The Perfect Practice Plan

If we do not have extra adults available to back up the throws, place balls a couple feet behind each player. And those responsibilities involve the need to move around the field. The hitters switch each pitch, and groups of three are rotated. Recommended Posts

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So fly ball drills to the outfield will be shaky, maybe not even safe. Running the bases is one other area to work with eight year olds on. And you should start teaching them to watch and listen to the first base coach.

He could be sending them to second and they need to watch for that. And then once they are headed to second base they need to learn to watch the third base coach for new instructions. And if you don't find what you want, let us know. Drop us a line in the " Contact Box" and we will do everything we can to help you. Comments Have your say about what you just read!

Leave me a comment in the box below. Subscribe to "Extra Innings" our every few weeks newsletter loaded with baseball drills, ideas and stories. Check Out Phoenix Bats. New T Ball eBook for Coaches. Is There A Special. I promise to use it only to send you Extra Innings. Then Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure. Teams compete to try and field the grounder and make a throw to hit the buckets.

If they knock the top bucket off, they get 3 points. If they hit either of the buckets in the air, they receive 2 points. If they hit either bucket on a bounce they receive 1 point. You can choose any number to try and score to for the win.

Usually we do 15, but lower it based on player skill level, or you can move players in to the cut of the grass, etc. We have added some additional rules- you must try to get rid of the ball quickly. If you hold it too long or take too many steps toward home, your throw does not count.

If you miss the ball, you must go get it and make the throw from where you pick the ball up. And -5 points if you hit a coach has not happened yet. I've been coaching year olds the last couple of years and I've managed to find a few drills that the kids seem to enjoy. I think they're favorite is using a pitching machine to practice catching fly balls. I aim it real high and set the speed to a reasonable level and then have the kids track it down.

Because my kids are young, I use tennis balls to keep the concussions to a minimum. At the beginning of the year I have them stand right where the balls will land. As they gain some skill, I'll use an orange cone as a starting point, and place it a few feet away from the landing zone.

This way they learn to run into the fly ball and learn how to track while on the run. Another drill I have is where I place a number of balls in the dirt between 2B and 3B and then setup targets stuff animal on a stool against the first-base fence. I separate the kids into 3 or 4 lines and then have the front player start on their belly. On my command they jump up, run to a ball, scoop and fire at a target. The team that hits the target most wins. Another drill that I really enjoy because I think it targets a lot of different skills is a situational infield drill.

I split the kids into 3 teams. One squad goes to 2B, one to 1B and one as runners starting from home. For the age group that I coach, this really helps the kids learn how to play a bag properly. They start off 1B, then have to run to cover it. It's amazing to me how many kids who start at this level forget to run through first-base. Or, how many first-basemen forget to run to the bag to cover it in-case of a throw. Over the course of the year, when the kids get comfortable with that, we'll shift over to covering 2B with a squad at SS and 2B and a runner at 1B.

It's a bit painful at first because most of these kids can't catch a ball which is why I wait to introduce it by week 3 and I still use a soft-core ball. But it was amazing to me how many outs we made by the end of the year. We're only house-league, but we were making plays other teams weren't. It was a highlight of my season last year when one of our most inexperienced kids made a great play to get a kid out at 1B and afterward said "Just like we practiced!

And I always finish a practice with a scrimmage against the coaches. The coaches never hit, only field. We challenge the kids to score x-amount of runs against us and we don't take it easy on them.

I will be adding this supporting information over the next few days written March 5. The next practice plan 5 is 'Teaching and Learning Batting Practice'. The objective of the first four practices is to teach the kids the foundational concepts of defensive positional responsibilities, throwing and basic pitching mechanics, the key focus points of playing catch moving their feet to throw and catch , receiving throws at a base, fielding, a few simple skill building drills, etc.

In many parts of the country we are still getting a lot of rain and most coaches will have to deal with wet fields from time to time, but that is no reason to cancel a practice. Short of lighting or a real heavy downpour we can still hold practice. The availability of, or use of, a diamond is not needed to run a championship caliber practice.

Most of the activities in the practice plans can be run most anywhere, a gym, and outdoor covered basketball court, a covered walkway or in a school yard or parking lot that is free of cars. Use whiffle balls and shorten up the bases to 40'. At that distance the defensive players will get a decent feel of the ball coming off the bat, will have the opportunity to work on their footwork and see some fly balls. Give the kids the option of using their glove, however it is difficult to catch a whiffle ball with a glove, so encourage them to try defense with no glove.

Split the team into two groups of six and set up two diamonds with two Batting practices going on at the same time. Four kids play defense and follow the same approach as described in "Batting Practice - A 12 Player Drill".

The other two kids bat and work on reacting to balls off the bat. After the batter completes their swings they switch with the base runner. After they both get their swings, switch them out with two of the kids on defense. Again play using whiffle balls on a 40' diamond. The primary skills the kids are working on is base coverage responsibilities and footwork involved with covering bases, receiving throws at a base and fielding ground balls.

On the smaller diamond we only play with six players split the team into two groups and have two games going on at one time. I change the 'rules' slightly. We tell the players the TWO objectives on defense are:. This is done by throwing the ball ahead of the runner. If there is any question the ball will reach a base steps ahead of the runner, they instead throw a full base ahead of the runner.

When the runner reaches their base and sees the ball being held by a defensive player at the next base there is no question the runner cannot run any further. We have one batter, four infielders and a catcher. After the batter hits and runs the bases, all players rotate.

The infielders rotate from 3b to SS to 2b to 1b to C; the catcher is the next batter and the batter-runner moves to 3b. Set a marker 10'' behind the plate where the catcher stands while the batter is swinging the bat. After the batter drops the bat, the catcher runs up to their 'position' a step in front of home plate.

From there the Catcher works on their leadership and decision making skills by calling to the defense where to throw the ball. The catcher MUST were a helmet to protect them from a flying bat , ideally one with a face guard. On the first day, like the first day of any new activity, this scrimmage format will be a bit wonky. Once the kids get the idea of 'get the runner out' out of their heads and grasp the concept of 'stop the runner', the drill starts running clean and fast.

Expect to get batters hitting and running the bases per minute. This format of scrimmage also gets the kids in tune to the idea that "The runner is safe a lot" in any baseball or softball game. But on each play we still must accomplish the goal of 'stopping the runner s '.

Given this realization the kids begin to feel empowered by the act of stopping the runner. When it comes to real games, where the runner s is often safe, the players will recognize they have still accomplished something by 'stopping the runner s '.

And not giving away bases by making poor throwing decisions resulting in overthrows and runners advancing further than they should have. When working on wet pavement it is important to remind the kids that it is slippery and in this situation they have to control their giddiness and move a bit slower and not try to stop and change directions.

Practice can begin one hour prior to your assigned field time — a diamond is only needed for Scrimmage. Stance at a base prior to receiving a throw.

Receiving a Throw at a Base. Infield Base Coverage, 2. Backing up Bases — Outfield. After the first three bat, switch them to defense. See Practice 1 review. Two groups of six players - 5 minutes at each station. Throwing Drills — Footwork. Delivering Balls in Drills. Infield and Outfield Movement, 3.

Each batter bats 2x. After the first three players bat, switch them to defense. Balls to their LEFT. Ready Position to Catch. Focus on glove elbow: Pitchers Responsibilities - balls hit in the infield. Turn back; Turn fast. This is the introductory day and will take extra time to teach and get a feel for the flow of the drill. Ultimately this becomes a 15 minute activity. Holler to the defense, prior to each new batter: Number of outs, and 2.

Location of Base Runners. While the ball is in play, call out where the ball is to be thrown. On relays to home, communicate with the pitcher. Pitcher three defensive responsibilities on balls hit in the outfield. Pitchers Responsibilities — balls hit in the outfield. Back up all throws coming in from the outfield.

Cut-Relay player on throws to home plate. Outfielders Thee Defensive Responsibilities. Chase balls hit in the outfield. Chase balls hit to the two infielders in front of you — primarily the LF and RF. Toss Drills - Drop step, going back. Middle infielders movement on balls hit to the outfield. Cut-Relay to Home on Mini Diamond. Three Team Defensive Responsibilities: Stop the runner s.

Proper running path to the base and where to touch the base when making a turn. Group 1 — first base to third base.

Group 2 — second base to home. Group 3 — home to second. Cut-Relay Drill on Mini Diamond. Group 1 six players: Cut-Relay Drill on Mini Diamond laid out in center field.

Group 2 six players: The three players in the middle of the field P, SS, 2B. Middle Infield Movement on balls to CF shortstop goes out; second baseman covers the bag. Batting and Throwing Drills. Three Individual Defensive Responsibilities: Chase balls hit to the outfield. Back-up ground balls hit to the two players in front of them Pitcher backs up corner base. Call out number of outs and location of runners before each new batter. Holler to defense where to throw the ball during the play.

Communication with pitcher on cut-relay plays to home. Catch, Tag and Throw using underhand toss - on mini diamond. Replaying The Ball Teach this action…this is the reason for extra 5 minutes. Three Team Defensive Responsibilities.

Stop the runner s - RULE: Pitching using Rocking action. Defensive Rules, Positional Responsibilities, Communication - as needed. Receiving a Throw at a Base - tag play. It is important to prepare a written practice plan, with time designations for each activity, prior to every practice. This section provides the standard practice template along with six sample practice plans; three that are 90 minutes in length and three that are 2 hours.

After getting through your first 10 practices or so, these will be useful.