Play at Plate

This is a chapter from my newest book 1-Pitch Warrior: 101 Tools – Equipped for Excellence getting ready for production as we speak. Should be ready for purchase early October. The book is dedicated to a wide variety of topics beyond just the mental game. There will undoubtedly be something for everyone to learn in it. 101 tips, topics, to win the day and be excellent!

This is a situational drill we would use at the end of practice to work both offense and defense. We would have a full defense, a hitter at the plate, and a coach doing the pitching. The coach will start every hitter off with a 1-1 count and will mix up pitches.

What we are trying to create is an opportunity to work on cutting runners down at the plate. To do this we always start with runners at second and third. We play the infield in and the outfield somewhat shallow as if it was a point in the game we had to get the out at home or the game would be over. The runner at third is reading down angle and breaking on contact if they see it. Not normally how we might play it on the bases but to create pressure on our defense we will go every time during this drill.

Groundballs to our infield means they are throwing home and catcher is working on make tags or rundowns sometimes occur here too. Which is good because then it has the chance to be a two-runner situation, which can be tricky during a rundown. If the runner at second keeps coming to third as the catcher is running the guy at third back the bag. Everyone does it differently but definitely can be a mass chaos type of thing that your team needs to learn how to handle.

If it were a base hit to the outfield then the outfielders are throwing home also to try to get the runner coming from second. We send the runner from second every time. Again, not our game strategy but pressure is what we want for the defense to have to make plays. Forces them to make good throws every time. We don’t play it as a do or die so the infielders can cut the throw to get an out somewhere else during the first round.

If there is a fly ball to the outfield we are tagging at third every time also. The only times there are not plays at the plate are fly balls on the infield or a double, triple, or homerun. In the event of a double or triple we play it live working cut-offs to that base.

We get the hitters through three times; this is what the rounds look like for the defense:

1)   Infield in, Outfield straight up

2)   Infield regular depth, Outfield straight up

3)   Infield in, Outfield in, Game winners, doubles, triples, homeruns are not played out on the bases

Add this to your bag of practice techniques to mix it up with your team. Once a week it might be a nice thing to use. As it is heavy on throwing for your outfielders it may not be one of those things you do everyday. Stay focused on the process, winning pitches in the present, and dominating your days as a 1-Pitch Warrior.

Reminder: Stay on the look out for my next book: 1-Pitch Warrior: 101 Tools – Equipped for Excellence due out in October!


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  • Clay

    Another variation to this is to have a coach use soft toss instead of pitching live to them. I know that if there are only 2 coaches this works better because it takes the variable of strikes out of the equation and allows them to do more coaching. I have also done it with tees and gave the hitters “points” for ground balls away from the corners or wherever you want them to hit it. It really forces them to work on their swings with RISP and helps them to know what pitches to look for when in that situation live. GREAT STUFF BRO!!

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