Why Practice Baseball Fundamentals
To the naked eye, baseball is not all that complex. You “catch the ball,” “throw the ball,” and “hit the ball.” Not all that difficult, until you start to play the game. It is then that you realize you are constantly “learning,” but never achieving perfection. The more you practice, the more you improve, and the more you improve the more you realize there is so much more to learn. One never achieves perfection. That is why we continually practice the simple things in this game. Normally it’s not the trick play, or the great play that makes the difference; it’s the routine play that puts the game in the win column.
-Did the pitcher cover first on a ball to the right?
-Did the infielder take a step to the right to set up for an accurate throw?
-Did the batter put the ball in play, even with two strikes?
-Did the batter move the runner over even if making an out?
-Did the batter get the bunt down to advance the runner?
The list of routine fundamentals is endless, yet the routine plays should be made nearly every time. Yet, that won’t happen unless they are practiced over and over. If you watch a major league game, where the players are considered the best in the world, you will see these plays often screwed up.
Here’s an example: One of the jobs of the catcher is to remind the pitcher to cover first on a every ground ball to the right side. Simple, right? Pitchers, often pitching since Little League, mess this play up more times than one can count. This simple play that’s practiced endlessly in spring training, as well as during the season, is messed up nearly every night.
The key is to be mentally and physically prepared to play the game. Before a play happens, one has to know all the possible options. Ask yourself before each play what could happen, and what would I have to do to make the play turn out right? Practice the routine fundamentals so they become natural. Only then is the brain ready to make that split second decision. If one stops to think, it is too late.
Take the fundamentals seriously during practice thus giving you the best chance to succeed.
Sure, mistakes will still happen, but less often with more repetition. Remember, practice makes better, not perfect.
Until next time,