Baseball Tips - 20 Minutes And Out
By Chico Reese

Baseball Tips

These baseball tips can maybe help you think of ways to keep your baseball training and drills productive in the off-season.

This is especially important for catchers who may have just put in a very long summer season behind the plate. Catchers have a greater number of skills that they need to practice compared to other players on the team. This can be a problem if there is a long layoff between the end of the summer season and the beginning of the High School season. The catchers now have to do a lot of training in a short time to get sharp on the throwing, blocking and footwork skills that catching requires.

It's never too early to start the catching training and drills. The trick is trying to keep a young mind and body motivated for most of the year if this is their only sport. The summer season for our team was long last year. It went right into fall ball. Some of the guys also started a conditioning program. There was not a lot of spare time left for our catchers to practice what they needed to and when I did start with them, there was a quick sense of general fatigue and I could tell the guys were "just not into it". I couldn't blame them.

I initially started getting some of the catchers' time after their conditioning, batting, tee work, etc. Bad news. I next tried to find some time for just catching drills and bats. But with their busy schedule, an hour here and there still was too much. I'd hear stuff like, "You said it would only take a little bit last time and we were still there almost an hour." This in itself was the problem.

Here is the baseball tip for this article…I call this little idea, or training method, "20 Minutes And Out." I used it for catchers but obviously you can adapt the idea to anyone. The whole thing is strictly psychological, and it worked great! All I did was set a time limit…I just picked 20 minutes because I knew that I could get a ton of footwork reps done in 20 minutes. I'd only work one catcher on any given day or night and work only one type of drill in that training session, whether it was some type of footwork, blocking receiving or throwing.

I'd tell them something like, "Look, meet me at the training center and we'll do footwork only, and only for 20 minutes. Guaranteed. Twenty minutes and we're out of there. The thing is, you gotta work hard, be focused, no messing around and we'll get some good work in and leave."

Well at first, some of the catchers didn't believe me. But I did this, stuck to it and the results were great.

Sometimes they didn't even realize how fast 20 minutes would go. They'd be ready to do some more and I'd say, "Five more good ones, and we're done." And sure enough, we'd leave…no matter what. That's the key. Promise 20 minutes and get out. If they think they want to stay longer, don't. Tell them you have things to do.

Here's what I see happened and why I think it worked so well.

  • The time limit guaranteed an ending, always. That's big to teenagers.
  • As soon as the catcher saw me sticking to the 20 minute rule, he believed that he would truly be done soon and not only didn't mind going and doing the drills, he actually looked forward to it…all because he knew that it wouldn't drag out.
  • Since the time limit was relatively small, a catcher would really work hard in those 20 minutes and because of the "believable" guarantee he really didn't mind.

The end results were great because of the focusing on one drill each session. It was always a pretty good, intense workout and yet it wouldn't kill them. One catcher in particular improved his footwork tremendously because that's what we'd do each time. Tons and tons of reps for 20 minutes a shot. He really worked hard and got into it. Consequently, his throwing improved a great deal also.

Think about these baseball tips, try something like this and see what happens. This will make the short workout more enjoyable and at the same time you'll get a lot done. And it's all because of the "20 Minutes and Out", really. It's all psychological. Stick to the 20 minutes, no matter what. You'll be amazed how your players respond and what they can get done. You'll appreciate the short workouts too!

Chico Reese has been closely involved in youth baseball, softball and High School Baseball over the last twelve years and enjoys working with young catchers.

For excellent Catching instruction, drills, training and other valuable baseball tips, consider the following sources:

Catchers Instruction, Training and Tips

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