There are four basic baseball skills children need to work on to stay on top of all elements of this America’s favorite game. The four basic baseball skills are catching, hitting, throwing and base running. These four are collectively called as baseball drills. As a teacher, it is a challenge to make children learn baseball drills as it is detrimental to their appreciation, enjoyment and safety practices in the game. Here are some essential tips for coaching basic baseball skills:
1. Throwing – Children need to warm up often to help them learn the skill of throwing. The act of throwing is not a simple baseball skill. It requires the whole body to work together to accurately send the ball at specific target. The proper position of throwing should be front shoulder facing the target, lower body lined up in the same direction, back foot perpendicular to the target, and hips closed. The motion the arm makes when throwing a baseball is circular motion. Asking children to practice throwing through circular motion is an effective technique to make children experience natural momentum of sending the ball at specific target. Check occasionally if children throw with a circular motion by asking them to freeze after pulling the ball out of the glove.
2. Catching – Playing catch helps children appreciate baseball more and know the basics of safety in the game. Catching baseball involves preparation. The most important tip you can give to kids learning baseball is to expect that the ball won’t be thrown to them. In that way, they will be challenged to make a good play. The right position of catching baseball should be knees slightly bent and weight on the balls of the feet. Ask children to move into the position that will give them the best opportunity to catch the ball. Make the playing catch interesting by turning it as a little competition during practice.
3. Hitting – Making children learn hit baseball is the most difficult skill a coach needs to learn. Children need different set of instructions as every student has different set of skills, style and approach on baseball. The best approach on teaching children how to hit baseball is to be open-minded and recognize that each student needs individual hitting instruction. Take time on teaching each beginner on hitting baseball. Analyze each problem, take notes on how each player does hitting, or even take videos of their practice. Many players don’t figure out what they are doing wrong until they see their rehearsal or practice videos. Allocate enough time to discuss to each player how to improve their hitting. Another important technique for children to learn baseball hitting is to help them build confidence. Motivate players through pep talks and praises each time they make good points.
4. Base Running – This skill is very important in scoring opportunities. As a coach you need to give your students many base running experiences. You should teach players to run every ball out and run it out hard. You may want to make a penalty for breaking this rule. Children may get bruises while they learn baseball base running. The best place to practice base running is in grass and unobstructed area.