Coaching baseball to kids 10 years and below can be as fun as it can be challenging. Such training has to incorporate drills that are fun, safe, and most importantly, it is performance improving. Since you are dealing with children, your focus should on maximum engagement among these young ones and delivering these drills in a fun way.
As you do this, you’ll endeavor to focus on the following aspects:
- Reinforcing basic rules of the game
As a kids’ coach several drills meet these criteria and which you can include in your coaching sessions to achieve.
Let’s highlight a number of these drills to enrich your coaching sessions.
Baseball Drills for 6-Year-Olds
Six-year-olds are still in their formative years as baseball players. At this level, you focus on the basics but in a fun and engaging way.
Hitting Drills for Kids Age 6 Years Olds
When these kids first get to the field, what they want to do is hit. That is the first compelling image they have of baseball. This means, as a first step you have to include a sufficient amount of fun hitting drills in your practices to ensure you tap on this enthusiasm.
Here are examples of hitting drills for 10-year-olds and under.
Kiss the ball
Purpose: This kid’s baseball drill aims at helping the children understand that there are different phases of executing the swing. This drill breaks down the swing to levels where the kids will understand it. The kiss drill allows the kids to make slow motion swings at the baseball. By doing this, the kids can focus on improving their swinging.
As a coach, your primary responsibility is to break the swing into small bits so that the kid player can easily digest and comprehend what you are telling them to do.
Step 1: Have the player get to the tee. Ensure they position their feet correctly.
Step 2: Let the kid take a swing and halt it just before hitting the baseball- this step is what gives this drill its name ‘Kiss the ball”
Over time the young players will start developing muscular movement memory. Their coordination will also improve.
Step 3: Get the kids to repeat these movements of swinging but halting before hitting the ball. Repeat this severally.
Step 4: Allow the kids to complete the swing by hitting the ball
Purpose: This drill is intended to help the kid player to remember to drop the bat and throw it away after hitting the ball.
Procedure: Set up a simple batting environment and place a bucket nearby. If you don’t have a bucket, mark an area where the player is supposed to drop the bat after making a hit.
Remember, while this drill is not developing any skill, it helps to ensure the safety of your kid players and can be used in combination with other hitting drills that dwell on this technique.
You cause this drill together with the “Kiss the Ball” drill discussed above.
Fielding Drills for 6-Year-Olds
Planning and executing fielding drills for this age requires you to focus on the following four key areas:
- Having your players to understand the layout of the field and how it works
- Catching and Throwing the baseball with confidence
- Running to the bases
- Encouraging blunders and building confidence through step by step learning
Several fielding drills meet this threshold and are ideal for kids this age. Let’s highlight two of them.
Purpose: This drill helps to develop the overall arm strength of the players as well as improve his throwing accuracy.
Procedure: Set your players such that they stand 20ft, 14ft, or 7ft away from the batting tee. Place a single ball on top of the batting tee. The player has to throw the ball and knock the ball off the tee. There several ways to carry out this drill. It’s up to you to do it the way you feel best suits the team.
Teach the basics of throwing the ball but do not be afraid to proceed to a competitive game.
You can even have better drills by setting up multiple tees across the practice field for larger groups. You can make the drill more realistic by including other fielding drills in the session.
Hitting Drills for Kids Age 7 Years Olds
Now we turn to kids a year older than the previous category, seven-year-old baseball players. To polish there hitting skills the following drills can come in handy:
Purpose: This drill aims at helping the young batter to become better-skilled batters. As the young players get more confident in continually hitting the ball correctly you can up the game by introducing the ‘Target Hit’ drill.
This drill does not only focus on the hit but also the accuracy and precision of the hit.
Procedure: Place the markers or buckets conveniently. You can assign points to each of these targets
To succeed in carrying out this drill you have to set up a tee and then allow the target player to move towards the batting tee as they would normally do. Coach them through the swing with each player aiming to hit one of the buckets or markers.
As the players progress in hitting the targets, you can adjust the distances of the baseball bucket or marker from the players.
Fielding Drills for 7-Year-Olds
Other than hitting, young players of age 7 have to polish other skills too. For now let’s focus on the second type of drill, fielding. Here is an example of a fielding drill for players of this age:
Purpose: The objective here is to enhance the players’ familiarity with the ball. Young players are inclined to shy away from the ball. This drill aims at getting rid of this fear that the ball will hit and hurt them.
Procedure: Begin this drill with your players working alone. Use different throws at varying heights and get them to throw the ball and let them practice catching it. You can use different balls to achieve this objective, from weighted training balls to foam balls.
After that, let the players work in pairs throwing balls to each other.
These drills are by no means the only baseball drills for kids but they suffice to show you the potential you have to enhance the skills of these young baseball enthusiasts. Bear in mind, these are the formative years in baseball. If you as a coach get it right, these players will end up being some of the finest baseball players.
These drills are simple and use everyday equipment. As you train these kids, keep it simple and fun. If you become an overbearing coach you might end up scaring away these baseball fans. To ensure you get it right it’s a great idea to prepare well-thought-out practice plans for each practice session.
A practice plan ensures you clarify your objectives which in turn form a basis of self-appraisal and improvement as a baseball coach.