Archive for Baseball Drills
BASEBALL DRILL – “Reaction Throwing”
BEHIND THE DRILL: Players of all age must learn to make decisions quickly when they catch the ball. Young players have a difficult time getting the ball out of the glove and knowing where to throw it in advance.
SKILL LEVEL: Basic to Intermediate
DRILL TYPE: Throwing
PURPOSE: This drill will develop hand eye coordination while improving a players reaction time.
EQUIPMENT: 2 Tennis balls for young players, 2 Baseballs for older players and gloves
PLAYERS: 5-6 minimum but usually worked with entire team.
TIME: 10 minutes
- Line up your players on a straight line about 3 feet apart. We usually use one of the outfield foul lines and have the players face into the outfield.
- The player closest to the infield steps out in front of the group and turns and faces them. This player should be about 15 feet in front of them and standing in the middle of the line. This player is called being in the hot seat.
- The hot seat player has one ball.
- The player at the end of the line closest to the infield has the other ball.
- On the coaches command to “throw” the hot seat player throws the ball to the second player in the line as the first person in the line throws the ball to the hot seat player.
- The players continue to throw the ball just like this all the way down the line and then back again. Once the ball is back to the original two players that round is over.
- The hot seat player goes to the end of the line, furthest from the infield and the player closest to the infield goes to the hot seat position.
- Repeat this until all players have participated.
- If you have a large team, break them up into two groups.
KEY COACHING POINTS:
- The drill is about reaction and thinking quickly. Players have to know where they are throwing the ball ahead of time and look to receive the ball from another player quickly.
- Use tennis balls, especially for young players and make sure the players are not throwing the ball to hard. The throwing should take a nice even pace.
- Work the drill your entire season and notice how much improvement you see in the player’s reaction time and judgment.
- While fundamentals is important this drill is less about correct throwing mechanics as it is about developing good reaction time, hand-eye coordination and judgment.
Coaching Baseball Words of Wisdom
If you are reading this post I’m sure it’s because you want to do the best job you can for you own child or others you remain responsible for. I want you to know that you can be a great coach if you put in the time necessary to become one. It is also not necessary to have played this game at a high level to be a great coach either. Some of the best baseball coaches at the Major League level did not play the game at a high level.
Coaching baseball can be fun and rewarding, but it won’t be easy to be a great coach. If you do it correctly the memories for your children will last a lifetime and you will create memories that are priceless for others.
Here are a few suggestions for those coaching baseball this season:
- Make the commitment to learn the game. You need to read and attend as many baseball clinics as possible.
- If you are coaching at the Youth Level get certified by all of the great organizations out there. Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, AAU and NAYS all offer baseball coaching certification. Learning just one thing from each will be well worth the price.
- Learn the rules of your league and follow them from day one. Make sure your parents and players know the rules you will be playing by.
- Teach your players basic mechanics for hitting, fielding and running. Have them teach it back to you depending on the age of your children, as this will help them learn the terminology better.
- Communication and Organization are keys to success. Make sure you do both.
- Create a parents letter from day one and make sure they understand what you expect.
- From your own experience become a problem solver to your players. You need to develop an ability to know what they are doing wrong and work to resolve.
- Young players are very inconsistent so you can’t start changing things right away. Be patient and keep drilling the fundamentals. Things will usually take shape.
- Remember to use what I call a compliment sandwich when you deal with correcting player’s skills. Basically tell them here is what they are doing well, after that tell them what they are doing wrong and finally tell them how much they have improved. This will ensure you stay positive.
- Tell the parents to not yell instructions through the fence or from the stands. Make sure they understand the players are yours when they enter the field. Trust me on this; you don’t want the overly competitive parent yelling instructions to his son. It will be a distraction to him and the other players all season long.
- Teach you players how to win. I know we live in a time where a lot of people think everyone should win and scores shouldn’t be kept. From the bottom of my heart I truly believe we are just setting our children up to think everything should just come to them. Our children will compete for college admissions, will compete for their first job and will compete for a promotion at work. Teach them how to compete at an early age.
- When I say teach them to win, I don’t mean at all costs. Keep things fun and entertaining for everyone but let them feel the difference in winning and losing. You will build fine, mature young people if you do it right.
Make coaching baseball fun and you will truely enjoy the experience.
BEHIND THE DRILL: Balance plays a key role in a pitcher’s accuracy and how effective he can be. When a pitcher completes the leg lift it’s important for him to remain balanced before pressing the foot and entering the stride..
SKILL LEVEL: All Levels
DRILL TYPE: Throwing/Pitching
PURPOSE: This drill is designed to help a pitcher develop good balance during the leg lift.
EQUIPMENT: Nothing specifically required
PLAYERS: Any number of players
TIME: 10 minutes
- Either use the pitching rubber or drop down pitchers mound. You could also line the players up on a foul line.
- Have your players set up from the stretch.
- On coaches command the player is to begin his “leg lift”.
- The knee should go straight up and once raised the toes should be pointing downward toward the ground.
- The pitcher should make what is called the power-turn by rotating slightly away from the target as the knee comes up.
- Have them hold that position for 10 seconds.
- Then press the foot back down to starting position.
- Repeat this for 15-20 repetitions.
KEY COACHING POINTS:
- This is about developing balance so work the drill very slowly.
- If you have players that cannot hold the position for 10 seconds you will need to have a coach or parent hold them up in the correct position.
- This is about developing muscle memory in the players. It requires a lot of repetitions.
- Most young players will not point the toes toward the ground so make sure you move their toes to the correct position so they can feel it.
- You also must make sure they are completing the power turn by rotating slightly away from the target. This is crucial for developing good velocity when the player moves toward the plate with the ball.
1) You are the right fielder and a routine ground ball is hit toward the first baseman. What, if anything, do you need to do?
A. Shout encouragement to the first baseman because you know that will give him confidence
B. It depends on what inning it is and the score
C. Since it is a routine ground ball, you don’t have to do anything
D. Assume t hat the first baseman will miss the ball and come in to back him up – ALWAYS assume the fielder will miss the ball and be in position to have him backed up if it happens.
2) It is more important for the infielders to know the score, inning, number of outs, and where the runners are, since they get so many more balls hit to them then the outfielders get.
3) You block a ground ball and it is stopped in front of you. Make sure that you pick the ball up with your glove, because if you use your bare hand you will probably drop it.
4) You must always tag up on a fly ball.
5) What is an error?
6) If the coach plays you in a position you do not want, you should
B. Refuse to play
C. Think that the coach does not like you
D. Play your hardest for the sake of the team
7) You hit a fly ball to the outfield with two outs, you should
A. Go about ten feet and see if the ball is caught
B. Get back to the base and tag up
C. Run as soon as the ball is hit
D. It depends on what inning it is and the score
8) When fielding ground balls you should move slightly forward to field the ball?
9) When fielding a ground ball where do you field the ball?
A. Back between your legs
B. Out in front of your body
C. To the side of your body
D. You let someone else catch it
10) When we throw the baseball our hand should be back, behind us with our fingers and hand on top of the ball?
Parents and coaches,
I’ve been around young athletes for many years and I’ve found the following to be true:
1. Most young players regardless of how good they are at a particular sport really only want to have fun. Sure they like to win because us adults let them know how great that is but fun is still number 1.
2. Most young players and kids in general want to please the adult figures in their lives.
3. Young players can accomplish great things on and off the field if given the opportunity and shown how.
Now, I’m not trying to be philosophical on you but I do feel I have a fair understanding of what makes young people tick. I offer you the following guidelines when dealing with young players. I really believe you can make a difference in the children’s live if you follow a few guidelines. By no means is this an all inclusive list but it should give you some good guidelines to follow.
- Teach your players how to win and lose games with class and good sportsmanship.
- Focus your seasons on player development, especially at the younger ages instead of winning at all cost.
- Don’t bark commands to the players or ask them why they missed the ball unless you can show them how to do it correctly. Young players don’t want to make mistakes but when they do you must show them physically how to perform it correctly.
- Treat all your players, including your own child the same.
- If you are playing in recreational ball give all your players equal playing time.
- If you are playing travel ball take your least talented players and stretch them into positions they felt the couldn’t play. You might be surprised at what they accomplish. Now I’m not saying to put them over their head, just give them a chance in the right circumstance.
- Teach fundamentals over and over again. Don’t advance beyond the basics until the players are flawless with the fundamentals of the game.
- When you correct the kids you want to tell them what they did right, then what they did wrong and then finish it with positive comments on how they will get better with your help. It’s called a compliment sandwich.
- Be a good communicator. Get down on your knees, take your sunglasses off and look the kids in the eye when you talk to them.
- Make a point to get with every kid at practice if possible. They like some one on one attention.
- Please don’t take a win at all cost mentality. That will only get you so far and eventually you will fall and it will usually be difficult for you to handle.
- Encourage young athletes to play multiple sports as it only increases their love of all sports.
- Focus on youth fitness. We have an overweight problem with children, so do your part to improve it.
- Organize your practices and break the players into small groups. They will learn better.
In Summary, coaching young athletes can be very rewarding. It has been for me and I’ve developed fantastic relationships within my community that will last a life time. My own children are more connected to me than ever. I don’t even have to go around the field screaming at kids and guess what. I have always had competitive teams. No we don’t always win but we have always be around the top of the standings year after year.
Don’t demand your kids do things, motivate and encourage them to do that. Challenge them and you will be surprised what they accomplish.
Coach Randy G.
electing a youth baseball throwing drill to develop good young arms
Developing a well-rounded baseball player at an early age is a tremendous responsibility taken on by Little League baseball coaches across the world. Teaching proper hitting mechanics, proper base-running techniques, and developing a strong throwing arm make up vital components important to that development. However, understanding and utilizing a proper youth baseball throwing drill may be one of the more important components in order to not only develop good throwing arms, but also to eliminate bad throwing habits that could injure a young baseball player in later years.
A strong youth baseball throwing drill will help to prevent elbow and shoulder injuries, and should be incorporated as a component into every single practice. The key to any successful youth baseball throwing drill is repetition. Young players need to learn to throw the correct way consistently, thousands of times in order to develop the proper throwing mechanics.
Many baseball coaching experts are big proponents of a youth baseball throwing drill that starts with the young player with the knee of his throwing arm on the ground, with the other leg extended outward. From this position, the player is forced to concentrate on proper upper body mechanics. This drill is especially important in isolating the top part of the body to ensure the proper release and follow through of the throw itself.
Players from this position should also make sure that their knuckles are pointed skyward to ensure accuracy of the throw, and their fielding glove and alignment of the ball behind them should be in direct line with their target. If not properly aligned, the player would be forced to compensate by either throwing across his body or opening his shoulder during delivery of the throw.
After release of the throw, the playerís body should be perfectly aligned in facing his target, with a full follow through across the body. Once the follow through is completed, the playersí eyes should be looking directly at their target.
This is a great youth baseball throwing drill in several ways. First, the drill can be completed through a number of repetitions, in order to re-align proper mechanics. Second, it helps train a young player the proper upper body mechanics to use with each throw, and last, it is a drill that can taught to the entire team, provided the coaches are watching closely to correct any inconsistencies.
With the increasing numbers of shoulder and elbow injuries seen later in life as a result of poor throwing mechanics, starting a Little League player with the right youth baseball throwing drill will go a long way in ensuring a strong arm and injury free baseball career.
Another post by one of our readers!
Many baseball leagues around the country start with tee ball at a very young age. In recent years, the advent of coach pitch baseball has taken rise as a bridge between tee ball and Little League baseball, and has become a great tool to use to teach proper hitting mechanics.
Tee ball stresses learning a smooth, level as well as starting to develop hand-eye coordination. Hand-eye coordination becomes much more important with a moving, pitched ball. Starting out in a coach pitch baseball league is a great way to develop this type of coordination.
Many people believe that throwing a slow, arching ball to a hitter is best in order to get them to learn how to hit. Slow, arching balls fall to the ground much faster, and for inexperienced hitters, they are especially harder to hit. Young hitters need to learn to hit a faster, more level ball in order to develop proper hitting mechanics. Setting them up to fail right from the get go will serve to do nothing but break their confidence.
Most kids will learn to start hitting pitched ball somewhere between the ages of 7 to 9. Itís important that when coaching coach pitch baseball, teaching proper hitting mechanics such as a level swing and follow through, following the ball from glove to bat, and keeping their heads down through the swing will ensure proper hitting mechanics at an early age. As with any drill, repetition is very important, so that each hitter can establish a consistent swing.
Coach pitch baseball is meant to be a fun experience for all kids involved, so itís important to give them experiences they will remember. As the season moves along, each coach will start to learn where each child likes to hit the ball, whether it be inside or outside, high or low. Pitching to each young hitterís strength will help to give them confidence and make it fun for them at the same time.
Some coaches believe that using a pitching machine during practice is a good idea. This couldnít be further from the truth. Hitters at a young age need to learn the nuances of a pitcherís windup and delivery, and will adapt their hitting mechanics accordingly. Using a pitching machine is counterproductive in that respect.
Coach pitch baseball is a great bridge between tee ball and Little League baseball, and understanding how to teach proper mechanics while mixing in fun will help each and every player in developing their skills, their confidence levels, and their levels of fun.