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Monday, September 12, 2011

Baseball Coaching Digest - The Magic of the 10 Minute Baseball Drill

Baseball Coaching Digest - The Magic of the 10 Minute Baseball Drill
By guest author: Nick Dixon

One of the main reasons some kids refuse to play baseball is that baseball practice is too boring. One thing that makes it so boring is that many coaches run certain drills too long and do not break their practices into short times periods.

This article discusses the "magic of the 10 Minute Baseball Drill" and why many coaches use short time periods and drill variety to minimize boredom during baseball practice.

Why the 10 Minute Baseball Drill is Needed?

Baseball coaches and players are notorious for having short attention spans.

I have learned that I must keep our baseball drills short for two reasons. The first reason is that some of my players have short attention spans and after 10 or 15 minutes they lose interest and become bored. The second reason is that I have a short attention span and I too get bored with a drill that runs on and on without a break or change in activity.

What makes a 10 Minute Drill in Baseball a perfect drill?

I feel that three things make the 10 Minutes the perfect amount of time for a baseball drill:

1. The drill can be performed with total concentration. The kids have no trouble staying on task or focused for 10 minutes. The retention of mental skills also increases when the drill is interesting and action driven.

2. The short drill emphasizes quality not quantity. Our kids know and value the worth of a rep well done. They know when a drill has run too long. They know when a drill's value begins to diminish. They know that I would rather that they practice a skill for 10 minutes with a high level of performance quality and a true sense of urgency for rep success.

3. Total focus - Kids are more motivated to hustle, concentrate and perform a task when they know that the task will be limited to 10 minutes if the effort is adequate and the performance level is acceptable.

4. High Level of Excitement - Players of all ages can get excited about any drill or task if it is presented correctly. Coaches should show a high level of interest and excitement. A strong emphasis on why a drill is done will add to players understanding and raise their interest level.

The 4 Keys to running an effective 10 Minute Baseball drill:

1. Organization is vital to the success of the drill. It is a must to have a written practice schedule with time slots designated and allocated for each drill to be done that day. Each coach on the staff should have a copy of that schedule.

2. Player instruction in the details of the drill is important. The first time that you do it, you may have to spend a considerable amount of time explaining, demonstrating, and setting the drill up. After the first time, the players should get more and more efficient and comfortable with the drill and be able to get a lot of reps in the allotted 10 minutes.

3. Equipment must be ready to go. There can be no time used to set-up equipment or move machines, nets, and such. It is recommended that all needed equipment be prepared and arranged before practice or by other staff while the previous drill is being done elsewhere.

4. Get in a Routine - It is a good thing to establish a regular practice routine that you follow each day. You should always start with s stretch and warm-up period that is routine. Then everyday you should follow the same basic scrip as to the subject and direction of your practice. For example, you may wish to start with 2 offensive drills, and then do 2 defensive drills and alternate then until you have covered everything you have in the practice plan for that day.

At our daily practice, after warm-ups and stretches, the first thing that is done is a catchers/infielders drill that allows catchers to throw to the bases and infielders to practice catching and tags. Then we normally go into PFPs or Practice Fielding Practice. My point here is that we follow a routine that the kids know. They start each drill on their own and flow from drill to drill without wasting time.

We normally end our practice every day with one of about 4 bunting drills we use. That drill is intense and it is 10 minutes like all of our other drills.

In closing, let me make one point absolutely clear. I will deviate from the 10 minute drill schedule if the drill is sloppy or poorly done. If I have to, I will restart the clock, and make the team start the drill over. If I have to run a drill twice to get the level of performance that I expect, I will. The number focus in every drill is quality. That quality includes performing every rep at an acceptable level or standard. My kids know that I do and will start a drill, or even a practice over, if things are done poorly, sloppy, and without the right focus or energy level.

I hope that you found this article to be informative and helpful. You may find many other articles like it at Baseball Coaching Digest and the Baseball Coaching Digest Blog. Thanks for reading my articles. Have a great day, Nick.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick