Tips for the On-Deck Circle

By doconnell •  Updated: 08/18/14 •  4 min read

Baseball Coaching Tips for the On-Deck Circle

There is no doubt that a batter goes to work once they step foot in the batter’s box. However, there is some preparation to be done before the at bat during the moments leading up to a plate appearance. Let’s take a look at some Tips for the On-Deck Circle.

Before you start, watch our video on how to prepare for your at-bat in the on-deck circle.

#1 In the Hole

Before going on-deck , a batter is on “double deck” or “in the hole.” While in the hole, the batter needs to start mentally preparing for going out to the on-deck circle. The batter also needs to grab the necessary equipment like bat, helmet and batting gloves.

#2 Stand in the Designated Area

The on-deck batter must remain in the designated on-deck area which is usually marked by an on-deck circle. Wandering away from that injury could cause injury or interference with game play which could negatively impact the game.

#3 Be Alert

The on-deck batter must be alert because they are on the field. Some baseball fields do not have a lot of foul ground area so it is very likely that an on-deck batter may have to move away from a fielder trying to make a play.

#4 Check Equipment

The coaching staff needs to make sure that the batter has the proper equipment in the on-deck circle. This will ensure that the batter will be ready to step into the batter’s box in a timely manner. Also, the coaching staff must be aware of league rules and park rules regarding what is allowed in the on-deck circle. For example, a “weight doughnut” may not be allowed in the on-deck circle.

#5 Self-Talk

A batter may want to use part of the time in the on-deck circle to use self-talk. Self-talk may include positive self-affirmation, game planning, thinking about mechanics, etc. This is good to help ground a player who might be nervous.

#6 Practice Swings/ Loosening Up

The batter will want to take some practice swings and should try to focus on good mechanics. The batter may even want to do some quick upper body stretching to help loosen up. Again this may help with a nervous batter. Stretching can also be done in the dugout prior to going to the on-deck circle.

#7 Study the Pitcher

The batter should be taking a look at the pitcher and getting the timing of his pitches. The batter should be looking at the pitcher’s mechanics and especially release point. The batter should also try to determine how much time a pitcher takes in between pitches. This will help with game planning for the upcoming plate appearance.

#8 Study the Field

The batter should also try to take a look around and see where the fielders are playing. Again, this is for the purpose of game planning. For example, has the third baseman been playing too deep for the game situation? Maybe a surprise bunt would be a good idea.

#9 Home Plate Coach

With runners in scoring position, the on-deck batter should be prepared to direct traffic at the plate. The on-deck batter can let runners know if it is going to be necessary to slide into home or not.

#10 Duration On-Deck

The on-deck circle can be a funny place in terms of time. A batter can be there for what seems like an eternity or can be there for a few seconds. A batter must always keep that in mind and try to make the most of what time they have in the on-deck circle.

Final Thoughts

The on-deck circle is not just a place for the next batter to stand. A batter can use the on-deck circle for mental preparation and game planning. The batter must also be extremely alert because they may need to transition for several reasons in a moment’s notice.

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