One on One Baseball: The Fundamentals of the Game and How to Keep It Simple for Easy Instruction


If not, remind the pitcher about maintaining proper balance. Pushing off the rubber not only produces extra velocity, but it also creates added balance, which produces better control. Remind pitchers to not just stand in front of the rubber, but push off it on every pitch. This often leads to high pitches.

Coaching Young Pitchers in Baseball – Keep It Simple

Instruct your pitcher to follow through across the body and end low. If your pitcher is walking batters with balls that are consistently high, check to see if the follow-through is too short. Instruct your pitchers to finish toward the plate. Try to convince your Little Leaguer that it is just him and his teammate behind the plate playing a game of catch. Depending on the age and skill levels of your league and players, you'll have to adjust your expectations accordingly. While the action in the outfield in youth baseball can often be limited, it's still important that players stay attentive.

In games or leagues where you have a majority of right-handed batters, players will be more likely to hit the ball to left field, so you might put a slightly more skilled defender on the left side of the outfield. If you have the luxury, a strong arm in right field can also be a useful asset for cutting down runners headed for third base.

Game experience can help you understand who will perform best where, but you can also use practice time to identify the best position for each player. Run drills that isolate or simulate skills important to different positions on the field. Have your players track down fly balls, field grounders, make long throws, and perform other baseball drills to help you identify whose skillset belongs where.

Each player will be required to have certain pieces of gear to bring to practices and games. First, check with your league to see which items will already be provided, such as uniform components like shirts and hats. Players may then be required to purchase or provide their own baseball cleats , pants, socks, and other uniform accessories. Beyond the uniform, players should have their own baseball glove , and many will buy a pair of batting gloves for comfort, as well.

While catchers are the only players required to wear a protective cup, most baseball players will appreciate having a cup securely in place whenever a batted or thrown ball takes a funny hop in the wrong direction. Some players like to use their own baseball bat during practice and games, but these will have to meet the standard bat requirements established by your particular league. Finally, players should bring a sports bottle or another container of water to stay hydrated during games and practices.

Your initial meeting with parents is a good time to share a list of required baseball gear that players will be expected to have. Here are some essential pieces of baseball gear and apparel to include on your list for players:. You'll be hauling lots of gear to practices and games as part of your role as coach. To start, check with your league to see what equipment they provide. For example, some leagues provide catcher's gear, batting helmets, bats, balls, and other essentials.

Whether they're being furnished by the league or by you and the rest of the parents and coaching staff, here's a rundown of must-have coach's equipment for your youth baseball team:. For a complete rundown of all the gear, training aids, and protective extras you and your players should have on game day, check out our printable Little League gear checklist.

Hopefully, the parents of your players will take an active interest in their child's sports career. When they do, it's common for parents to have a lot of questions before or during the season. Here are some of the more common questions that can be challenging to answer, plus our ideas to help you respond. A general rule of thumb is that the more competitive the league is, the more playing time will be distributed based on player ability. Therefore, talent-based playing time is more common in leagues with older players as opposed to younger kids.

The lower the age level, the more playing time tends to be distributed evenly. Just make sure that your approach is appropriate for the league and your players' ages, and communicate to parents how this relationship works. As a coach, it's natural to want to avoid interference from parents during games and practices. In fact, most parent contracts will include agreements not to coach from the sidelines or to interfere with the management of your team. That said, parents don't have to be excluded from practices. If anything, allowing parents to watch their children practice — quietly and from a respectable distance — sends a message that you are confident in your abilities and you have nothing to hide.

What's more, parents might pick up a drill or two that they can practice with their child at home, which only helps reinforce a player's skillset. Things can get tricky when a parent finds out that the expensive gear they bought for their kid isn't allowed under the rules. One of the common areas where this occurs is with bats.

Each league has specific rules that govern which bats are permitted during practices and games, and these rules sometimes change. These bat standards are adopted and updated with the safety of players in mind, and all parents and players are expected to honor their league's specific regulations. Some youth baseball teams do a lot of travelling, while others stay local to a particular area.

Parents should be aware of the travel requirements for a team before registering their child, but you should still be ready to field questions about travel. It's standard for leagues to identify the locations of fields used for competition, so be sure that you know where these locations are so that you can confidently inform parents. If getting to practices or games will be a burden for a player, talk to his parents about working out a carpool arrangement with a teammate or finding another solution.

When it comes to developing young athletes, practice is hugely important. Allowing kids to miss too much practice is neither fair to them nor to the other players who show up for practice, only to yield playing time to practice no-shows. Scheduling conflicts do happen, and life gets busy, so you should take an understanding approach to missed practices while emphasizing the importance of attendance to parents.

If you find that a player is chronically missing practices, don't be afraid to let the parents know their playing time may be at risk. Some parents don't understand that the coach is in charge of making fielding decisions during games. Explain that all players are evaluated to find the position that suits them best and helps the team the most. During your initial meeting with parents, you might suggest holding off spending money on a fancy first baseman's glove or catcher's mitt in case that isn't the proper position for their child. When a player is at the plate attempting to hit.

An at bat will end if the player reaches a base via a hit, error, or fielder's choice, or if they're called out for any reason other than as part of a sacrifice. An illegal move by a pitcher made with a runner on base, which results in the awarding of the next base. A pitcher may not, for example, commit in his delivery to home plate and then attempt to pick off a runner instead. When the batter taps a pitch without swinging at it fully, with the intent of only putting the ball in play by a few feet. Bunts are an offensive play typically used to advance a baserunner to second or third base.

A double awarded when a batted ball lands in play and bounces over the perimeter fence or boundary. A fair fly ball that, depending on the number of outs and runners on base, may result in the batter being automatically called out. This rule is a little advanced for Little Leaguers but still worth knowing about.

A pitch that a catcher should have been able to control with ordinary effort but failed to catch, which results in the advancement of one or more offensive players. Generally avoiding the strike zone in pitching to a hitter, with the probable outcome of walking him but without the certainty of an intentional walk.

Teaching the Game: Game Situations and Drills for Youth Baseball

A fly ball or bunt that results in the batter being out and one or more runners advancing or scoring. A modified windup performed with a runner on base, usually to speed up pitch delivery and discourage stolen bases. The act of retouching or remaining on base until after the ball is in play. For example, if a fielder catches a fly ball, a baserunner must remain on or retouch their original base after the catch before attempting to advance to the next base. A pitch that is beyond the ability of the catcher to control with ordinary effort, which results in the advancement of one or more offensive players.

Now that you know what you're doing, share photos and videos of your team's practices and games to show off your skills as a coach!

Mistake No.2: Catching a Foul Ball Near a Fence

Take Us Out to the Ballgame Move Your Feet to Catch We remind our kids that the ball does not always come straight to them. Of course, achieving team goals deserves celebration, too! The throwing arm takes the power generated by the legs and conveys it to the ball. During games, you also need coaches at first and third base when your team is at bat. Moving their feet to throw is a new concept and action; it will take them some time and repetition to coordinate the transition from the shuffle action to the upper body arms action. Base Running - this is a great group activity that also has an important socializing benefit.

Just grab your baseball gear , head out to the ballpark, and share your pics with the hashtag. The following item has been added to Close Button. Find a Store close modal. See More Stores Close. This is much easier said than done, however. Why do we want the pitcher covering a base?

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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.

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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.

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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.

Mistake No.1: Pitchers Not Practicing Fielding

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. If a smaller ball is thrown directly at them they tend to close their eyes, turn their heads, and stiffly extend arms and legs. It is not until seven ot years of age that children develop the capacity to track flying objects, make appropriate leg and body adjustments, and prepare their arms, hands and fingers quickly enough to catch a three inch ball.

This is just a sample excerpt of one article. There are many written by child development researchers that state that seven or eight is the age that kids become better able to judge and catch. Keep in mind that in this research they are likely not testing kids in a park with other kids and additional distractions.

The Tee-Ball practice environment, very likely, makes catching a thrown baseball more challenging than in a research atmosphere. Human beings' eyes work together as part of a process called 'Binocular Vision'. When the eyes work together the brain is able to process the information resulting in depth perception and the ability to track a moving object. In the human brain, this coordinating of the two eyes to work together and transmit information does not develop until ages 7 or 8.

Line your kids up in a row or two and instruct them to stand with their feet wider than shoulder width and with their hands and elbows held out in front of their body. We remind our kids that the ball does not always come straight to them. Next, we point out that by reaching forward with our hands, towards the ball, we can see the ball heading towards our glove making it easier to catch. We "Reach Forward to Catch". Line your kids up in a row or two and instruct then to get in a "Ready Position".

Tell them that when you say "Move Your Feet to Catch" they are to move three feet to their left to catch and imaginary ball. Then you point to your right their left and holler "Move Your Feet to Catch". As you point and give the command, you quickly move three feet to your right leading them in the movement , then holler "Reach Forward to Catch" and extend your hands and arms in front of you. Repeat by having them move to their right. Repeat back and forth times or more if you have time and they remain engaged No ball is used in this drill. This drill trains the proper body movements of the throw.

We run the kids through the drill to train their movements. Later we put a ball in their hands, so they can test how well their body has learned the movements. In all throwing actions the legs initiate and provide most of the power. The throwing arm takes the power generated by the legs and conveys it to the ball. To some extent they will grasp the concept of the momentum created by using their legs to move them toward their target.

The most important part of teaching this drill is to keep the initial instruction simple and to get on with running the drill. Subsequent instruction is primarily for the purpose of correction and keeping them on track towards executing the actions properly. Many kids will wait too long to toss the ball; they will get within about five feet of their partner before tossing. You might also place something a bit beyond the half way point that indicates the time to toss the ball.

Early on some kids will struggle with the physical challenge of combining the two actions of running and tossing.

Guide to Coaching Youth Baseball

These kids will run all the way to their targetand Hand the ball to you. Kids learn a lot form observing their peers. We still have the players, "Follow Your Head" keep their momentum moving toward their target After throwing the ball and then run around the adult they are working with. The drills and content on that page will be addressed in slightly greater detail consistent with these older players' ability to digest the concepts and execute the actions.

The four drills below are just a sample of variations of this same concept. Other than the ' Play' at home, each drill could be run with the coach rolling to either player. There is a wide variety of drills that follow the same concept that our found on the Skill Building Warm-up page under the Defensive Responsibilities heading and the Pitchers Fielding heading. Also refer to the Defensive Responsibilities page where the complete though brief set defensive concepts are detailed.

The drills and concepts are introduced at the Tee-Ball level, but our expectations for the kids' ability to consistently execute and full grasp the concepts must remain low. However, these actions represent how the game is played and it is important that they be exposed to these actions and drilled in them. Our primary objective is that they are introduced to the fact that on defense, all players must move once the ball is put into play and that each player has a specific responsibility.

At the Tee-Ball level we will not address the pitcher's responsibilities. This are a bit to complex for this age of ballplayer. This same drill can be run with players reversing roles of who is fielding and who is covering the base. The objectives of the Two Players, One Base series of drills: Players come to recognize that the momentum of running towards their target is what powers their throws.

They also need to learn to continue running towards the target during and following the throw which enhances the power behind the throw and improves accuracy. It will take quite a while to get the idea of momentum generated by their legs to compute in their minds. Given that the ball is held in the hand and he hand is connected to the arm, kids understandably see the arm as the power source for the underhand toss. Coaches understand that as simple as the drills are, it will take a number of weeks and for many, the duration of the season for the kids to grasp these concepts.

As they start getting it the movements on the field become pretty amazing to watch. They will still miss most of the time on their throws and catches. At the Tee Ball level we want to position the second baseman and shortstop halfway between the corner base and second base. These players are learning to understand that they could cover either base depending on if the ball is hit to their right or their left.

By positioning them exactly between the two bases the kids establish a perspective that each base is of equal importance. At this level we are exposing them to the concept of movement. They will seem perplexed at times and make mistakes, but these experiences will pay off over time. Also, getting them moving and giving each position a purpose on each play makes the game more interesting and fun, which will increase the probability that the kids will want to come back and play the following season …which is our primary goal as adults involved at the Tee-Ball level.

The drills at the third base bag and home plate are less about preparing the kids for recording an out in a game and more about them learning about coordinating movements of two adjacent players, recognizing that sometimes a player gets the ball and sometimes gets a base. Most importantly they are gaining an understanding that movement is required each time the ball is put into play.

The drills establish the habit of moving each time the ball is put into play.