Welcome Parents and T-ball players
We are always looking to find kind, compassionate and fun individuals who want to get involved with our association. That being said......many are fearful of what you actually have to teach a child at this level. It is quite simple and our goals are quite basic.
1. Helping the children to learn positions.
I have always found different ways to guide a child when learning where to run and where to stand. I have put flags at the bases and have said, "run to the first flag" emphasizing the word "first" and so on. After a while the kids get the hint. I have also sprayed a line on the grass and said to follow the line. I have encouraged kids to yell what base they are at when they touch it to familiarize themselves with the terminology. They do not even realize they are learning.
When learning the positions it is important to encourage repetition. I would tell the children we are going to learn the positions in T-ball. I have them follow me around the field and constantly repeat the name of that position each practice. I encourage the children to repeat what position they are going to once I give it to them and ask them to point to it for me. They just love to run out there and have a special place to run to that is all their own. I encourage all coaches to rotate kids at all the positions. They will find their favorites, and that is great, but work them around the field.
2. Improving glove/hand coordination.
First and foremost and I know it sounds silly but ask the kids which hand they write with. Why? Kids often do not know which hand the glove goes on or which hand to throw with. The writing hand is most likely the throwing hand. Remind them that the ball goes in the writing hand and the glove doesn't. Also ,another hint when coaching or parenting at this level is to remind the child not to remove the glove when in the field. I can't tell you how many kids take them off to catch a ball. It is just their instinct to catch a ball with both bare hands. Telling them that everytime a glove goes down grass/dirt comes up or your glove is like a shovel encourages them to get that glove down so the ball doesn't go under it. A very basic skill that does take some time to accomplish. Another key idea to remind the child or group is that when you throw the ball the last place you are pointing, with your throwing hand, is at the person you are throwing to. All of these skill may not happen or develop all at once, but as the season continues you'll see improvement. Praise it..... praise goes a long way.
3. Improving the batters swing.
Proper stance and swing are the goals in this area. If you have these two the actual hitting of the ball will soon follow. First make sure that the bat for the child is not too big or too heavy. It ,the bat, should come up to their hip bone. Always making sure the hands, feet and body of the batter are in the proper place is a start. Lining up the knuckles, reminding which hand is on top depending on the which hand they are, bat back and up, back elbow up, setting the tee level with the belly button, proper shoulder width position of the feet etc are all important basics that will follow with them for years to come. Lastly, encouraging the child or children to keep their eyes on the ball at all times. This goes for in the field too.
4. Controlling swarming.
At this level everyone wants to get the ball. I have tried many different ideas to control swarming after the ball. Reminding the children to stay on their side of the field helps. I even once drew a line down the middle of the field and said, " this side stays on this side and this side stays on this side." I have used the "I got it'" drill. Anytime in practice that I would throw or hit a ball at a player it was their job to yell "I got it," kids love to yell trust me it can be funny at times. Drawing imaginary circles or bubbles around the child and reminding them to stay in their circle or bubble sometimes works. What really works better than anything else is extra help in the field by a parent or coach. The more the merrier works wonders in the field. From the beginning express to parents their help would be so helpful and make coaching a playing much more fun for the kids.
5. Remembering positive reinforcement!!
Whether you are a parent or a coach being positive and having fun go a long way. The kids love being told how well improved. Having fun is our number one priority in Delanco T-ball.