Baseball For Youth - Tee-Ball

 

Baseball For Youth interesting to you? Think coaching Tee Ball Drills or a Tee Ball team period, is just for fun and you have no real responsibility to the kids. I mean they’re probably mixed teams, boys and girls, the parents don’t expect much except for their kid to have fun. It’s all fun and games with no pressure to win, they don’t even keep score, no responsibility on your shoulders like a coach of a 14 or 15 year old players baseball team.

  If that's your attitude...don't coach. Why? Have you ever considered You are their first experience with playing baseball on a team, or You could very well instill the work ethic they may adhere to the rest of their life, or You could be the reason of their failure or success when they try to progress to upper levels of baseball. 

Baseball For Youth - Good Mechanics

 Put a little different light on the subject? Tee Ball is to baseball what crawling is to learning to sprint. You gotta start somewhere and a good solid base will be of a great advantage to spring board to the next level.

 Alright, we’ve had our attitude adjustment and you still want to coach. Great. Let's begin the learning process.

  Kids at this age have a very limited attention span, this is not an insurmountable issue, as long as we are aware of the issue and have a plan to handle it.

  When first faced with this issue I asked a Professional Person on how to address the issue, A Kindergarten Teacher and she was a wealth of information and inspiration for me. The kids did not act like a band of wild Indians in her classroom nor did they ignore or back talk her and She assured me I could do the same with a little coaching.

Pass it Forward is the current saying for give back what was given to you. So I’ll share the advise this teacher gave me, then add a few of my experiences and suggestions. 

Hats Off For National Anthem-Baseball For Youth 

 Suggestion 1: You’re not a drill sergeant, but if you let the kids know from the beginning that you are the Coach (Teacher) and are to be listened to at all times, the kids will listen. Kids are anxious to please. That’s not saying they won’t have their days of showing up to practice bouncing off the walls, but as a whole they will behave. 

 Suggestion 2: Kids will respond to what you expect. In other words, if you don’t expect them to learn or work …they won’t, but if you take the time and patience to teach and let them know you expect them to learn what you’re teaching…they will try their best to learn it.

 Suggestion 3: The Tee Ball Drills must be fun and interesting, a lot of this will depend on how you deliver the drill. You can make some awful boring things in life seem interesting if you’re creative enough, but you won’t have to worry about that because I’m going to guide you through some basic practice Tee Ball drills. 

 Some of the kids on the team will have older siblings and may be advanced in some aspects of the game and that is fine, but you must coach for the absolute novice. I’m talking the kid who’s an only child and lives on a farm 10 miles out of town with no communication with other kids. You must start at square 1. Besides, the more advanced kids will learn the proper way of playing the game from you, an experienced and knowledgeable coach.

Baseball For Youth - The Ultimate Goal

 Let’s begin with the three basic issues Throwing, Catching and Hitting and Tee Ball Drills to address them.

 Throwing Tee Ball Drills:  As a team teach the basics of how to throw. Individual coaching comes a little later, but you want everybody trying to learn the same thing at the same time.

Baseball For Youth - Team Mates Practicing

   Line the team up in a single line, semi circle and have them sit down where they all can see you. Then explain you’re going to show them how to throw a baseball the proper way, always throw that little phrase in or else Little Johnny is going to let you know he already knows how to throw a baseball.  *** Be smarter than Johnny and cut him off at the pass. ***

  Show them you place your thumb under the baseball, with two or three fingers on top of it. Don’t worry about explaining about the seams, that’s a long ways off.

Eyes on the target. Legs at shoulder width apart, turn sideways your glove hand pointing towards the target, the throwing hand extended out backwards away from the target.Baseball For Youth 

Baseball For Youth - Good Throwing Mechanics

Step towards your target with the opposite foot of your throwing hand, pushing off your rear foot begin your throwing motion, ending with your weight on the forward foot. Release the ball and follow through with your arm motion.

 Make it fun: Place a large basket, laundry or fruit basket at home plate. Have the players spread out in a semi circle along the infield perimeter. Have them try to throw the ball into the basket. You can split the team in half and keep score for the team who hits or gets the closest to the basket.

Making It Fun & Informative-Baseball For Youth

Catching Tee Ball Drill: Begin with catching ground balls, then proceed to catching bouncing balls. Using a baseball roll the ball to the player and teach him / her to get down on the ball, watch the ball all the way into the glove and cover the ball into the glove with the bare hand.

To begin this drill, the player should wear his / her glove. Using a rubber or tennis ball, gently bounce the ball to the player. Teach the player to try and catch the ball with both hands, but have them pay particular attention to the way their glove hand is turned depending on high or low they catch the ball. This will begin orientating them to how their hand should be with the glove on, but not being able to see their hand.

Good Fielding Position - Baseball For Youth

Make it fun: split the team in half, in a straight line facing one another. Have a player roll a regular baseball to the opposing player, who will catch the ball then return roll it back to the other player. Keep score of which team catches the most grounders. Go through the entire line twice.

Then switching to rubber or tennis balls, have them throw a 1 bouncer to each other. Keep score, 1 point if you catch the ball, minus 1 point if it’s a bad throw.

 Let’s look at what you have accomplished so far. 

1. You have taught them how to hold and throw a baseball.

2. The Basket throw has strengthened their throwing abilities and has begun the process of being accurate with their throws.

3. You have taught them how to field a ground ball and a one hopper hit to them. Again you have increased the skill of throwing a ball by having them 1 bounce it to a player.

Not too shabby.

 Hitting Tee Ball Drill:  Demonstrate the basics to the entire team before allowing them to begin hitting.

1. Show them the Proper way to hold a bat, hands together, no cross handed holds. Don’t worry about talking about lining your knuckles up or anything more advanced than just holding the bat right.

Baseball For Youth-Teach As A Team When Possible

2. Show them how to take a batting stance. Feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, bat held up with barrel behind their head. Hands and tee ball bat away from the body, good balance, looking at the tee.

3. Show them how to swing and hit the ball. Slight step forwards, eyes focused on the ball, level swing, weight transfer forward, extend arms and follow through after hitting the ball. 

Place a hat or rag or some item @ 3’ away from them where they try to lay the bat down on as they make their last hit and run to first base. This will get them in the habit of laying the bat down and not throwing it. A little safety tip.

  As a Coach with a purpose and a plan …Your players are now throwing, catching and hitting. Maybe not quite as smooth as we’d like or as consistent, but hey, look how far you’ve brought them already. 

Good Tee Ball Basics-Baseball For Youth 

   We have determined our responsibilities of teaching our Tee Ball players the game of baseball is more important than possibly first thought. Fun & games …yes, but with a serious side of learning the basics of baseball. Let’s briefly examine drills which will give your team a head start on being good baseball players

 Fielding Ground Balls: Teach your players to stand with their legs apart, shoulder width or slightly wider. They should bend their knees, getting low with their glove touching the ground. Run to the ball, keep the ball in front of you and watch the ball all the way into the glove then cover it with the bare hand. 

  Split the team up and have each coach take 4 - 5 players and roll ground balls to them. If by yourself, pair the players up and have them roll the ball back and forth to one another.

Eye On the Ball-Baseball For Youth

 Fielding Fly Balls: Don’t give yourself heartburn over kids not being able to consistently catch fly balls, it’s a difficult task to learn. Your job is to teach them the basics.

  Teach them to run to the ball while keeping their eyes on it. Teach them to yell “I got it!”. This may be the single most important habit you’ll teach future outfielders, the skill to communicate. They are to keep their hands at least at shoulder height, glove open waiting for the ball, watching the ball into the glove and cover up with the bare hand..

  Split the team up with each coach taking 4 - 5 players. Underhand toss fly balls to each player, don’t make the throws too high, but get an arch on it, we’re not practicing catching line drives. Watch for proper mechanics and make sure they call for the ball.

 Running the Bases:  The very first thing you teach is which way to run the bases. Kids getting excited about getting a hit and running to third base is not just in the movies, it happens. Be sure they understand the correct sequence of running from home plate to first, then second and so on.

  The second most important issue is to teach them to run through first base. They are not to slow down as they approach the base, nor are they to jump on it.

Learned In Tee Ball- Baseball For Youth

 Have the players form a single line at home plate. You, as the coach, stand at first base and yell “Go” to each individual runner. Make sure they run through the base touching it, slow down and turn to the right ,might as well start getting them used to doing it correctly, and run back to the base.

The Home Run: Teach the players to run a straight line to the base. Show them how to swing out a bit before getting to the base and tagging it on the edge of the base. In the excitement players probably won’t cut the bases like we showed them, but they have been exposed to the proper way to run the bases. 

Proper Throwing Mechanics - Baseball For Youth 

Throwing a Baseball:  Show them the proper way to hold a baseball, thumb under the ball, two or three fingers across the top of the ball. Don’t worry about holding it across the seams, they’re a long way from having to worry about that.

  Have them turn their body sideways with their glove hand extended outward towards the target, while their throwing arm is extended backwards away from the target. Have them step towards the target, bringing their back leg around as they bring their arm forward and throw the ball. Make sure they follow through with their motion and maintain eye contact with the target.

A Little Advanced - Baseball For Youth 

   We tend to take for granted the players know what positions there are and what that position’s duties are. Shame on us, but I’m guilty of that myself. Take the entire team on a “Field Trip” around the baseball field showing each position and a brief explanation of the position.

First Base: Show where the 1st baseman plays when there is no runner and how he positions himself with a base runner. It doesn’t matter if stealing is allowed or not, it’s showing them the proper method for playing first base.

Second Base: Show where the second baseman plays. Show how he covers the base if there is a steal attempt.

Shortstop: Identical to second base demonstration.

Third Base: Show where to play and how to be sure you’re always in fielding position because the balls are normally coming fast. Don’t emphasize that fact too much or you risk the chance of scaring the players.

Pitcher: Show where the pitcher stands and that he’s as much a fielder as anyone else. He stops all balls hit up the middle.

Catcher: Show where the catcher stands or squats, making sure they understand to stay far enough away from the batter to not get hit.

Outfielders: There are more than 3 outfielders so your best bet is to remind each of them the importance of yelling for the ball.

Baseball For Youth - Playing SS


  Here are more drills you can use to teach baseball for youth and keep it fun.

 Play catch  Divide the team into two or more players playing catch. Count the number of successful catches and see who wins.

 Crow Hop: You have taught the basics of throwing, so let’s expand on the skill. Show the team how to step and take a crow hop. Have the team form a single line facing you. When you say “Throw” or “Hop” they should all crow hop forward towards you pretending they are throwing the ball. Don’t concentrate on the throwing mechanics as much as the crow hop at this particular time.

 Dive Drill   The kids will of course love this one, but it does serve a purpose. Roll ground balls to one side or the other of the fielder. He is to dive, stop the ball, get up and throw it to first base.

  Make sure they are in proper low fielding position and the ball is far enough away from them they can or must dive for it. A couple of turns per player is usually enough. They love getting dirty.

Kneeling Ground Ball Drill  Have players face one another 10 - 15 feet apart. They are to be on their knees and will roll the ball back and forth to one another. This drill is designed to make the player watch the ball all the way into the glove while in a low position.

 Run Down or Hot Box  Place two bases 25 - 30 feet apart. Two fielders will position themselves at each base and throw the ball back and forth to one another. There will be 1 base runner. This runner will try to go to the next base safely before the fielders can tag him out.

  This drill teaches accurate throwing and catching, as well as teaching the runner what it feels like to be in a run down.

Implementing these baseball for youth Tee Ball Drills should keep you and your team busy the entire season. It’s important to remember each drill, no matter how simplistic or maybe even silly you think it may be, is designed with a specific skill in mind to enhance. Sometimes multiple skills are involved.

It's also important to remember drills far above their skill levels are to be utilized as a "Show & Tell" experience and they should not be expected to actually perform the skills.

  Teach these Tee Ball Drills, keep it fun and exciting and you’ll have a great year and so will your kids. Good Luck.

  

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