Are you coaching kids over 14? Here’s a fun high school baseball practice plan that will engage your players and improve their skills.
We’ll start off with a Warmup block, followed by a Stations block. Then finish up with two Game Preparation drills to bring out your team’s competitive juices.
Ready to go? Let’s get it!
Phase 1: Warmup (15 mins)
Dynamic Warmup (5 mins)
Jog & Skip Forward & Backward, High Knee Runs, Carioca, Walking Lunge
1st Base Sprint (5 mins)
If you don’t have use of the infield, this drill works just as well with four cones – one for the start of each of the players lines, and the other 60 feet away at a diagonal, replicating first base. Split the two teams so that they are fair matches in terms of speed.
- The coach will yell ‘Go!” and the players will take off looking to beat their matchup to their respective base.
- The first player to tag his base wins the race!
- Go through both teams at least twice, with the winning team being whichever one won the most races
It’s important that players are overrunning the base in this drill – we want them to replicate a game situation and learn to maximize their speed on that sprint to 1st.
Encourage younger kids to pump their arms and knees to increase their speed
Kneel Throw (5 mins)
- The player who starts with the ball will throw to his partner, with the partner making the catch using only the upper body.
- Players will continue like this, counting the number of catches in a row they can hit.
- After 4 consecutive catches, the partners can take a step back
- After about 5 minutes, whichever group has hit the highest number of throws in a row without a dropped ball is the winner!
The emphasis for players here is to really rotate their upper body through their throwing motion – it’s the only way the will be able to throw with power and accuracy from down on one knee.
Feel free to adjust the distance as you see fit based on your team’s age and skill level.
Phase 2: Stations (40 Mins)
For the next phase of this high school baseball practice plan, we'll split the team into three groups and rotate through each drill for 20 mins.
Crossfire (20 Mins - Infield)
Split the team into half, with one fielding line at shortstop and the other at 2nd base position. If you’re running this drill in the outfield, simply put a cone down and set the players up the proper positions. You will also need 2 coaches on the field, standing roughly 50 feet away from the fielding lines. Each coach will have both a bat and glove.
- The coach on the right side will start by hitting a soft ground ball across the infield to the short stop.
- The short stop will field the ball and make the throw back to the coach.
- As the shortstop is fielding the ball, the coach on the left side will hit the ball across the infield to the 2nd base position, who will field and throw back to him.
- The drill will continue like so, with players returning to the end of their line after their turn.
- After 5 minutes or every players has gotten a couple reps in, flip the lines, moving shortstop to 2nd and vice versa.
Keep up the pace! This drill works at it’s best when the balls are being hit rapidly, alternating back and forth from coach to coach.
To make this a game, award each team 1 point for a successfully fielded ball, with the finish line being 30 points.
You need a bucket to act as home plate – but if you can’t find one, a bag works just fine.
Have all players form one line about 100-200 feet away from the bucket, and each bring a couple baseballs with them. Coach will stand beside the bucket to collect the thrown balls.
- One at a time, players will attempt to throw a ball that hits the bucket.
- After a couple cycles, make it a game.
- Each player gets three throws, with the top four from the first round moving on to the semis, and continuing on through the finals until you’ve crowned a winner.
Remind players that one or two hop throws count as well! They will quickly learn that these types of low, hard throws are easily the most effective way to hit the bucket.
Offer a prize, like a Gatorade or pack of baseball cards, to the player who wins the drill
With a red marker, make a dot – between the size of a dime and a quarter – on somewhere between a quarter and half your baseballs. This drill can be done in the infield, or by soft-tossing whiffle balls in the outfield.
- Have a coach throw 10 pitches to the batter.
- After each pitch, ask the batter whether or not there was a red dot on the ball.
- After 10 pitches, rotate a new batter through, continuing the drill until everyone has gotten a chance to hit.
- Your champion is whoever correctly identified the most balls correctly on the team!
For younger players who may find identifying a small dot on a moving ball too difficult, place the ball on a tee with the dot lined up on the sweet spot of the ball, and have them swing through it – this is a great way to teach players where to aim the bat.
Phase 3: Game Preparation (60 Minutes)
In phase 3, we'll work on some game-like drills that give your players a chance to work on hitting under pressure, while also getting fielders defensive reps and live game experience.
Live Situation (30 Mins)
Have a player line up at each defensive position, and a baserunner standing just outside the batters box, ready to run to 1st. You can also add more baserunners at 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Coach will be at the plate with a bat.
- The coach will hit balls to different locations on the field, with the players reacting and playing as if it were a live game.
- After each play, take the time to review. Did the fielders move/throw to the correct position? If so – let them know and congratulate them! If not, educate them so that they know for next time.
- After a couple at bats, make sure to rotate runners into the defensive positions and the fielders onto baserunning duties, so that everyone gets a chance to work on their skills.
Baseball is a game where every situation drastically affects strategy and decision making – so give players a chance to practice situations! Before every hit, call out the current situation on the field – 2 outs, bases loaded for example.
Clutch Batting (30 Mins)
- Each batter will be working with a two strike count, so any player that misses or takes a strike is out.
- The coach will pitch to the batter, who will attempt to put the ball in play and get safely to first while the defense tries to make the out.
- Regardless of whether the batter makes it to first safe or not, they will hustle out to left field as depicted in the diagram above, with the rest of the players rotating accordingly and a new batter stepping in from the front of the line.
To keep it fresh and interesting for the kids, you can create a ‘Clutch Batting Champion’! After every kid has hit, have all the batter who safely made it to first go again. Keep going, eliminating batters who don’t make it to first until your crown your champion!