players 2 coaches). This year I would like to divide the infield, outfield and pitchers into groups and each have their own routine after we get the general conditioning drills done. I have 2 assistants this year). Is this a wise idea? Or should we do each drill as a group. I say we should divide up, but my assistants believe we should work together. Also my assistants believe that we should do long running at the start of practice I feel the long running should be done at the end. What is the common belief on this. Does it matter? Just to let you know this is my 3 year as a Head coach so I am still learning. I believe no matter how old we get we still need to be open to new ideas.


#2

Coach,

I would agree that thre are some drills that you can do as a large group but practices are more efficient and fun when things move along quickly. When guys are standing around waiting they lose interest.

Here is what we used :

  1. Everyone jog the perimeter of the field.

  2. Everyone light sprint home to 1st, then home to 2nd.

  3. Everyone light stretch, arm circles, crunches, twists etc.

  4. Everyone light catch/ LT 60,90,120,60.
    Total time 15-20 minutes & everyone is properly warmed up.

  5. Team hitting drills:
    Break everyone into four stations: (5-6 players / station)
    10 swings per player per station then group rotates to next station, coaches remain at their assigned station.
    Station#1. Coach #1- Soft toss into net
    Station #2. Coach #2- Thunder Stick with plastic golf balls
    Station #3. Coach #3 - Atec balls
    Station # 4 - Players - Bunting station
    Total Time : 15-20 minutes

Infield / Outfield / Bull Pens:
2 players @ each inf/outf pos, (8 X 2) =16 players.

Coach #1 with catcher- on the 3rd base side of home- Hits infield practice, Coach #2 with catcher-on the 1st base side of home- Hits outfield practice. Coaches 1&2 alternate. This takes some practice but it keeps everyone in their toes and you can get in a lot of practice in a short period of time. Work in outfield throws to 2nd. 3rd, home.

Coach 3 # - Runs pitchers & catchers through bull pen routines simultaneously, from flat ground if needed. ( 6 players, 3 pitchers & 3 catchers) Rotate pitchers & catchers in & out of bull pen to inf/outf as needed.

Total Time: 20 minutes

So in the first hour you have coverd the basics and you have the remainder of your practice for things like:

Live batting practice, base running, pitcher fielding drills, scrimmages etc.

I agree that I would leave any long distance running until the end of practice. Allow a few minutes for warm down and stretching. I liked to get everyone in a large circle for some light stretching with coaches in the middle to talk about what was covered in practice and upcoming games while they did their stretching.

I hope this gives you some usable ideas. Good luck!


#3

I would divide them up into 2 groups with 1 assistant running each group (e.g. P/C and IF/OF or Fielding/Hitting) and you float between them.


#4

I would think that it depends on the knowledge and coaching ability of each coach, and would not necessarily be the best use of the available time.

Have you decided who your team is going to be? Your strengths and weaknesses? Do you have a speedy but light hitting team? Good D no O? Or do you have a bunch of crushers? Those answers will determine how to divide your practice time. Regardless, there are some general guidelines I use.

I like to keep the kids moving. Standing-around time is lost opportunity. I use a series of drills every single practice that the kids can learn and understand, and can do with little coach-input. Basic-skills drills like four-corner, etc. Then every practice I try to toss in a new drill that teaches a new skill or develops an existing one, just to break the monotony. This requires a LOT of pre-planning, along with input and cooperation by the other coaches.

There are many drills that can be done by the players themselves that don’t require constant coach input-interference. Setting up the drills may take some time, but if the same basic drills are done on a regular basis, after the first couple of times the kids get it. This allows all three coaches to oversee the drills, participating where required (hitting balls, demonstrating, correcting) while encouraging the players to take responsibility

My practices generally group outfield, infield, pitchers, and catchers in separate groups for part of the practice. Then I group infield and outfield separate for part of the practice. The whole team gets together to work on game situations (we generally have separate hitting practices, but as the days get longer, we usually throw light BP during this phase) and skills like baserunning/baserunning defense (pick-offs, throw-downs, signs, etc.)

I like Coach Capes 20 minute warm up, and we normally do a cool down run at the end of practice as well, but it depends on the needs of the team and the length of the practice/how many practices per week.

Typically I will have my assistant coaches do the majority of the position work and I will work with pitchers and catchers, but of course I stay involved in all groups as much as practical.

Hope in this long discourse you might find some small thing worth using.

Good luck! let us know how it turns out.