The following outline will set up a whole baseball practice incorporating fundamental skills, drills and games. These drills should be done at every practice but maybe switched around to break up the monotony. Remember to incorporate some games at the beginning and at the end of each practice. During the practice be sure to give out incentives for players that are paying attention, hustling and improving their skills. An example of an incentive would be baseball cards. Keep in mind that you could take the 50 drills in the practice organization video and change them with the drills listed in this practice. The drills listed in this practice will also be seen on the video.
Items you will need to run a fun and organized practice:
Fundamentals to Practice
2) Catching a Baseball
4) Base Running
- Soft baseballs, same size as a real baseball
- Wiffle balls
- Tennis balls & Racquet
- Stop watch or watch
- Note pad or index cards
- Batting Tee’s, approximately 4
- A couple of coaches
- A parent just to supervise
- Flat bases or orange cones, to identify stations
Keep in mind that the very first practice the players will take some time to get accustomed to the drills and techniques. Try and use the same terminology and do not expect perfection right away. After a couple of practices things will go a lot smoother.
5pm Team gathers for a team meeting and to place equipment in the proper area. When having a meeting have the players go to one knee. This will keep them more still. Also, face them away from the sun or moving objects for a longer attention span.
5:05 Football toss
Two lines at opposite ends, one in right and one in left field. They toss the ball to coach and run half speed; on the run the coach will toss them a baseball. This is fun and a great way to start getting loose. At the same time the player is learning to catch the ball on the run by running on the balls of their feet and not on their heels. As they catch the baseball they continue running to the next line. Once they do a couple of these then they increase the running speed.
5:10 Agility drills
These drills will be done in 4 lines divided equally. Try and have the players keep their gloves on so that they may get accustomed to it. Get them used to always having the glove on the opposite hand they throw with.
- High Knees
- High knees backwards
- Swing and run
5:15 Flexibility training
This is a technique to allow the players to work on flexibility along with building muscle memory for the proper fundamentals. The players are in 4 lines staggered and spread out. They will work on the key areas of each fundamental skill. The coach will yell out fundamental positions and the players have to get in it right away. Players must go through the right movements and positions to build muscle memory before going into real action.
- Throwing position
- Fielding position
- Hitting position
- Ready position
- Sliding position
5:20 Fielding practice (Your stations will rotate every 5-7 minutes.)
Do a drill prior to setting up your fielding drills. Players will do this with no glove at first. All one group. Place players on both knees and have them roll a ball to each other to work on fielding the ball with the hands only. This will isolate the upper body. They can roll 10 to each other while they are on their knees. Do this with no glove for 10 and then with gloves, 10. The Soft hands device will force them to field a ball with two hands.
The next thing you will do is the following drill. These are group drills. This drill allows the players to field a ball at the right position before they continue to throw it back. Players will be lined up (you can have 2-3 lines depending on the number of coaches), and the coach roles a baseball to the first player in line. At the fielding position they must stop with the ball in the glove. When the coach yells pop, then they go to the throwing position. The coach will then yell throw and they throw the ball to the coach. Do this several times for each player. This drill will show each player the proper position to field the ball and will help build that muscle memory.
5:25 Three fielding stations:
- Field/Pop and throw
- Circle drill
- 4 corner fielding
5:40 Throwing & Catching practice
As a group, 2 lines facing each other, place the players 5-10 feet apart and on one knee. Right-handed throwers on right knee and opposite for lefties. By using a colored baseball as shown in the coaches academy, grip the ball properly and use your wrist only to flick the ball to your partner. This will assure proper wrist movement and spin of the ball. 5-10 throws per partner.
Next, move the players back 30-40 feet or appropriate distance for your age group. Do not place the players too far; you would rather that they concentrate on m echanics rather than velocity. Place the players on one knee again and now they point the front shoulder to the partner and throw the ball with only the upper body. This will allow them to focus on the proper movement of the upper body. After 5-10 throws, you can move them back further and start the next drill standing up.
The players will be placed facing sideways with the front shoulder facing the person they are throwing to. They can shuffle and throw. Always throw the ball from an upward to a downward motion. You always want the ball to travel in a downward momentum.
Finally, this drill is the same as the fielding drill, except the player will catch the ball tossed by the coach and then the player goes to a throwing position. The coach yells throw and they throw. This assures the player that they are getting into the correct throwing position before they throw.
Here is a sample practice that was switched
around to break up monotony.
Team meeting and equipment gathering
Agility drills with glove
Throwing & Catching practice
- 3 throwing drills
Hitting Practice - 3 hitting drills
Fielding practice - 3 fielding drills
Games, then end of practice
5:50 Three Throwing stations:
- Hat Drill
- 4 corner drill
- Tee Drill
6:05 Hitting practice:
Save hitting for last - players like it and look forward to it. Let them know at the beginning of practice that they will hit toward the end of practice if all goes smooth. Spread the players out to the point they can swing the bat and they have lots of room. Safety is very important here. Make sure the players are lined up so that they are all facing a pitcher in the same direction. Go over how to grip a bat and get into a good stance right away. Once they are in a stance, you will take them into the approach and swing. Several dry swings will take place next.
Another way to change the practice is
to change the drills around.
Meeting and equipment gathering
Agility drills with glove
This time you will have no introduction drill such as Fielding practice. You will go right into the drills. Do this after your 3rd or 4th practice because the players have become accustomed to the drills.
Practice Begins - 3 stations 5-10 minutes each
Field pop and throw
Two-corner wiffle ball drill 3 stations, 5-10 minutes each Circle game
4 corner throwing
2 tees hit to fielder 3 stations, 5-10 minutes each
4 corner fielding
Toss and hit
Games , then end of practice
6:10 3 Hitting stations:
- Two corner wiffle ball drill
- Coach toss and hit
- 2 tees and hit to fielder
6:25 The last part of practice: Save this for something fun, a game which will work on the basic fundamentals. Below are listed several games which will be described on the video.
- Running base game with two teams
- Six man infield with a clock
- Six man tee game with no outfielders
- Tee ball game with wearing a helmet and running the bases
- Piggy back up
- Relay game, can be incorporated as a throwing drill
Remember the 5 P’s of practice: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
Good Luck this season. Yours for Better Baseball, Peter M. Caliendo.
Pete Caliendo has been a professional baseball coach and scout for over 15 years. He has coached in 11 countries, been an instructor for Major League Baseball International and USA Baseball, run the Belgium National team, and has been responsible for selection and development of U.S. entries in the Pan American Youth Championships, guiding those teams to gold medals in 1992, 1993 and 1996. His Baseball Made Easy instructional video series is specifically designed for volunteer coaches. All five videos will have over 100 drills, skills and games to help you organize a great practice.