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2 Strategy Quizzes You Should Try

By: Cindy Bristow

Have you ever watched your team seem totally clueless on plays, or you have that one particular player that never knows where to throw the ball? Then you’ll want to start using both of these strategy quizzes.


If you think your team is the only one that’s clueless then you might be surprised to learn that even the NFL has to practice simple “what should you do now?” quizzes. Check out 2 ways to really help your players know what plays they should be making, and when.

Recently, HBO aired a documentary, Hard Knocks, on New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most successful coaches in NFL history, and within the first few minutes you can see him quizzing his players at training camp on game situations. He gathers them together and starts asking them “3rd and long from the 40, what do you do?”, “1st and 10 from the 15”, etc. You can hear him tell an assistant coach that Brady might know what to do on the play and Welker might know what to do on the play but they need to make sure they know the same thing! While I missed the show’s original airtime, thanks to coach Toby Miller I was able to catch A Football Life Bill Belichick on YouTube.

These are professional football players and yet Belichick feels the need to constantly quiz them. That’s a great lesson for all of us. Too often I think that coaches assume their players know what they should do in a given situation when in fact, the results often show otherwise.

So if this sounds like something that might work for your team, then here are 2 simple quizzes you can use:

  1. Pop Quiz – This type of strategy quiz is just what it says, you simply stop practice at any point and throw out a situation – either offensive or defensive – and pick a player to answer it. If you pick an offensive situation that involves a baserunner (or runners) then pick a person to tell you what the batter needs to do and a person or persons to tell you what the runners need to do. Get the answer right and 1 less sprint for those players (or something like that).
  2. Practice Softball Strategy with pop quizes

  3. Pressure Ball – I got this one from a good friend of mine – Paula McGovern – who coaches Australia’s 18U Women’s National Team. Paula came up with something she calls Pressure Ball that involves a multi-sided dice-looking thing that’s made of foam and has a number on every side (picture 1). To coincide with each number she has an Offensive and a Defensive print out sheet that contains as many different situations as there are numbers on the foam dice (picture 2). NOTE – you can list whatever plays you want to list. The quantity and the difficulty should match the skill level of your team.
    Practice Softball Strategy with pop quizes on softball strategy questions
    She splits her team up into two teams, with one team rolling the dice and trying to successfully execute whatever play they roll while the other team tries to stop them. She will switch between using the Offensive and Defensive Play Cards and will do it for about 10-15 minutes, tops. The team who executes the most number of successful plays – wins! Her players really love playing this game as it makes them think and execute in a way that’s unique and different.

While both of these examples show different ways you can involve strategy in your practices feel free to develop your own methods. If you have one, please share it with all of us by commenting below. The key isn’t that you have to use one of these two examples but that you need to do some kind of strategy-type exercise every practice with your players so that you know what they know, and they know what they should know!

For more help with this topic check out the following:

10 Comments »

  1. Can you send me a clear copy of the photo above to see the situations listed above. Thanks.

    Comment by Dan Lombardo — October 4, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  2. could you also send me a clesr copy of the photo above to see the situations listed. thanks what percentage of first strike pitches get hit?and what percentage of strike outs are not in the strike zone?

    Comment by david — October 16, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  3. Would like any list of any defensive and offensive plays and where they bought the big dices this would be great fun for the team

    Comment by Dan Warczok — October 17, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  4. We do not sell the mult-sided dice, but here are some links to sites that you might be able to pick them up from:

    http://www.athleticstuff.com/Everrich/20-Sided-Numbered-Foam-Dice/EVM0018/13850/Product
    http://www.primosportsandgames.com/store/1896090/product/PS672P-3
    http://www.bigfitness.com/ps672p.html
    http://www.amazon.com/Game-Toys-Foam-Green-Hard/dp/B0030MLO1O/ref=sr_1_55?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1318872374&sr=1-55

    Comment by Cindy Bristow — October 18, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

  5. Could you email me a situation list also?

    Comment by Aaron Willard — October 25, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  6. Lots of you wondered if we could post a clearer picture of the strategy card used during Pressure Ball, and unfortunately, that’s the best picture I have. But, I’ve recreated the card here and hopefully this picture is clearer for you. Keep in mind that you can use ANY situations that you want or feel your team needs help with. The ones listed here are mere suggestions so feel free to create your own.

    Fastpitch Softball Strategy Situation Card Examples

    Comment by Cindy Bristow — October 30, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  7. Controlled or Live Scrimmage: again, lots of questions about how the drill was played. When I was in Australia watching Paula run this drill she would switch how she’d do the strategy quizzes between controlled scrimmages and live scrimmages using pitchers. Here’s how I’ve seen her do both:

    Controlled scrimmage:

    • Batter rolls the dice to determine the situation
    • Runners then go to whatever base/s the number lands on (based on the corresponding situation card)
    • The batter then hits the ball off a Batting T placed at a different location and height from the previous hitter
    • She also will alternate with side-toss and then progress to front toss behind a small screen

    Live scrimmages:

    • Same setup as above regarding batter and runner/s and situation
    • Pitcher on defense throwing actual pitches
    • Pitchers will vary their counts based on the count of the situation selected. If the situation has now count listed then counts would be chosen ahead of time for an entire round: 1-1, 2-2, 1-2, 2-1
    • Batters will start with the count listed on the card or else the count of the current round and ALL pitchers will throw to each batter, but only 1 pitch each, and the next pitcher inherits the count from the previous pitcher and cannot throw the same pitch that the previous pitcher threw. This is much harder and turns the whole drill into a mini-pitching drill of its own.

    Comment by Cindy Bristow — October 30, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  8. I found the polyhedera (20 sided) dice at my local teachers supply store and for much less.

    Comment by Jim Henry — November 1, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  9. Great resourse Jim! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Comment by Cindy Bristow — November 1, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  10. Also try downloading a simple dice roller application for your Iphone or tablet. It works just as well, and its free.

    Comment by Lee — February 19, 2013 @ 7:56 am

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