Youth Baseball Practice Drills

Youth Baseball Practice Drills

Baseball is a uniquely popular sport among children and adults alike. Many kids have in the recent past taken the sport as their favorite playing action due to the immense benefits and unmatched fun as well as excitement of playing the sport. For starters, kids who play the sport are noted to be well disciplined and are more active compared to those that don’t play the sport.

Other benefits of the sport include:

Stronger heart muscles

Playing baseball provides kids with extensive cardiovascular training that enhances the strengthening of heart muscles and improves lung capacity. Pitching the ball and running to catch fly balls provides the body with an intensive burst of excellent cardiovascular exercise.

Stress relief

Baseball helps in developing mental focus, enhancing concentration, and in refreshing the mind thereby cushioning the kids from stress and mental anguish. Generally, kids who play baseball enjoy great mental health and are able think creatively and constructively.

Burn fat deposits

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All activities in baseball lead to an increase in the rate of metabolism in the body. It is worth noting that playing baseball has made it possible to considerably reduce instances of child obesity. Baseball helps children in burning calories in the body through increased metabolism and activity.

Important Drills in Baseball

Baseball drills are a perfect and suitable way of teaching kids how to improve their baseball playing skills. These skills are exceptionally unique and reliable in baseball training for kids as they impart essential baseball skills in exciting and fun-filled ways. Some of the important drills in the sport include:

Target Bunting

This drill requires coaches to use 3 differently colored hula hoops, several baseballs, and a few bats. The hula hoops should be positioned in front of the (home) plate in separate bunting zones. The best bunting zones are directly at the plate’s forefront, in the 1st baseline, and in the 3rd baseline. After the hoops have been placed in the bunting zones, the coach then pitches the players in the home plate and asks the players to bunt a baseball into a designated hoop depending on how it is colored. Target bunting helps players in developing bunting control. The coach can make target bunting fun and competitive by awarding points for targets made.

Finding Balance

The balance drill is unique in that it helps pitchers in learning how to save their energy before running towards the plate. Ideally, the drill enables pitchers to find their balance by standing on one foot for up to 5 seconds without leaning on either side. This is because when energy is lost, it becomes hard break off in high pitch speed and consequently lowers their velocity. Standing on a ready stance is crucial for pitchers as it helps them to throw the ball accurately and in a well defined path to the batter.

Common Injury

The risk of suffering injuries is very high in baseball. Due to this, there is need to train kids on the importance of the common injury drill. This drill focuses on ensuring that utmost safety is upheld in the field when kids are playing baseball. Safety in baseball starts with putting on the right protective gear. From helmets to knee & arm guards and elbow padding, it is important to ensure that players wear the right protective gear before stepping into the pitch. Additionally, you should train the kids how to grip perfectly to ensure that it is securely held in the hand when swinging and batting. What is more unique about the common injury drill in baseball is that you should train on how to stand in a ready stance to avoid injuring themselves while swinging to hit the ball.

Baseball Drills for 8-10 year olds

Since baseball is a sport for everyone, kids as young as 8 years can play the sport classically like pros. These players can exhibit high level playing skills like most adult players.

There are varying opinions on what 8-10 year old baseball players should do while on the pitch. Is it too early for a kid to start pitching at 8-10 years? While it is possible for kids to learn how to pitch on their own at this age, it is advisable to use a coach’s pitch for at least one more year with the supervision and training of the coach. There two different levels of skills among 8 year old players: there are those who know to hit well on their own while others need assistance to make perfect hits. Due to this difference, it is necessary to let 8-10 year old use the coach’s pitching before they are allowed to hit on their own.

Warm Up Drills

Before kids step into the pitch to play, have them warm up by playing catch. This helps in preparing the hands to get ready to step into the field. While they are warming up, take note of their throwing motions to see if there are any adjustments needed. The kids should extend their arms behind their bodies and then follow through once after throwing the ball. When kids are warming up, keep moving them apart from each other till they are able to reach their longest throwing distance.

See the ball, hit the ball

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At 8-10 years, baseball players should be able to focus on hitting the ball and directing it towards the desired target. To acquire this skill, the kids need to get training on how to achieve appropriate hand-eye coordination. You should train them on how to see the ball and hit it accurately sending it to the desired target area. When teaching them how to hit the ball, you should also train them on how to stand at a ready stance. At first, the kids might find these drills being quite hard but with time they will improve and hit the ball with better and precise accuracy.

Pitching Coach

In addition to seeing and hitting the ball, the pitching coach is yet another important drill for 8-10 year old kids. 8-10 year olds are most likely not ready and prepared to pitch and throw ground baseballs with runners involved. Typically, you should stick to infield play with 8-10 year olds as fly balls may not be safe for them due to their inexperience. Pitching drills for young players aim at increasing their pitching efficiency, reducing the risk of injury, and improving velocity.

Tee Hitting Drill

The tee hitting drill is closely related to the pitching drill and helps kids to focus on their hitting skills and tweak their swings depending on their pitch location. When teaching this drill, you require having several baseballs and a tee. The players should wear a helmet for protection. While maintaining the same hitter’s position, move the tee to different positions within the plate. You should alternate between infield and outfield positions.

Baseball Drills for 11-12 Year Olds

11-12 year old players possess impressive baseball playing skills. Ideally, these players have only 2-3 more years before they step up to the next level of play. At this age, hitters will start hitting the ball at more distant targets beyond the infield. Outfielders on the other hand will catch the balls more than they drop. Baseball drills for this class of players (11-12 years) should be age appropriate as the players have advanced playing skills.

At 11-12 years, baseball players should have identified the playing position they are good in. This is so that it becomes easy for them to refine their playing skills. At this age, the players should also know how to switch teams and playing positions with different skill levels.

Fielding Drills

Fielding drills are designed to ensure that it becomes easy for kids to make consistent and well-developed throws across the field (diamond). This drill might prove to be quite hard to do properly for kids but with repetitive practice and coaching, they will improve their fielding skills within no time. A lot of time should be spent on learning how to field ground balls and making targeted throws. You can consider subdividing your team into different groups to make fielding drills captivating and fun. One the fielding drills that you should ensure that you teach the kids is the “around the horn” drill. This drill is practiced with the catcher at home base, the first baseman positioned on the first base and the second baseman/shortstop at the second base.

Outfield Drills

Most baseball drills for 11-12 year old players should be devoted towards outfield plays. Outfielders should particularly make effort to play as much as they can. At this age, the coach should focus on putting the fastest players to play in the outfield. Avoid putting weaker fielders to play in the outfield anymore as the faster players will outshine them quite easily.

The centerfielder playing position should be reserved for the most athletic players in the team.

Drills for pitcher

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Baseball is played at different levels with the rules of each level being different from those of the other levels. Due to this, you should teach the kids how to pitch properly depending on the level that they are in. For 11-12 years, pitchers should be trained on covering the first base for ground balls aimed at the infield’s right side. It is necessary to ensure that each kid in the team knows how to pitch perfectly. This is because 11-12 years is the last age group in which all levels of players will do similar drills. After this age group, the pitchers will do different drills from hitters and batters. As such, if a pitcher fails to understand how pitching should be done expertly, there are high chances that he may not have another opportunity to try out pitching drills.

Base Running Drills

Base running is an important drill for 11-12 year olds as they learn to move from one base to the other. This drill helps kids to move quickly and safely across the plate. When teaching 11-12 year olds base running, split up the team into 2 squads and have the first squad at the home plate and the second squad at the second base. Let the players run across all the bases as quickly as they can without missing any of the bases. You can make the drill fun and exciting by letting the squads compete against each other.

Catching Fly Balls

This can be a quite difficult drill for kids between 11-12 years but with close supervision, it becomes quite easy for them to judge and catch flying balls. However, before teaching this drill to kids, it is important to teach them how fly balls are caught so that they do not end up injuring themselves.

Baseball Drills for 13-15 Year Olds

At 13-15 years, baseball players can participate in competitive leagues for juniors. As such, they need to have well polished playing skills and understand all the basics of playing baseball. At this age, the kids can play at either the 60 feet or 90 feet pitch comfortably. It is advisable for kids to experience playing in these two pitches before advancing to high school leagues. It is worth noting that at 13-15 years, players should have identified the playing positions they are best in.

Prepare for High School Baseball

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13-15 year olds who are considering advancing to high school baseball should use this stage to polish their playing skills. For outfielders, it is necessary for the coach to provide them with a large playing area so that they are able to test their throwing ability and speed to cover a larger area. Ideally, outfielders at 13-15 years should cover 54-56 feet or more be depending on their throwing ability. On the other hand, infielders need to do arm strengthening practices for them to be in a position to throw the ball across the diamond. It is important to note that baseball drills for 13-15 year olds should involve a great deal of infield and outfield practice and throwing drills.

Find a Good Coach

It is paramount to have a good coach who will impart great baseball skills to 13-15 year olds. It is advisable to get a good coach with vast experience and knowledge in coaching kids. This is because kids need special attention during coaching so that it becomes easy to identify their weaknesses. Without proper training, it might quite hard for 13-15 year olds to become good baseball players in their future playing years. Unless you are a good coach, you should not attempt to coach the kids. This is because you may not be well versed with all the aspects of playing baseball like a pro. It is easy for young baseball players to learn a wrong concept such as the arm motion while swinging. If not corrected as soon as possible, such mistakes may be quite hard to repair in the future.

Batting Drills

Just like pitching and other baseball playing skills, it is important to hire a professional hitting instructor to coach 13-15 year olds. The instructor should be able to impart the right batting skills to the kids so that they are able to practice and perfect their batting skills. Like other drills for kids, the instructor should ensure that batting drills for 13-15 year olds are fun and exciting. This makes it easy for the kids to enjoy the drills and find the practices exciting. Batting drills should be done over and over again so that kids can master the concept of batting correctly.

Throwing Drills

The ability of 13-15 year olds is the highlight of their baseball playing skills. You should demonstrate to the kid show they should the baseball for the batter to hit it and send it to the desired target. This age is perfect for teaching kids how throw like pros and stress on the basic fundamentals of throwing in baseball. You need spend more time and pay close attention to kids who seem to be slow in learning how to make perfect hits. At 15 before getting to 16 years, all the players in your team should throw with a unique uniformity. You can customize your instructions to ensure that you are able to address the needs of every player in the team.

Baseball Drills for 16 Years Up

When baseball players hit 16 years and above, they are now ready to play on normal size fields. At this age, the coach needs to ensure that there are no short bases or short fences anymore. All the distances in the pitch should be equal to those in major league fields. This is so as the players can be familiarize themselves with the playing conditions in major leagues and other competitions. Therefore, you should use normal size fields when training and practicing drills for baseball players over 16 years.

At 16, most baseball players are freshmen in high-schools and in spring, they will participate in their first high-school baseball leagues. Most of the players will specialize in playing at the pitcher’s position. At this age, it is important for the players to engage in physical workout sessions as they practice baseball drills. These workouts should mainly involve pitching and hitting workouts.

Training in school ball

The essence of training 16 year olds is school ball is to ensure that they are aware of the rules they need to observe while playing. It is also important to have the players familiarize themselves with the pitches/fields they will be playing on. Most probably, it is the first time the players will be using the pitches for competitive leagues after they have graduated from junior leagues.

Join league baseball

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Since 16 year olds have already crossed over to the major leagues and they will no longer participate in junior competitions, you should have them join league baseball. This is where they will learn how to play competitively and realize the need to perfect and polish their skills. However, before they join league baseball, it is necessary to ensure that each player plays perfectly in their specific positions. Let them be well prepared before the join league baseball. One of the best ways of ensuring that the players are well prepared is by scheduling their own pitching or batting experience.

Weekly workouts

The players should undertake comprehensive agility and stretching workouts on a weekly basis. If possible, they can have 2-3 workout sessions every week. Band resistance training should be incorporated with this workout. These workouts present players with a great chance to get their muscles in good shape while avoiding rigorous workouts by lifting weights. It is worth noting, that baseball drills for 16 year olds and above do not always involve the use of a baseball or a bat. This is because it is expected that at this age, the players should have polished their batting and hitting skills. However, they can take part in batting practice to perfect their batting skills.

Team drills

Players aged 16 years and above should do several situational drills including working in teams. The coach needs to train them on the importance of teamwork and complementing each other’s role while playing. Outfielders should know how they can work together to hit the ball at the farthest position in the pitch. On the other hand, catchers should learn how to work as a team to catch most ground and fly balls. Additionally, runners need to be trained how to run all the bases in a progressive manner such that each team member is where they are supposed to be in the respective pitches.

Regular Practice

The secret to possessing outstanding baseball playing skills lies in practice. 16 year olds need to practice more so that they can refine their skills and improve on any weaknesses in their skills. It is also important to note that regular practice makes it possible for coaches and trainers to identify the strong and weak points of the players. This in turn makes it possible to adjust the drills to address the training demands and needs of each player.

Conclusion

Baseball drills are an essential aspect of baseball training. They make it easy to train kids the crucial skills they need to learn before playing baseball. The drills also enable coaches and trainers to identify the areas of weakness in their players. Additionally, baseball drills make it possible to train kids using a progressive approach depending on their age and playing abilities. Specifically, the drills make baseball training and coaching to become age and skill approaching. 10 year olds are trained on the skills they should know.

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