Baseball: Alternative Coaching Techniques
Standard-issue youth baseball practice has become exhausted. Normally, when kids arrive at practice they are enthusiastic. Then practice begins. Each batter gets 15-20 pitches, next batter. Each pitcher gets a certain number of tosses, next pitcher. Every player not involved stands around and watches aimlessly as they daydream about what tomorrow’s 15 pitches of fame may bring. As the seemingly mechanical practice progresses, the players’ enthusiasm soon turns into lethargy.
It doesn’t have to be like this, really. Imagine a practice that includes every player in most drills and integrates fun and learning. This can be done, and all it takes is a little creativity and preparation from the coaches. But coaches need not look at this as a chore. It can as much fun for a coach as it is for a player.
Try these two drills out for starters. First, start a simple relay race consisting of two lines with six players each. Have each player wear their glove with two baseballs in it. The lesson here is to teach the importance of squeezing the glove. Second, try this bunting drill. When the team takes batting practice, place a cone 10 feet directly in front of home plate and another cone 10 feet to the left of the first cone. Each player gets two bunts before their regular swings. For each bunt that goes through the cones, the player gets two extra swings. This will motivate the young player to focus when they bunt.
The coach should try to plan five to seven drills that are 10 to 12 minutes in length. This guarantees your players to be more attentive and less likely to be bored.
Be creative and have a great baseball season!