Fastpitch softball hitting game — High Fives

One of the challenges of teaching fastpitch hitting, either in lessons or in a team setting, is getting some game-like pressure into practice. After all, just about anyone can look good in the cage when they’re relaxed. But when there’s something on the line it can be a whole different ballgame (so to speak).

Tonight I had that situation with a couple of hitters. I wanted to give them a little bit of skin in the game to see how they handled the pressure, and have a little fun while we were at it. So I came up with High Fives.

The rules are pretty basic. You can use a pitching machine, front toss or some other method of delivering the ball. You make the pitch, and if the hitter hits a line drive or strong fly ball she gets a point. If she swings and misses, fouls it off or hits a pop-up or weak grounder she loses a point. A strong ground ball is neutral — it doesn’t gain or lose her a point.

Score is kept in the same manner you use for basic card counting in Blackjack. (Originally I was going to make the game 21, but realized it could take forever to finish.) So if she hits a line drive with the first pitch, it’s +1. A fly ball on the next pitch is +2. A pop-up on the next pitch takes it back to +1 and so forth. You can also go into negative numbers, i,e, -1, -2.

Five is the magic number, which gives the game its name. If the hitter gets to -5 the game is over and she owes you five pushups. On the other hand, if she gets to +5, the game is over and you owe her five pushups. The hitters usually get pretty excited when they win and you have to drop and give them five.

Now, you don’t have to use the same exact scoring system I use. You can adjust it to the types of hits you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re looking for a way to spice up hitting practice give this game a try. Just be sure you’re ready to pay up!

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on February 14, 2012, in Coaching, Hitting, Instruction. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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