Arizona baseball thrives on making practice as game-like as possible. Seeing your players in a game setting is very revealing. It allows you to see which players can play and compete at game speed. Andy Lopez gives you an inside look into his highly structured Game Situations practice, which allows both defense and offense opportunities for players to work on at the same time.
Coach Lopez uses game situations to help build team cohesiveness, as well as reveal which players can play in game-like settings instead of being just "a good practice player." He incorporates drills that encompasses game like situations for both his offensive and defensive players to keep his players sharp and develop "baseball instincts" so they are not caught off guard when it matters most.
This DVD demonstrates the "Lightning Bolt Game" in a live practice setting. The Lightening Bolt Game creates game awareness and provides players the experience to handle game situations.
The game pits an offensive team, broken up into two groups (a group at home plate and one group at first base), versus a defensive team. The group at home plate is working on as many possible offensive situations as possible such hit and runs, sacrifice bunting, etc. The group at first base is working on base running skills, straight steals, going first to third on a hit and run, etc. The defensive team is working live reads off the bat and trying to stop the offense from scoring. He stresses defensively to keep the double play in order. These game situations allow the defense to work on communication and how to react to the live base running.
Putting your players in game situations allows them to challenge themselves and take chances that they might try to make in a game. It then allows them to learn from mistakes and learn for the future. During these team sessions, your coaching staff has control over the situations allowing you to coach during a "game" and focus on the fundamentals. Coaches can stop the scrimmage and correct players in a way that allows the team to learn from it.
Game pressure tends to "rush" players, which causes mistakes. Making your practice sessions more game-like will build up your player's crucial game instincts allowing them to relax and make more plays in actual games.
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