4 Youth Baseball Drills- 4 Practice
I am going to go over 4 youth baseball drills today. All of these drills are great for building a practice around. In baseball you have to work on fielding, pitching, hitting and base running. I am going to give you one drill for each of these. You supply the baseballs.
A good fielding drill will build a players skill level and confidence. This drill does both it is similar to playing hot potato. The players will all stand in a circle. I would recommend that you run at least 2 or 3 groups. There will be one ball in a group. As the players get better you can add more balls. One player will toss the ball to any other player. The player must catch the ball and toss it immediately to another player other than the one who just tossed it to them. The first player to drop the ball three times loses and the drill starts over. This drill will develop quickness, hand-eye coordination, ball transfer skills, focus and teamwork.
A good drill to work on with pitchers during practice is coverage. A young pitcher tends to throw the ball and watch what happens. There are a lot of other things that a pitcher has to do besides throw strikes. I like to make sure that during my infield practice I have a pitcher or two running first base coverage and also backing up throws. Sometimes I will have my first baseman throw the ball across the diamond to third base during infield drills so the pitcher will get work running to back up throws to third. You can also have them backing up second base when the outfield is throwing the ball there.
Who doesn’t love hitting. A great drill for hitting is the Load and Reset drill. It is good for getting
hitters to understand the concept of getting their front foot down early. What you will do is set up a screen for BP. Put the screen about 20 ft. in front of the plate. The player will get ready to hit. You will be doing underhand front toss to start. Hold your arm out in front of you with the ball in your hand so the player can see it. Draw your arm back as if you are going to start your motion to throw. Go slow. Then you will bring your arm forward as if to toss the ball. Don’t throw it. The player’s job is to load and get there front toe down with their hands and weight still back waiting to swing. Repeat this a couple of times and then toss the ball. The player should be able to see the ball and take a good swing. After doing this a couple of times with a batter then start doing seated overhand tosses and just let them hit. If you don’t see a dramatic improvement in a player start back at the beginning.
Base running drills are not easy because you have to hold a young players interest. The best way to do this is to keep them involved. I like this drill because it works on skills they will need while keeping multiple players involved at once.
In this drill you will have 4 groups. One group at each base. The players that are at home plate will run to first base and run through the base as if they hit a ball to the infield. That means the runner will go full speed through first base and continue down the right field line for about 6 or 8 steps and turn to the right. At the same time the player on first base will run to second base as if the ball was hit to the outfield. This means the player will get to second base safely and round the base toward third then return to second base. Make sure players are rounding the base hard with their eyes directed to the third base coach. Also make sure that they hustle back to the base. The runners at second base are going to do the same thing going to third. They will be rounding the base and returning. The same rules apply round the base hard with eyes on the base coach. Hustle back. The players on third base will run home. I prefer to have them slide but that is up to you. Just remember that in youth baseball there are mandatory slide or give up rules if you don’t teach your players to slide they will get called out or worse, injured.
Once you have completed the first cycle of this drill you will run the second cycle. This gets a little more complicated.
The group at home plate will now hit a clean single. This means that they will round first base stop and return. After the player returns to first base they will jog outside the base path to line up at second base. The player that is on first will run from first to third base. The player will run from first to second round the base and continue running full speed to third base. The player at second base will go from second to home. Same thing applies the runner will run from second to third round the base and continue home. The player that is on third base will tag up then score. This player will take a couple of steps off of third base then retreat to the base keeping their foot on the base until the coach says go. At this point the player will sprint home as fast as possible. Teach your players to run full speed from third to home at all times so that other base runner’s will have the opportunity to advance behind them. This player will then jog to first base.
When running this drill for the first time I suggest that you keep it very controlled and make sure all of the players are where they are supposed to be or your lines will get very uneven very quickly.
There you have it 4 drills that you can build an entire practice around. Each will develop a players skills, confidence and knowledge of the game.
Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have used this drill or a variation of it. Also let me know if you have had success with them and why or why not.