While we all love the game of baseball, sometimes the drills can get dull and monotonous. I like to keep my skills sharp, but also want to have a good time while warming up. I want to be able to do drills and exercises that can be picked up between games, or while waiting for umpires to show up.
I have gathered some of my favorite drills to help you and other players stay limber. No painstaking workouts here, though, just fun drills that engage players that will have everyone energized and ready to play ball.
#1 – The game of pepper
The game of pepper is a baseball drill that has been around for a long time. In fact, there are videos of players using this drill as far back as the 1920s.
In this drill, there is one batter and up to five players in a line in front of the batter. Typically the players stand fifteen feet away from the batter and five feet apart from one another. The batter hits the ball to one of the players. The player catches or fields the ball and tosses it back to the batter. The batter continues to hit the ball out to the players. If one of the players misses a ball or has a bat toss to the batter, they are removed from the lineup. This continues until there is only one player on the field.
This drill keeps fielding skills sharp and warms up players through chasing and tracking where the ball is going to go. It takes quick hand-eye coordination to make sure that you are where you need to be to retrieve the ball.
#2 – Two ball toss game
This game is designed to be a fun drill that helps build communication and teamwork as well as hand-eye coordination. A game like this forms bonds between players and strengthens their ability to rely on one another.
This game involves between five and nine players. One of the players grabs two baseballs while each other player grabs one a piece. The players stand in a circle, only a few feet apart from one another. The player who has two baseballs throws one of his balls to another player. That player must throw the ball he has to a different player before catching the one that was thrown to him.
There are a few ways to get out in this warm up game. The first rule is that you must throw the ball you have before you catch the one thrown to you. If you do not do this, then you are out of the game. Secondly, you have to throw the ball with the same hand you caught it with. If the ball switches hands, you are out of the game as well. Your toss to other players must also be a viable toss. If your throw is uncatchable, it is considered your fault, and you are out. Finally, you are not allowed to move your feet. If you step out of your position, you are out. The last man standing is the winner of the game.
I like this game because it has players focusing on lots of skills and being mindful of their own bodies as well as the movements of their teammates. It is an excellent way to train the brain for baseball.
#3 – Relay Race
If you need to cultivate a competitive spirit and hone in those outfielder skills, a relay race is a perfect solution. In a relay race, you divide your team up into equal groups. I like to have at least four in a group. Have everyone spread out equally in the field and relay a ball all the way to the end and back.
I find that the race aspect of this warm up fires up that competitive spirit. The running and working together warms them up as well as brings a nice teamwork element. I always want my team to be focused on the teamwork and communication.
#4 – Flip
Flip is an interesting take on the game of catch. I like this game because it is a fun and energetic game that has a lot going on at once. In this drill, the team gathers in a circle. Everyone wears gloves, and two of the players start with balls in their glove. These two players start by flipping the ball out of their glove to other players. Those players catch the balls in their throwing hand, then use their glove to continue flipping the ball around the circle. Messing up the flow of the game means you are out, and the last player standing wins.
This game is fun and as the players reduce, the chaos increases. I enjoy seeing the game become more and more frantic as the numbers dwindle and the players have to focus more on the other players’ movements. It builds attention to more than one thing happening, which is important on the field.
#5 – Bunting competition
I like this warm up drill because it can work through some of the mental blocks players can have when bunting. Most players can hammer out a good bunt during batting practice when there is no pressure.
I have noticed that players who have been great at bunting in practice don’t always do well when the pressure is on. To combat this, you can set out markers on the field where a good bunt would go, split the team into groups and have them compete to see which team can hit the most number of good bunts.
This competition puts the pressure on and lets the players get used to bunting when there is something on the line. Hopefully this works for you as well as it has worked for me in overcoming these mental blocks.
I hope you liked this list of exciting and fun drills and games that will help hone in skills and keep your team warmed up. I think keeping these skills practiced and tuned up is important to keep your team well oiled. You can even work out the issues your team has in these drills and improve in these areas. If you have any comments or questions, please comment and let me know what you think.