Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fun Drills for Tee Ball Practice

By Jim Bain

Don't believe kids in Tee-ball should be pushed to learn anything, that it's all just fun. Have you ever considered You are these kids first experience with playing baseball on a team, that you could very well be responsible for instilling the work ethic they may adhere to the rest of their life
Kids at this age have a very limited attention span, which is disconcerting sometimes, but is not an insurmountable issue, as long as we have a plan to handle it. Here are some suggestions which will help.

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, but that's not saying they won't have their days of showing up to practice bouncing off the walls,

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, which can be quite difficult at times, but you won't have to worry about that because I'm going to guide you through some basic practice drills.

Let's begin with the three basic issues Throwing, Catching and Hitting.

Throwing Tee Ball Drill: Always teach the basics in a team environment, teaching everybody the same thing at the same time.

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.

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.

Catching Tee Ball Drill: Begin with catching ground balls, then proceed to catching bouncing balls. Using a baseball roll the ball to the player. 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 not 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.

Make it fun: split the team in half, in a straight line facing one another. Have a player roll the 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.

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.

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.

A little safety tip. Place a rag @ 4' away from them and instruct them to 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.
Jim Bain, former Minor league baseball player, who since retiring has dedicated his life to teaching baseball to youth, shares his advice on pitching baseball drills on his exciting info packed website:
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Rivergirl said...

You might want to check your blog for grammar and punctuation. Seriously. It's really not all about T-ball. It's really not.

Jenny said...

Thank you for the great ideas! Excellent blog!

Jenny said...

Thank you for the great ideas! Excellent blog!