Baseball is much easier to practice when you have a bunch of guys, but it is possible for you to get in some good practice even when you’re alone.
The Covid-19 Coronavirus is keeping baseball players away from each other, but you can still get some work in if you really want to.
Batting Tee Work
Tee work is essential for any hitter who wants to work on their swing without having to worry about specific pitches.
Freddy Freeman, the Atlanta Braves All-Star first baseman, talks about his approach in the video below.
The thing to remember about all practice is that you should have something you’re working on. Just swinging a lot and hitting a ball is fun, but it’s not really practice. If you aren’t sure what to practice, our friends at Baseball Rebellion have a nice article on directional hitting and hitting to all fields with power off the tee.
Need a good batting tee? Get the Tanner Tee over at Amazon, it’s the original and the best.
The advantage of spending a little more for a better tee is that it will last longer. You are whipping a wooden stick at a piece of rubber as hard as you can over and over, it’s not the right time to skimp.
If you don’t want to chase the baseballs, you can also invest in a net. Much like the tee, it’s worth getting a good one rather than just the cheapest. I would also recommend a bigger one (7 feet) rather than a smaller one.
PowerNet makes a hitting net that is both big and easy to set-up and break-down.
Solo Pitching Practice
The best practice for a pitcher involves a catcher, but that isn’t always available even in the best of times. The second best is throwing to a well defined target.
Different targets will give pitchers different skills. One of the most widely used targets is a big, heavy, 9-square-target that allows pitchers to try to hit their spots called the Pitcher’s Pocket.
If you don’t have $300 laying around or don’t feel like lugging a big piece of equipment every time you go to the field, there is an old-school solution.
You can also make your own mobile strike zone out of PVC pipes or something else and focus in like a laser. The important part is using the time to perfect your movements and get yourself in a groove.
Throw on a schedule, and don’t overdo it. Practice should be preparing you for game day, not wearing you out.
Fielding and Throwing
Fielding and throwing practice combines some of the pitching ideas from above. If you can find a wall, you can take endless groundballs and throw the proper distance for your position.
Personally, I love using a standard lacrosse ball because they’re indestructible, bounce like crazy and almost the same size as a baseball.
A standard lacrosse ball is between 5 and 5.5 ounces, a regulation baseball is between 5 and 5.25 ounces. The diameter of a lacrosse ball is between 2.46 and 2.55 inches while a baseball’s diameter is slightly larger, 2.87 to 3 inches.
When you field your endless ground balls, you can also use a piece of chalk to draw a box on the wall where your throws should hit.
Running the Bases
This is as simple as it gets. There’s a lot of running in baseball. You can get better at running the bases by practicing actually running the bases and thinking about your path.
For any ground ball, it’s simple, put your head down and run as hard as you can to first base. Practice swinging a bat at home and then running to first as efficiently as possible.
In case you’re wondering, if you can get your time down to under 4 seconds to first, you’ll be among the fastest runners in baseball. Amazingly, Ichiro Suzuki was still busting down to first in 3.98 seconds at 41 years old!
Base hits are a different path. If you hit a smooth line drive over the infield, you will add more arc onto your run to first to prepare for a more efficient line to second base (if possible). Practice that path and make sure to leverage the inside corner of first base to help you make the turn toward second.
A hit into the outfield that has a chance to get in the gap is a possible triple, now you have to use your doubles path, while also preparing for a final sprint into third base. This path will not be such a straight line into second base (like a line drive single/double) but will have more arc between first and second to prep for the third leg of the journey.
Inside the Park Homerun
If you’re fast, or hit the ball into a place where there’s the possibility of getting all the way around the bases it’s yet another path. To be honest, this is so rare I’m not sure you need to practice it much.
The diagrams are interesting none the less. If you need to know all the mathematical stuff, you can find more at the Mathematical Intelligencer.
Excuses for Not Practicing
Your busy, you don’t have the right glove, you can’t find a field, you don’t have any money… I know there are a million excuses. The kids in the Dominican Republic think you’re full of baloney.