Implementing and Executing Situational Batting Practice for Teams

Written By: Donegal Fergus

Situational Batting Practice

Learn from a nationally ranked NCAA Division-1 program on how they execute situational batting practice and the best ways to implement it into your practices.

No matter what level we’re coaching at, we’re all looking for ways to maximize our ability to connect directly with our players and utilize the help we have on hand. Situational batting practice for us is more than your ordinary BP. Every position on the field, whether it's the hitter, pitcher, baserunner or the defense is assigned a specific task they must execute.

Our pitchers need to continue to work on pitch design and command. Hitters need to continue to see as many pitches live as possible. Defenders need reps to hone their technique. Our baserunners must stay sharp with their footwork and rhythm, and EVERYONE needs to keep COMPETING.

As we now enter our two-hour-a-week phase during the fall, this is a go-to drill series for us. Check out how we implement and execute our situational batting practice series:

Click the tabs below to see how each group executes their job in situational batting practice

How Hitters Execute Situational Batting Practice

Hitters can take each pitch individually or their entire allotment of pitches as one AB, depending on their needs. With some guys, we’ll tell them to swing at ALL strikes, while others we may tell them they’re only allowed to swing at a certain pitch/location and to take all pitches that don’t fall into that plan. They are operating independently of the runners and focused solely on executing their plan and training their eyes to recognize pitches and locations. When on-deck they can get where they need to further work timing and vision.

How Pitchers Execute Situational Batting Practice

Pitcher vs. Hitter matchup is center stage, with each pitcher getting his own scripted bullpen from the pitching coach. By mapping out how many pitches exactly that he is going to throw, we can map out exactly how many pitches per plate appearance each hitter will get, as well as layout how many hitters will face each pitcher.

We can create the matchups we want (lefty on lefty, breaking ball specialist vs a guy who struggles with them, etc) and each player knows exactly when his turn is coming and when to rotate. We can be very intentional with our pitching and hitting plans so that each guy gets exactly what he needs.

How Baserunners Execute Situational Batting Practice

Baserunners can be started at any of the bases, with the first base being our most common, as that is typically where we see most runners needing the footwork and timing help. We can place a manager, a defender, or even just a screen at the bag for picks and the runner can rep his vision and feet throughout the whole at-bat.

Depending on the pitcher and his needs, he may or may not be scripting his picks, or even not picking altogether if that’s where his development is at. At second base, we can work timing picks and signs with our middle infielders as well.

How The Defense Execute Situational Batting Practice

Defenders are usually limited to one on the infield and one in the outfield during this phase, but you can expand that as needed. We prefer very small groups or even just individuals so as to maximize the coach to player ratio in the teaching phase, but space, time and coach restraints can alter your own individual plan.

They can take balls off the bat live, but also supplement heavily with machine balls or fungos from a manager or coach or even a teammate if personnel limits call for it.

Situational BP- Your Way

This is ultimately completely customizable for you and your team and personnel, and the beauty of it is its total versatility to create matchups and situations for your player needs/abilities. Hope you enjoy it! If you have questions – don’t hesitate to reach out! Email ferg@ucsb.edu. Go Gauchos!

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