Coaching kids – especially in little league – can be challenging. Not only do you need to nurture their enthusiasm, but they also keep them focused. However, achieving success is easier said than done.
In this article, we’ll be sharing seven different Little League baseball drills with a proven track record of effectiveness. These should help your players develop the necessary skills and serve as a solid foundation for future endeavors. It will help win more games, too.
7 Little League Baseball Drills to Help Out Coaches
Relay throws help players develop the proper skills, techniques, and timing needed to cut off runners. It begins when an offensive player is on-base and everyone else in a defensive position. Each time a hit is made, the coach will instruct players where to direct the ball. Of course, their ultimate goal must be to throw out their opponent.
This drill may seem complicated, but it also builds chemistry and communication among members. Relay throws even double as a team-building exercise, too.
Catching a fly ball can be intimidating for youngsters. Getting conked doesn’t just hurt, but it is also quite embarrassing, especially with a massive crowd watching. Thus, running some pop flies in practice should help teach them the basics and most importantly, calm their nerves.
For beginners, we would recommend using a tennis or stress ball. Lob them in the air and instruct your players to catch each one. Try different variants, too, where catchers are called randomly or in a line position. This should help build momentum, increasing everyone’s chances of completing the drill.
Throwing in Pairs Drill
Flinging a baseball the correct way requires mastery and countless hours of repetition. Those are exactly what our next drill helps develop. It may seem straightforward, but throwing and catching in pairs is one of the most effective training techniques a coach can employ.
Ask your players to square off by two’s. Make sure also that there is approximately 12-feet of space between them. This way, they use enough force when tossing the ball.
Conduct this exercise in sets of three with 10 to 15 reps each. You can even modify the mechanics, too, by adjusting the distance, angle, and amount of throws, depending on your objectives.
The Pitching Towel Drill
Throwing a baseball over and over can cause severe fatigue, especially for children. And this isn’t something you want. That’s why even though there are several training aids available, sometimes, nothing beats a towel for pitching drills. It is simple, cheap, and oh-so
Players should wrap this piece of cloth twice around their two fingers. Then, fling it forward like they would an actual baseball. As the coach, make sure you evaluate your team member’s form, stride length, and point of release. Try other variations, too, where there’s a target for them to hit.
Now, this may seem silly; but it will help develop proper conditioning while building the correct muscle memory. It’s an ideal warm-up exercise as well.
Box Running Drills
Our next workout is pretty straightforward. All you’ll need are four brightly-colored cones. Simply position them in a square shape. Make sure there is approximately 12-feet between each one. This way, your players will have a lot of room to run.
Basically, ask your players in whichever way you want, whether forward, backward, or side-to-side. Mix things up by changing the reps and instructions for different individuals, depending on their needs.
We would also advise turning this into a contest. Time who in your team does this drill the fastest. It won’t just improve their lateral movements and ability to change directions, but bring out their competitive fire, too.
Squashing the Bug
Batting is arguably every baseball player’s favorite activity. But to be truly efficient at it, one needs the proper posture, footing, and stance. Those are exactly what our next drill develops.
Squashing the Bug is really simple. Every time someone swings to hit a ball, make sure they’re planting their feet firmly, almost like smooshing cockroaches. This teaches them proper weight control, resulting in better hand-eye coordination. As a result, your stroke should become all the more accurate.
Building on what was previously mentioned, batting is an exciting yet incredibly precise action. It requires tons of practice, careful examination, and hitting the ball at the perfect spot. Once you do, it should lunge forward rather than fly off. A double-tee drill should help reinforce the proper techniques.
As its name suggests, set up two tees and make each player step up to bat. Remind them to hit the ball squarely at its center, which will happen if they do so without touching either stand. Ultimately, it is good practice for stepping up to the plate in an actual in-game situation.
Do this in two or three reps to build a smooth flow. It’s a lot more effective when conducted this way.
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Key Things to Remember About Little League Baseball Drills
Make It Fun
Most – if not all – children have a short attention span, and that is something every little league coach has to deal with. Keeping your players focused is a lot easier said than done.
One way of doing so is by employing appealing Little League baseball drills during practice to keep them engaged. Think out of the box by constantly changing things up. This way, every workout is considered unique and there won’t ever be a dull moment.
Oh, and don’t forget to say a joke or two when explaining how to conduct each exercise. It should go a long way in setting the mood.
Tell Them Your Purpose
Of course, practice sessions should never be all fun and games. As a coach, it’s likewise up to you how to discipline your team and teach them the correct habits. That can only be achieved when everyone has a similar goal.
This may seem more taxing, but it gives your entire team a stronger sense of purpose, which often leads to longer-term success. It will likewise be a lot easier to inspire them.
Harness That Competitive Fire
Nothing brings out the best in an individual, much like a sense of competition. Turning everyday workouts into contests simulates the environment of an actual game. It teaches your players to be comfortable around pressure, which is always around every corner. Most importantly, though, it serves as an added motivation to perform every single time.
As a little league coach, nothing is more challenging than helping your team reach their full potential. But with the help of these seven basic drills, we hope that each workout session moving forward is as engaging as the last one.
Just remember to maintain a careful balance of enjoyment and efficiency. Doing so will lift the entire team to greater heights, yet still, have fun doing it.
My name is David Farnum and I’ve been a Little League Coach in my community for the past 7 years. With 2 boys playing baseball and 1 girl playing softball, most weekends I can be found near a baseball diamond.