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5 Things To Help Maximize Practice Time

Written By: Eric Tyler

5 Ways to Maximize Practice Time

Do you feel like you’re getting the most out of your practice time? Sure you may be hitting for an hour every day but are you positioning yourself to transfer that time into real game success? This article covers 5 ways to maximize practice time.

The ugly fact of baseball training is if your work in training doesn’t translate into game results, adjustments must be made. For players with a real desire to play the game at a high level, the amount of training they put in is almost never the issue in their development. However, how efficient their work is typically the suspect. 

So what do you need to know as the player, coach, or parent to ensure the most efficient and transferable training that can maximize practice time?

What to Know About Maximizing Practice Time

In a sport such as baseball, an athlete will train and practice more than they play. At least they should (we’re looking at you 10u travel ball team that plays 120 games a year). However, the practice to game ratio isn’t that of say football who practices all year for 12-16 games. This makes our practice time that much more important.

Not only do we want to make sure we get enough reps in to create good habits, but we also want to make sure those reps are quality enough to get something out of it. As a parent, you don’t want to watch your son or daughter bust their butt for 7 months by hitting off the tee Every. Single. Day. for those results not to show up at game time.

So what do you need to know to make sure your athlete is getting the most out of their training? The athlete having a clear awareness of their swing and who they are as a player can play a major role in their development. Here are 5 things both the parent and player should know about themselves before training.

5 Ways To Maximize Practice Time

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What Type of Player Do You Want to Be?
What Type of Player Do You Want to Be?
  • Growing up in an era where I was able to watch Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGuire try to knock down the moon every night was quite awesome.
  • It also made me want to be that. I emulated that in the back yard everyday just as I’m sure everyone reading this article did for their favorite players. 
  • However, as a 5’7 185lb high school sophomore I had to quickly realize my and Barry probably would have the same game.
  • Don’t get me wrong I still tried to hit for power but there was an understanding of who I was. (*closes yearbook) What type of player you WANT to be is very different than who you are now.
  • There is a difference in having awareness for who you are and crushing the dreams of an 8-year-old. If you’re telling a player under 12 that they have to change their game because of their size, get a life.
  • Train for who you want to be in the future not who you are now. With that being said, as the player gets older the type of player they are may change. 
What Makes You the Most Valuable to Your Team?
  • If we want our training to translate to games at the highest level, we have to understand our desired results in a game.
  • In other words, what makes you the most productive and valuable to your team. Is it your job to get on base? Is it your job to drive in runs? Is it your job to be prepared to do both? What game result makes you the most valuable?
  • Once there is an understanding of what that is, there becomes a clear goal for training.
  • Now, instead of mindless swings into a net, the thought becomes how many doubles can I hit in the oppo gap today.
  • The more specific the training, the more it translates. Whatever your role may be, allow that to shape your training.
What Are Your Strengths?

What Are Your Strengths?

  • I am constantly amazed by how few hitters can answer this question. What makes you a good hitter?
  • They usually stumble around 3 or 4 different things before coming to the conclusion that they usually make contact.
  • Contact. Literally the only nice thing they can say about themselves is that they make contact.
  • On the flip side, when we get to weaknesses the hitter and parent tag team to quote a list as long as a Walgreens receipt.
  • Knowing what makes you good or you do well as a hitter is important to how you train.
  • Confidence is key and without knowing what you’re good at, you don’t have anything to go back to when training gets hard and you feel like crap.
  • At the same time, we’re not going to spend 90% of studying for a test on material we know already.
  • So if you’re spending 90% of your practice time on what you’re good at already, are you really getting better or just building up that ego to get let down when the games come?
What Do You Suck At?
  • Simple enough. Understanding what you need to get better at is one thing, knowing how to improve it is another.
  • This requires care, resources, and time. Do you care enough to find the resources needed and put in the time to improve your weaknesses?
How Well Do You Know Your Swing?
How Well Do You Know Your Swing
  • Can you explain to me your swing? I mean really explain it past see the ball and hit it.
  • Do you know what your swing feels like when it’s off? Better yet, do you know how to fix it?
  • Every hitter is going to make mistakes, the best hitters correct the quickest. Part of correcting mistakes whether in movements or approach is understanding yourself as a hitter. What cues or thoughts make you do what.
  • A perfect example is a swing-up vs. swing-down argument. Both parties are trying to create line drives in the gaps. But, some people need to think down and some need to think up.
  • Do you know what you have to think to produce the desired result? Not what you want to think or what’s cool to think or what Billy the best hitter on your team thinks.
  • But what you think to achieve the desired results. Knowing yourself and what makes you tick makes training so much more efficient.

Stop Wasting Time

Players don’t mind putting in work that they know is going to make them better. Players mind putting in the time to something they know doesn’t matter. Maximize practice time!

This is in the practice set up not the actual amount of people at practice. Small group training can be unbelievably valuable for a player. As long as their program and what they are working on is designed for them specifically.

Understand who you are as a player and who you want to become to get the most out of your practice.

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