Hand and Eye Practice
Purchase a dozen practice golf whiffle balls. Then either purchse a 3/4" dowel rod 30" in length or cut off a old wooden broom handle. You may want to consider wrapping the hitting end with a little Duct Tape to give it some added weight.
The small whiffle balls may then be pitched to a player to hit with the small diameter bat. You will quickly see that the batter makes more contact the more they use this.
Makes a great station during practice or a pregame warm up that can be done with one player and one coach but a second player shagging balls really helps.
This also make a great backyard game when you have limited space and you do not have to worry about broken windows.
Soft Toss Ideas
Here’s a great soft toss drill: place blue painters tape on half of the balls used for soft toss, whiffle balls work great for this. When the batter swings at the ball, he either yells out “white” or ”blue” depending on the color of the ball he hits. If he strikes a ball with the blue tape on it, then the batter yells out, “blue” upon contact. This forces the batter to keep his eye on the ball and not turn his head too soon, like many youth players do.
Low Cost Hitting Net
Utilize your backyard, basement or garage for loads of fun. A great inexpensive idea for practicing hitting techniques, instead of purchasing an expensive net, is to put something together yourself for less than $30.00. Buy a 10 X 12 blue plastic tarp in a hardware store, four bicycle hooks, and four bungee cords. Spread out and attach the tarp between two trees in the backyard or floor joist in the basement or garage, about 8-10 feet apart. Use the bicycle hooks or just tie off the tarp with the bungee cords to spread out the tarp so that it hangs to the ground. You can hit into the tarp from off a batting tee or with a parent or friend tossing a ball for the batter. Whiffle balls also work extremely well for this. Saves a few bucks and is a great project to do with your child.
County Fair Drill
Here is a fun drill called "County Fair." It provides exposure to nearly every aspect of baseball defense.
The drill starts with 6 players:
The 5-6 remaining players feed into the center field position from left field. We usually station a coach in left field to keep the non-participants busy working on ground ball technique or turning to run down fly balls.
The drill begins with a coach at home plate hitting a ground ball to the shortstop.
Shortstop fields the grounder and throws to 1st base,
1st base throws 3rd base,
3rd base fields the throw on the bag then fires to 2nd base to start a 5-4-3 double play (second baseman after throwing to first becomes a baserunner at second)
1st baseman then throws to the catcher in his stance behind home plate.
Catcher comes up and fires to second base as if a runner is stealing from first to second (no one is covering second).
As the catcher fields the throw, the second baseman takes off as if he is trying to score from second on a single to center (as he rounds 3rd he flips his glove toward the dugout)
Since no one is covering second, the ball bounds into the outfield where the center fielder make a "do-or-die" scoop and then fires the ball to home on a long hop to the catcher who blocks the plate and tries to tag the second baseman who is sliding into home.
The coach then blows a whistle and the players rotate as follows:
Second baseman/runner to left field to the end of the feeder line
Catcher to 3rd base
3rd base to SS
SS to Second base/baserunner
First base to catcher
1st in line in LF becomes the center fielder
CF sprints to first base
As the centerfielder arrives at 1st base, the coach hits another groundball to the shortstop and the sequence begins again.
Initially, you may need to shout out the destination of each throw, but after 2 or 3 reps, they will be able to do it without any cues. This is a very snappy drill that really livens up practice. We have also used it for a pregame warm-up routine. After about 15 minutes, each player will have gone through each position 2-3 times.
Bunting is a big part of youth baseball. Here is a great way to motivate kids to improve their bunting. At every batting practice, place two cones approximately 5 feet apart from one another down the third base line and two cones 5 feet apart from one another down the first base line. The cones should be ten feet away from home plate. The player should bunt the first two pitches during batting practice in-between either set of cones. If the bunt goes through the cones, then he gets two extra swings during batting practice. Players can alternate bunting down the first and third base line. If coaches introduce this drill at the beginning of the season, then the team’s bunting skills will improve.
||Blue Springs Baseball