How many times do we as coaches call for a practice and meet the team at the field, only to find one team practicing and two other teams waiting to practice?
When I first started coaching, this dilemma always seemed to happen to me. I would feel sort of helpless, and once even took everyone to another field with my two coaches only to find the same situation there.
I made up my mind to be prepared and plan two practices. One for a field and one without a field. The biggest difference is having a few soft covered balls available and some planned drills for a hard service.
When there is no field available our practices are usually in a parking lot. There are certain things you can and cannot do. Obviously no sliding. Regular batting practice with even soft covered balls is difficult in a parking lot.
You can set up some great bunting competition games. We would divide the team in half, set up two cones, and each team goes through the batting order and sees how many can bunt between the cones.
The main idea is to be creative. You can have a lot of different base running drills and throwing drills. Some of my best practices have taken place in parking lots and backyards.
Don’t call off practice just because someone is using the field. Come prepared and have a few extra props.
Marty Schupak is an active member of the American Baseball Coaches Association. He founded the Youth Sports Club, which is devoted solely to the improvement of youth sports, and his instructional videos on youth baseball are recommended by the National Alliance of Youth Sports, the largest amateur coaching training organization in the country. Schupak has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University and his youth baseball teams have won championships year after year.