Coaches should come prepared to practice and utilize some of the baseball equipment that is available to them. And there is no shortage of equipment they can use. From baseballs, to batting tees, to bases and bats, utilizing the proper equipment can make your practice as productive as you want it to be.
So if you’re relatively new to coaching, or even if you’ve been doing it for awhile, we thought we’d cover and review some baseball practice equipment that will get you started to having some quality practices.
It should go without saying that you’ll need a batch of baseball to keep everyone active during the practice. Actually, the more balls the better. Make sure you are using the regulation baseballs that your team will be using in the games.
More Info: Buckets of Baseballs
Soft, or reduced impact baseballs, are another option for practice. These balls won’t travel as far but will still have the look, feel and size of a regulation baseball and with the reduced possibility of doing damage or hurting one of your players. Soft baseballs are also ideal for indoor baseball practices.
To help your players practice their swing, it helps to provide batting tees. Rather than always facing live pitching, which is many times ideal, the batting tee is another method coaches can use to evaluate their players swings and get them going at the plate.
More Info: Baseball Tees
Having at least one set of throw-down bases as well as a standalone pitching rubber can help your team run extra drills in the outfield or somewhere apart from the infield, to get some extra work in. Depending on how many parents or coaches are available, you can run some simultaneous drills to get more players involved. With the pitching rubber, look to set up a separate pitching station to work primarily with your pitchers.
Similar to soft baseballs, using some tennis balls to work with younger players can help to eliminate the fear of being hit by hard baseballs. It will also allow them to focus on fundamentals defensively and proper technique without the thought of being injured. Coaches can use these for ground balls or fly balls during a practice.
When using tennis balls, some coaches may want to bring along a tennis racquet for hitting the ground balls and fly balls. This ends up being much easier than trying to hit the tennis ball with a bat. Even if you’re not using tennis balls, an Accubat for hitting grounders and fly balls is also a much more accurate way in which to hit balls during practice right where you want them to go.
For slightly more advanced players, having a Speed Hitter tool is a great way to improve your swing, contact point and mechanics, without actually having to hit a ball. This tool helps players learn to hit the baseball from the inside out and can also work to help improve your bat speed. Players can be working with the Speed Hitter when they are waiting to get their chance to hit.
These balls can be great for working with your hitters on making solid impact as well as their drive through the hitting zone. They are weighted and therefore won’t travel far even when hit solidly. They are extremely sturdy and won’t do damage to aluminum or wood bats.
It’s always good for a coach to have some regular wooden bats on hand for their practices. Players should be comfortable using either a wood or aluminum bat as they proceed through different leagues and age brackets. And to add a little strength training, have a couple of wood bats made from ash. They tend to be a little heavier and can help build strength.
Coaches may also want to work with their team using a synthetic type wiffle ball at times. It’s always a good idea to have some of these in your equipment bag as they may come in handy during a practice session. They are lightweight, can be used in pitching machines and can also be used for close-range batting practice. These balls can also be used with a metal bat and are very durable.