Good, fundamental baseball requires the use of situational hitting. For instance, with a runner on second, you want to put the ball into right field - a deep fly ball allows the runner to tag and advance, and even a base hit gives your team a good chance to score. In a hit and run, you want to put the ball on the ground; a line drive can easily result in your runner being doubled off the bag.
Chances are, however, that many of your players have no idea how to place their hits - they are happy just putting the ball in play, and may not have any idea about how to control the ball. So what can you do? Reach back into the past, and bring a tried and true drill into your practices - pepper!
To begin, line up four or five players in a straight line, twenty to thirty feet in front of a single batter.
The fielder at the far right end of the line throws a baseball to the hitter, who then hits it softly back on the ground to the next fielder in line. The goal is to hit the ball directly to the intended fielder. If a fielder commits an error, he must move to the far left end of the line.
The drill continues on down the line. After ten or twelve hits, the batter grabs his glove and moves to the left end of the line, with the fielder on the far right taking over as the new hitter.
A word of advice: pepper is not appropriate for younger players; they don't yet have the fine control or reaction times necessary to properly execute the drill. In the right situation, however, pepper can really help your players work on their batting control - and thus, improve their situational hitting.
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