How do you teach the basic skills of baseball to kids? With daily practice, even the youngest athletes can learn how to hit and throw a baseball. It is important to focus on teaching the fundamentals first so that kids can build a good foundation for developing later. This article will serve as a helpful guide for the basic skills of baseball and how to teach them to kids in a fun and developing way.
Teaching Basic Baseball Skills
The four basic skills of baseball that every kid needs to learn are catching/fielding, throwing, hitting, and base running. Fielding and throwing are defensive skills while hitting and base running are used on offense. These are the basic fundamentals that should be taught to all youth players in order to help them improve their game. Once the basic foundations are set in place, youth players will be ready to learn more advanced drills and mechanics. For now, we will focus on each of the four basic skills and provide you with some helpful drills for teaching these to kids.
Teaching players how to properly field and catch a baseball will reduce the chances of a child being injured during normal gameplay. You will have safer practices and games when kids know the basic skills required to catch and field. Catching is usually taught first, especially with younger players but the basics of fielding are often comprehendible when taught together. Once a player is confident with catching a baseball, they can move on to learning how to properly field a baseball and get into a good throwing position.
Warm-up: The Ball Transfer Drill makes a good warm-up for youth players. This drill can also be used to teach kids how to grip a baseball. Use the Three-Point Defense Drill to get kids warmed up and to begin teaching them the basics of fielding and catching.
Catching and Fielding Drills: Hand-eye coordination is essential for catching. To increase a player’s ability to see and catch a ball, we recommend the Mini Wiffle Ball Drill. Kids love it and it teaches them the basics of catching. The A Drill is a great drill option for visually teaching players how to move in order to field a ball.
Throwing, while simple at first glance, throwing +is actually an incredibly complex synchronization of the body. Youth players must warm up to the idea of getting the entire body into a throw. Understanding the mechanics of a throw and developing that skill will help kids throw the ball with velocity and accuracy. Being able to hit a target in the chest is one of the most crucial skills needed for effective defense.
Warm-up: Knee Dart Throws make a great warm-up drill and can be progressed into a full throw. Knee dart throws can precede the Long Toss Game or be combined into one warm-up drill. The Long Toss Game allows the kids to practice throwing while participating in a fun game. It also allows you to walk among the kids and see who needs help.
Throwing drills: The Accuracy Throwing Drill is a great drill to begin teaching kids the mechanics of throwing while helping to increase their accuracy. When ready, kids can progress to the Shuffle Posture Throwing Drill. This drill might be difficult for younger players but once kids understand the basics, they should be ready to add in basic foot mechanics into their throw.
There is no doubt, kids love hitting! This will be their favorite part of practice. When it comes to youth players, it’s best to avoid bad batting habits or they may be harder to overcome later. Teaching youth players proper swing mechanics will help them develop muscle memory. Hitting is without a doubt one of the hardest aspects of the game to master so be patient with younger players. They may not comprehend hitting mechanics at first but with practice, you should begin to see improvement.
Warm-up: The Solo Toss Hitting Drill can be done with a coach or while practicing alone. This is an excellent warm-up drill and is effective for increasing hand-eye coordination for youth players, an essential skill for learning to hit.
Hitting Drills: The Square Open Regular Toss Drill is a progressive hitting drill. Here, players can learn how to hit a ball while being coached. This drill allows for one-on-one time working through the hitting motion. The focus of this drill remains on the upper body. When players are ready to learn the lower body mechanics, try the Full Turn Hitting Drill. Players will feel the turn in the lower half of the body. This teaches them proper swing mechanics, reducing the risk of injury and begins muscle memory training.
Effective base running requires more than speed. Coaches should focus on teaching their kids how to stay alert and watch for signals. Additionally, kids need to learn the correct way to run the bases including proper footwork and running through the base. On a more advanced level, kids should learn the importance of tagging up and how to properly slide.
Warm-up: Use the Running Through and Rounding Base Drills to teach players how to properly run the bases. Make sure that the players are staying alert and watching for signals from the coach. Give feedback when necessary, so that players know the proper methods for running through and rounding bases. Additionally, try the Touching the Front Corner Drill for further practice on base running technique.
Base Running Drills: We recommend the 5-in-1 Base Running Drill be added to regular practice. This is a fun one for the kids to run and lets everyone get involved at the same time. Players can go for speed while maintaining proper base running form and technique. The Rundown Drill can also be used for more advanced players and will allow players to practice catching, throwing, and running at the same time.
With these tips, your young ballplayer will learn the basic skills of baseball and get a jumpstart on becoming a great baseball player. Learn other skills to teach your child by following using our guides and FAQs.