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Copper
Joined: 11 years ago
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I might have to head coach rec league baseball this year. Ages 11-12, very non select team of 10 or 11 kids. I have helped coach but never been head man.

Looking for ideas for fast paced practices for an hour or a little more. Ideas?  Stations?

Thanks


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CoachCalande
(@www-coachcalande-com)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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I coached middle school baseball.

We generally based off of two very simple practice habits:

We had a bunch of wiffle balls and real bats, we would let kids pitch to chairs and the batter had to defend his chair.  (the plate)

Great for hitting.

Just make sure to space the chair far enough from the next batter so nobody walked into a swinging bat.

we of course did your standard infield practices and outfield practices. Kids in the outfield need a ton of reps moving and judging /catching fly balls.

any drills where you work on aggressive base running will go far for youth baseball.

MOJO    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtcRmKnRcsA

Go to WWW.COACHCALANDE.COM  for Double Wing DVDs, Playbook, Drills Manuals, Practice footage and emagazines. Ask me about our new 38 special dvds!


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Pearls of Wisdom
(@pearls-of-wisdom)
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Joined: 7 years ago
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I might have to head coach rec league baseball this year. Ages 11-12, very non select team of 10 or 11 kids. I have helped coach but never been head man.

Looking for ideas for fast paced practices for an hour or a little more. Ideas?  Stations?

Thanks

Suggest the best TECHNICAL book ever written on baseball by the former skipper of the Dodgers (on Amazon):

Complete Baseball Handbook: Strategies and Techniques for Winning by Walter Emmons Alston (Mar 1984)

PS:  Quite a few years ago I was a "Batting Instructor" at VCU:  Here are a few tips I used:

TIPS TO IMPROVE HITTING

1. PICK A BAT THAT’S NOT TOO HEAVY (ABOUT 10 OUNCES LESS THAN IT’S LENGTH).

2. HOLD THE BAT IN YOUR FINGERS, NOT THE PALM OF YOUR HAND.

3. STAND WITH FEET SHOULDER-WIDTH APART, TOES TOWARD PLATE, HEAD UP.

4. WATCH THE BALL.  LOOK AT PITCHER’S CAP UNTIL JUST BEFORE THE PITCH; THEN SHIFT FOCUS TO THE BALL.

5. HOLD THE BAT UPRIGHT.  THEN SWING DOWN SLIGHTLY.
RESULT: LINE DRIVES.

#’s 4 & 5 ARE MOST IMPORTANT!

“NEVER BE AFRAID OF THE BALL”!!!!!
"EXPECT A FAST BALL, & ADJUST TO A CURVE".

My Contact Info: Coach Bill Mountjoy phone: 804-716-7038 EST /  Email: butzadams@hotmail.com


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CoachDavidP
(@fizzlife)
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Joined: 9 years ago
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Divide up hitting days and fielding days. Add a third for putting it all together. 

Hitting stations

1. Heavy Bat (20 swings with the heavy bat, 20 swings with a standard bat, is one set. Do 3 sets) 1 kid at this station (even 2, taking turns with the heavy bat)
http://www.justbats.com/mobile/product/practice-bat-pack-on-deck-bats--bratt-bat-wood-training-bat-brattbat-adult-and-bratt-bat-wood-training-bat-brattbatt-intermediate/20785/

2.  Soft toss, hit a bucket of balls into a net, soft tossed from the side by a coach. Stress technique. 1 kid at this station

3. Bunting, not enough kids can do this. Just give the kids about 5 quick tosses from 10 feet away, and let them bunt them. 2-3 kids at this station

Bonus station here. Have the kids waiting here practice their swing by a fence. Stresses the compact swing needed at that level.

4. Skinny bat hitting ping pong size training balls. Kids pitch them to kid hitting. 2-3 kids at this station.

5. If you can find some, there are training balls that some are designed to curve depending how you hold it(grooves in them), and some go straight (no grooves in them). They are rubber type balls. Kids can take these to the outfield and work as a group. 4 kids, one hitting, 1 pitching, and 2 shagging balls. Just don't use a good bat with them. Use An old aluminum practice bat.

Every five minutes one kid from each group moves to the next group until every one has do e each station.  This is also a good day to work with pitchers, grabbing them as you want them.

Fielding day, do a lot of sitiuations. Base running, fielding, infield, outfield (especially hitting the cut off and the cutoff turning properly for the relay, just line up a couple lines and have relay rAces and if someone turns wrong they have to start over.)

A fun idea thAt the kids love is scrimmaging on the third day. The kids all make teams of 3, usually end up with at least 4 teams.  One team will bat and the others play the field. Play to three outs and keep score. But really stress the base running, aggressive by the runners and smart play by the defense.

And when they are warming up their arms before practice, don't be afraid to demand perfection. If a duo drops the ball, have a nice outfield pole, fence, tree or whatever to run to. And make sure they do t stay 10 feet away from each other. They should be slowly making farther throws, until they end up like third base line to the grass behind first and second.

Just some ideas for you.

David (Fizzlife)Extreme Ownership -- Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


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Shamrocks
(@shamrocks)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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If you don't have good pitching, everything else tends to not really matter.  I have been on teams where we had fielders, were fundementally sound and could hit, but we had NO pitching and would give up tons of runs or run into an Ace here or there that shut us down.

Oh, and a catcher that can actually CATCH, and hopefully throw otherwise a walk turns into a man on 3 in 2 pitches....


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CoachDP
(@coachdp)
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Suggest the best TECHNICAL book ever written on baseball by the former skipper of the Dodgers (on Amazon):

Complete Baseball Handbook: Strategies and Techniques for Winning by Walter Emmons Alston (Mar 1984)

A landmark book.  Originally published in the early '70s, I bought it when I was 12 or 13.  One of the most influential books I've ever read and surely had a great influence on me coaching today.

--Dave

"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 877
 

PM me if you would like a bunch of ideas.  I coached a team that went to the Cal Ripken 12u World Series last year and have been doing it for years.

First thing is to teach them how to play catch properly and field ground balls properly.

Don't let them be lazy when playing catch.  Since you do this everyday, including game days, it can be the place where kids improve the most - if you do it properly.  Main things:  1) you catch with your feet (no reaching to the side to catch a ball if you don't have to - move your feet and catch in the middle of your body) 2) Dos Manos (2 hands).  Catch with 2 hands for a quick redirect.  Constantly hound on them to redirect quickly (which you can only do if your throwing hand is with the glove) and that a quick redirect is way more important than throwing hard.  DON'T make them run if they make a mistake.  You don't want your kids trying not to make a mistake.  You want the kids to push themselves to quickly redirect while throwing firm.  Mistakes happen when you push yourself - which is the only way to get better.

Ground ball absolutes:  1) Move your feet 2)Split step 3) Field in front of your toes (toes and glove make a triangle) 4) "Get it" at the bottom (the days of cradling to waist with soft hands are over).

As far as practice plans - I can help if you would like.
Good luck.


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davecisar
(@davecisar)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 7679
 

My hitting stations were always- 2 kids hitting off 2 Ts into fence- the multi t where it there are multiple points on the plate that you put balls at
2 Soft toss stations hitting into fence
1 "live" batting station
So when we are batting- we have 5 kids hitting

Not enough room here to talk about hitting
It's a lot more than following the ball from the pitchers hand to the bat- but that's a good place to start

Again- everything we taught was in progressions
That meant we would start with plate alignment- hands, bat etc, step, weight transfer, getting hips into ball. 
Then swinging on air with every player with his own bat at the same time

Defense- broke everything down to progressions- same as above
Lots of bucket drills to start

Learned from Bill Olson
Very successful youth coach, HS coach- 1500+ wins at HS level- lots of state titles- His son had nice career in MLB as pitcher
College coach and Olympic coach
He earns his living teaching kids how to play baseball now- super guy

I don't like baseball- I played it and coach it now only because my Omaha org had baseball and they are short guys here.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill


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DREagle
(@coyouthcoach)
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Joined: 7 years ago
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Make sure to get in tee work regardless of age when you are hitting. It really allows you to groove their swing.

We also make a game out of a lot of fielding practices using two teams of 6.  Offense gets bonus points for extra base hits in addition to runs scored - any ball hit in the outfield is an automatic 2 points since there are no outfielders in the game. 


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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These replies all depend on what you have at your disposal:

1)  How many assistants that can at least teach what yout tell them to teach?
2)Do you have batting cages?
3)More than 1 field to work with?

Tee work is good (but only if they are being taught how to do it correctly).  Soft toss is the least effective hitting drill.  Front toss and chair toss are really, really good, but you need cages to be efficient.


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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Make sure to get in tee work regardless of age when you are hitting. It really allows you to groove their swing.

We also make a game out of a lot of fielding practices using two teams of 6.  Offense gets bonus points for extra base hits in addition to runs scored - any ball hit in the outfield is an automatic 2 points since there are no outfielders in the game.

So you reward lazy fly balls?? ???


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RoyalFlush18
(@royalflush18)
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Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 192
 

Spend your time with the pitchers. The game is not much fun if you can't throw strikes, fielding groundballs and making putouts in the field won't matter if you are walking every other batter (or worse). Kids and parents will have no fun watching the walks. If you are not blessed with a natural pitcher, you will have to build them (and it takes time, time you may not have for Rec). You have to get some pitchers that can throw strikes, velocity is nice but kids will have more fun seeing strikes and having fielding attempts.

Google Paul Reddick (you can view some promotional you tube videos). He really simplifies it from a coaching perspective, there is a ton of bad advice out there on baseball (even given by some famous names). I have yet to find a baseball board that is 1/10 as good as dum coach.

I coach 10U, last year @ 9U I spent an entire season trying to figure out the issues with our pitchers, biggest problem I had (I'd say with everyone of them) is their front foot would land @ 11:00 (for RH, 1:00 for LH). Front foot not landing @ 12:00 means the release point can't be extended out in front of their bodies, they have to make an adjustment that happens in 0.3 seconds, the usual adjustment is to release it back by the head which leads to loss of velocity and makes it virtually impossible to repeat the release point (unless they are a 9 or 10 athletically) which means loss of accuracy. This also puts them at higher risks for arm issues. It is tough to coach an adjustment that happens in .3 seconds.

After repeating to them a couple of hundred times they have to land their front foot on line w/ the Catcher, it occurred to me that they know they are suppose to do that but something is happening prior that causes the effect. With most it is a balance issue (not balance point, "stop at the top"). They are getting their momentum/weight shifted off target during the initial movements and are too weak to correct, they either under correct (step open) or over correct (throw across their body). So know we talk about staying balanced and for us balanced means keeping our weight centered; not on our heels or toes and directing our energy/motion directly at home plate, get moving toward the target.

I also second Malibu's playing catch. We get 1.5 hours of field time to practice. Ours started 30 minutes early with me walking up and down the line reminding them about the fundamentals of playing catch for 20 to 25 minutes before we could take the field, real nitpicking. I am stunned by the amount of improvement we have seen out of the worst kids, the true rec player. My 2 worst throwers (one is LH and AC asked are we sure he shouldn't be throwing with his RH @ first practice) from last year I have started to train as pitchers this year. They will see mound time this year.


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RoyalFlush18
(@royalflush18)
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I would add 1 hitting drill to do w/ Rec Players as well.  You do need a screen though.

Soft toss from the front w/ Screen Flipped so Coach is completely protected. It's an underhand toss, but not a lob, you want some speed on it.

The emphasis here is to get the ball inside (in a safe manner). A high percentage of players will have some natural fear of the ball. They need to see that inside pitch and realize that they can "turn on  it", hit it out in front of the plate and pull it. Most players will have 1 of 2 reactions to the inside pitch:

1.) Jump completely out of the way (which will increase the Ump's strike zone by 6 to 8 inches).
2.) Step down the line to try and hit it.

Doing this you can get a lot more reps than attempting to throw live BP and drilling a kid and setting him back.


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Malibu
(@idaho-coach)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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I would add 1 hitting drill to do w/ Rec Players as well.  You do need a screen though.

Soft toss from the front w/ Screen Flipped so Coach is completely protected. It's an underhand toss, but not a lob, you want some speed on it.

The emphasis here is to get the ball inside (in a safe manner). A high percentage of players will have some natural fear of the ball. They need to see that inside pitch and realize that they can "turn on  it", hit it out in front of the plate and pull it. Most players will have 1 of 2 reactions to the inside pitch:

1.) Jump completely out of the way (which will increase the Ump's strike zone by 6 to 8 inches).
2.) Step down the line to try and hit it.

Doing this you can get a lot more reps than attempting to throw live BP and drilling a kid and setting him back.

Great, great drill.  That is what I called front toss in my earlier post.  Firm underhand toss from a close distance (12' or so).


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Copper
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 75
Topic starter  

Keep the tips coming, this is great.

We will have one field. No cage probably unless I rent some time from our field house. I will get as many helpers as I can at each practice but if I get 2-3 dads I'll be doing well.

I will have access to tees.


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