I would say that the biggest issue at the amateur level is that no one teaches kids to develop a routine. Having a routine is so important to success in baseball because our bodies respond to repetition. In this article I want to break down what a solid batting practice and pre-game routine for a position player. Let’s start off with what a successful batting practice routine looks like.
BP Routine -
I will go through a typical routine. Note that every Coach has a different routine, this is just the format I have seen most in my personal baseball career. The first round of batting practice is generally 8-10 swings. During these first 8-10 swings you should be focusing on seeing the baseball deep and going the other way. The reason we want to get used to seeing the ball deep is to get our eyes accustomed to letting the baseball travel. When we consciously force ourselves to go to the opposite field we naturally wait longer. The key to this first round of batting practice is stay rhythmic and relaxed. Do not get jumpy.
During your second round of batting practice your coach will most likely put in some form of situational hitting. On my teams, we start the second round with three hit and runs. After three successful hit and runs we then go into three swings moving a runner from second to third with less than two outs. These first six swings of the second round should be to the right side of the field on the ground or deep enough for a baserunner to tag up. The final three swings of the second round of batting practice are simulating scoring a runner from third. After this round, you should begin to feel your hands get going and comfortable.
The third and final round of batting practice is where you now can work on anything you want. During this final round you should still be hitting with a purpose. What I mean by “hit with a purpose” is have a plan. For example, pulling home runs, going gap to gap, hitting the ball up the middle, going oppo and moving a runner over are all plans you can use for your third round.
Pre-Game Routine -
The pre-game routine is the one I find amateur players have the most trouble with. The purpose of a pre-game routine is to get ready for todays game. The first thing I tell all my players about a successful pre-game routine is to allow yourself ample time to do individual stretches. Execute your personal stretches before you do anything else. Everyone’s body is different, some guys may need more time than others. Your stretching routine should not change to allow your body to become accustomed to your plan.
After you are done stretching, guys have a variety of things they do next to prepare. Some choose to hit until they cannot feel their hands and others sit down on the bench until game time. You can choose to do whatever you want during this time, but one thing I will say is that the guy who is sitting on the bench relaxing before the game usually won’t be playing baseball much longer. Find something during this time to keep you engaged. Pepper or classic games like flip are a good way to stay in a baseball mentality during this pre-game down time.