Practice Plans

Positioning at the Base. Middle Infield Movement on balls to CF shortstop goes out; second baseman covers the bag. Players learn to focus on the base, not what is happening with the ball. Monday's Games

Video of the Day

Important Links

So that is our outline of youth baseball practice drills by age from the years four thru eighteen. Because kids mature at different ages there may be baseball drills that I have listed as ten year old drills and some ten year olds cannot perform, and so on.

Recapping my coaching years and knowing what I know now I would certainly do it all over again and again. Make no mistake there are heartaches and problems, but it made a better man of me and better adults of my boys. I feel that I have a tighter bond with my boys because of our baseball experiences and I have life long friendships with many of my former players. 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.

You mean to tell me you got kids throwing home from the outfield? I was basically thinking, anything in the outfield goes to 2nd. Infield always goes to 1st. First team to go there and back wins. While doing this, teach them how to use their feet while throwing.

This will also teach them to get the ball out of their hands quick. My teams would stage all kind of competitions for fun. You can have a throwing relay from home to the center field fence and back, that teaches how to receive and throw.

Our kids loved that one. We had consecutive fly ball catching contests. We had "spectacular catch" practice - line up on the right field foul line, hit a fly ball to right center, have them catch on the run. You can control the degree of difficulty.

We had contests for the catchers at blocking bad pitches. We had teams playing "21" in the outfield - you score one point for catching a fly ball, one point for an accurate throw back in - first team to 21 wins. Kids love rundown practice. Games of one-base are fun. Have a longest hit competition. See who can bunt and hit targets down the line. You can do it once around, then reverse it for fun.

They love this one. Anything with a stopwatch they go nuts over. You are right to focus on fun. Remember that six year olds aren't going to be very disciplined or attentive for more than 10 seconds at a time.

Keep them moving, keep practices short and to the point. Safety and fun Point: They think this is a lot of fun, but more importantly it has a safety component.

A player cannot run and stomp the base at the same time. In order to stomp on the base they must slow down. In most cases the kids are running perpendicular to each other with the result of the kids reaching the base at the same time, while running fast, and a potentially dangerous collision occurs.

Positioning at the Base. First Base - stand between the base and the ball; right next to the base but not touching. Second and Third Bases - stand on the side of the base the ball is coming from; right next to the base but not touching. These are the most basic teaching points for positioning at a base. Much of the information we are giving them now will be incubating during the off-season and be ready to bloom when they get this information in the next season. These basics do not put them in the correct position in all situations.

Following these simple rules will result, at times, with the infielder in the way of a runner rounding second or third base. We have two primary goals when teaching kids how to position themselves at a base: I am not meaning to pop off to my readers. Actually I am chuckling a bit when I write this because many adults misunderstand how a player - including first basemen — stands at a base to get ready to take a throw.

Next time you go to a pro game, or college many HS first basemen have not been properly taught how to take a throw , when a ground ball is hit to an infielder, instead of following the ball, shift your eyes to the first baseman. PLEASE, do not allow the kids to stand in a stretch position when taking a throw at a base, or when playing catch many stand in this incorrect position when playing catch.

You will be saving them, as well as their future coaches and teammates a lot of grief. Breaking older kids of this improper habit is very difficult.

Early in the season do not invest too much time and energy in teaching kids specifically where they need to stand at a base. Simply put, there are more important things for them to learn.

Also, it takes more time and effort than we really want to invest to get the kids disciplined in standing correctly in relation to the base. This is another teaching point that we will address during the season, but not with high expectations for mastery. While some learning and application with take place, our fruits of our labors will pay off in subsequent seasons as the kids become more familiar with the game of baseball.

Have the shortstop and second baseman stand half way between the corner base and second base. This is not 'regular' baseball positioning remember: Catcher - Strapping a 5 or 6 year old into ill-fitting catchers gear when they are not catching pitches is a bit illogical.

Consider having the catcher wear only a helmet with a face mask to protect them if they get hit by a bat. This is placed 10 feet behind home plate. The catcher squats behind the screen. After the batter drops the bat the catcher runs out to their position….

And those responsibilities involve the need to move around the field. At the Tee Ball level our objective for the season is for the infielders to learn that when the ball is not hit to them they run and cover a base. And you run fast to the base to cover it! The first few days we work with the kids on this concept, they will struggle.

However, after a while most will get the idea. While they will get the concept, it will take longer for them to execute it well. Expect it to take at least half the season before some of the kids are reacting properly when they are needed to cover a base. For most it will take till the entire season, but we will see progress being made along the way. As they progress in learning to move without the ball and cover a base it is very satisfying as a coach.

And their coach the following season will benefit tremendously. Teaching Base Coverage Responsibilities. Before we get into learning the drill regarding this fundamental baseball concept keep in mind that we will start working only with the four infielders.

Initially we will leave the pitcher standing in the middle of the field with no instructions. Later, after the kids get some understanding of the concept of infielders covering bases we will then add the pitcher to the mix.

In the next year or two, as coaches, we will come to learn that the pitcher has a lot of coverage movement responsibilities on defense. Rules for base coverage responsibilities: The third baseman and first baseman have one base. The shortstop and second baseman have two bases; one to their left and one to their right.

The 'positional movement' drills will start the kids on their way to recognizing that one infielder gets the ball and the other infielders cover a base. We teach kids their movement responsibilities through the 'Two Players, One Base' drill. Not until around age 9 are youth players able to comprehend and follow this instruction. At the Tee-Ball level, its best to let the child playing defense at the pitcher position to just hang out in the middle of the diamond.

They will get plenty of balls to field. As the season progresses, we will see many situations where the two infielders on one side of the field will be on the ground wrestling for the ball, leaving one of the corner bases 1st or 3rd uncovered.

We coaches may choose to point out that often a base is not covered and instruct the pitcher that, when they see this, they run over to the base and cover it. The reality is they will recognize this too late and not get to the base ahead of the runner. That sis OK though. They will begin to grasp the fact that there are times where they are needed to cover a base not just stand in the middle of the infield watching.

Simply the experience of recognizing this, followed by running over to the base will be a great education for them. Next year or the year after , when they have matured more and are more in tune with what is going on around them, they will take these experiences and will be able to more quickly learn to execute the pitcher's defensive movement responsibilities at game speed.

Ideally we only want the pitcher to go after balls they can field before it crosses the invisible line between them and first or third base. This is much easier said than done, however. Why do we want the pitcher covering a base? Often both infielders on the side of the field the ball is hit to will go after the ball and neither will cover the corner base first or third. As stated earlier, we will not drill the pitcher in this responsibility early on.

Our time will be used to get the four infielders to develop their base coverage habits. This does not mean we will not teach the idea, verbally, of the pitcher covering a base. We will point this out each time it comes up. The reality is that verbal instructions are not nearly as effective as the players drilling the actual actions.

Later in the season, once the four infielders are demonstrating they are getting the concept of covering the correct base we can then start investing practice time on drilling the pitcher position. Half of practice time is drills and skill development and half of practice is playing the game. Playing a game scrimmage is fun - and it is what the kids expect when they signed up to Play. Base Running - this is a great group activity that also has an important socializing benefit.

It is a fun way for kids to develop base running skills and become familiar with this fun aspect of the game. It also tires them out a bit, so they will pay attention to the instructions for the drills and skills segment of practice.

Below are a few different base running activities. Only plan on each player having repetitions in the warm-up base running activity each day.

Over time they will develop their base running skills. When accounting for getting the kids organized before and after the warm-up, the actual activity only lasts about 3 minutes. Run Around the Bases.

Place a kids at each base. A second or two later yell for the next player to at each base to go, and so on. After they are all running, let them run around the bases times.

Save this activity for later in the season. Divide the players into two evenly matched groups; one at home, one at second base.

In the relay race the players run all the way around the bases, returning to tag the next player on their relay race team. After tagging their teammate that runner sits down. For this segment of practice we divide the team into groups; two groups if you have an appropriately sized team of seven players.

If you have nine or more kids, make three groups. There are three drill stations: Playing Catch, Defense and Batting. Each group spends minutes at a station, then rotates. If your team only has two groups, one station will not be used during each stage of the rotation. Under each station below is a list of activities. These are very small children and there is a limit to how much they can learn in one season.

The fact is, even at higher levels of play, practices are not real detailed they just move faster. The key is for our kids to gain familiarity with the activities and get massive repetitions in order to gain some level of mastery of the skills. The drills are listed in sequence; those that are introduced first, down to those introduced later in the season. Each day, one to three activities are run at a given. Point being is that a group of kids can go directly into the Batting or Defense station without playing catch first.

Trying to coordinate 7, 8, 9 or more little ball players playing catch at the same time can become chaotic very quickly. Ideally we have two Tees available and use wiffle balls.

We have two kids batting and kids chasing the balls they LOVE chasing the balls. When using wiffle balls two kids can hit at one time and nobody will get hurt if a flying wiffle ball hits them in the side of the head.

When two kids hit at the same time, the players gets twice as many swings - more repetitions means greater skill development. If you only have one tee, hard balls can be used.

Give each batter swings while the other players field the hit balls. This will keep the activity moving and get the kids more practice. No helmet is needed when there is only one batter, but be sure the on-deck batter is standing far enough from the batter hitting off the tee, so they are safe.

Also, have an adult standing between the two batters - better the adult gets hit than the child ;. Later in the year, when the kids know the batting drills, we can go straight into the Tee work and have the on-deck batter do batting drills during the seconds they are waiting. In this case we can increase the number of swings to for each batter.

Have an adult at the tee s with a bucket of balls who places the ball s on the tee. It is critical that the kids fielding the balls are paying attention when the next ball s is being hit. Finally, have a line that the players fielding are not allowed to cross. Often the batter s will not hit the ball far from the tee.

This slows the activity down waiting for the fielding player s to run back to a safe distance from the batter s. The line might be something already on the field, otherwise cones, hats, hoodies or some other objects can be used to indicate the line. If a stronger batter is up, move the tee back creating a greater distance between the batter and fielders. An adult plays the catcher position and also sets the ball on the tee for the batter.

The gloves of the kids batting and running the bases are placed in foul ground near third base. There are different options If you chose an actual rotation, the following is a simple suggestion: On each play we want to give feedback to as many players as possible.

First and foremost we are constantly looking for actions the players do correctly or are making an effort to do what they are being taught. When we see these things we want to point them out. Nothing motivates a player more, to keep working to improve, than acknowledging that they did something correctly or that we saw their effort to do an action correctly.

Of course there will be plenty of things to correct and teach. The key to correcting is to talk about actions not results. The kids will get their actions correct much more often than the end result. On the occasions the kids do get the desired result we still want to talk about their using the proper actions, examples: We want to shoot for a ratio of acknowledging things done correctly to making corrections of 3: If the kids hear us telling them they did something right more often than us correcting them they will learn to trust us and recognize that we are wanting them to get better.

With that trust in place they will respond better when we are correcting them. They will be confident in us and know we are trying to help them.

During infancy children can only catch large balls rolled directly at them.