Cold weather has arrived and the season is over. Now is the time to start looking for some fun baseball activities that you can do indoors.
With 4 kids playing baseball over the years, I have always been on the look out for activities that we could do indoors. We live in the mid-west and by the time Thanksgiving comes around, most of our outside baseball practices are usually over for the year. If you have kids, you know how easily they can get bored. The activities we will be talking about are not only great ways to avoid boredom, but they are also good ideas to avoid inactivity and improve your skills over the winter.
Hitting The Batting Cages
One of our favorite things to do during the offseason is going to the batting cages. You can usually find indoor batting cages in your area. A quick Google search should pull up something close by. The thing we like most about the cages (other than the heat!) is the space. After being cooped up for a while, it feels good to be able to hit real baseballs as hard as you can. Just remember to go through your normal stretching routine before you get in there and let it rip. You can usually expect to pay around $20-$30 for an hour, but there should be no “per person” charges, so you can bring the whole gang.
Most indoor batting cage facilities will offer some kind of space for pitching practice as well. This is a great way to keep the throwing arm in shape during the off season. You can also bring a radar gun with you so you keep on top of what pitch grips are working and which are not.
I have found an awesome radar training tool that you can check out by clicking this link ⇒ The Pocket Radar
Some Indoor Baseball Drills
What you can do inside your home will of course be limited by the amount of available space. Even with the smallest amount of room there are plenty of drills that you can do to help stay in shape while also continuing to improve your skills. When (or like we say here, if) spring comes around next year, you will already be far ahead of the game. The names of these drills are nothing official, just what the kids have called them over the years.
Hall Ball: Start out sitting down, with one person on both ends of the hallway. Start by lightly tossing the ball back and forth. If you’re using this as a drill, you should be focusing on proper throwing technique with every throw, such as focusing on your target and following through.
Next, get up to one knee. Roll the the ball to the middle of your partner’s body. While fielding the ball, you should be focusing on keeping your hands down on the floor and your eyes on the ball. Start rolling the ball to the left and right of the person so they have to field on the backhand and forehand sides.
Now from a standing position, go through the same steps you were doing while kneeling. Concentrate on your footwork, going from a fielding position to a good throwing position as quickly as possible.
Try doing these drills without a glove first. These are great drills to teach the player how to field the ball with both hands. After going through a few times, add your glove to the mix and start concentrating on going through the whole exercise in one fluid motion. Field it with both hands, quickly get into a good throwing position and throw a strike to first! Remember guys, we are inside the house… Use a Nerf or tennis ball and clear all obstructions out of the way.
Wall Ball: Wall ball is a great drill that you can do by yourself. You are basically just replacing your partner with a wall. Start out the same way you did with hall ball and work your way through all the same drills. Like any drill you do inside the house, make sure you’re not going to do any damage to the wall or play area you are going to use.
Indoor Batting Practice
If you have the space, setting up a small indoor area to practice batting is a great way to perfect your swing all winter long. You can be as elaborate as you want depending on the amount of space available. We bought a small batting net and a T-ball batting tee and set up a small area in the basement. Set the tee up 3′-4′ away from the net and swing away. The net is suitable for real baseballs, but since we are indoors, we use soft practice balls. You can click on the picture to check out a complete package deal from Amazon.
I do suggest adult supervision during this activity. Wear all your regular gear that you would use during a game. You want your practice sessions to feel as close to normal as possible.
If space is not an issue, you may want to consider setting up your own batting cage with your own pitching machine. You can check out my favorite pitching machine by clicking ⇒⇒⇒ HERE
Maintaining agility and balance is an essential part of playing at your full potential. While you will be limited to the distances you can run indoors, you will still be able to get a good agility/cardio workout in. As with any workout, you should check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise. These are drills we have been doing for years with great results. When spring arrives, you will be miles ahead of the competition.
Start with your normal stretching routine. This is very important before doing any vigorous activity. After you have stretched out, start jogging in place. You can do this as long as you want. Set up 2 cones 10′-15′ apart (further if you have the space). Keep your “quick steps” going as you jog around each cone. When you get to each cone, jog around each one backwards 3 times in circles. Doing this drill is really going to improve your foot work skills.
Now move the cones closer together, about 4′-6′ apart. Start with your right foot against one cone and push off towards the other cone. You are basically jumping from side to side between the cones. Have someone roll a ball at you and practice fielding in the middle of your jumps. This drill is going to greatly improve your side to side movement on the field.
With 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes of jogging in place and around the cones, and 10 minutes of side to side jumping, this is a great 30 minute offseason work out that you can do 3-5 times a week that is really going to improve your agility on the field. Remember, you don’t actually need cones to do these drills, you can use anything you have handy. Next season when the coach says “take a lap”, you can do it with a smile!
These are just a few examples of the indoor baseball activities we have enjoyed over the years. I will come back from time to time and add more ideas. If you have any questions, or an idea you would like to share, please leave a comment below and I will get back with you soon. ~Jeremy
You can check out some great cold weather baseball tips here: Cold Weather Baseball