Congratulations, Coach, you survived your first practice. The key now is to
build upon the foundation that you laid at that practice. You do that by
reviewing the previous week's skill and adding a new skill each week. Today's
objective is to develop the mechanics of throwing. In order to teach this
effectively, you may need to get the parents involved with their daughter.
The kids may not ready yet to pair off and play catch with each other.
First 10 Minutes (Warm-up)
Run through the names again, using the same strategies you used at the first
practice. Get the kids laughing. Move to stretching (always important),
especially the shoulder and back for today. Some stretching examples:
Stand straight and extend the
right arm behind the body. Grab the right wrist with the left hand and pull
back and over toward the left side. Hold for a 10 count. Mimic with the other
arm. This will stretch the front of the shoulder.
Add a light jog of moderate
distance - not a strenuous jog - to your warm-up
Next 10 Minutes (Review Baserunning)
Running through the bag at first base.
Running to second, third, home.
Picking up coaches and listening
You also can place a cone in the basepaths and make them run around the cone
to reach the next base, preparing them for a later baserunning lesson.
Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)
Keep your players hydrated
with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.
Next 20 Minutes (Throwing Mechanics)
The keys to this skill is the arm angle, step (weight transfer) and wrist
Position 1: Have each player pair
off with her parent at a distance of about five feet. The child sits
cross-legged on the ground facing her parent with a ball in her hand. MAKE
SURE THE ARM ANGLE IS CORRECT: forearm at a 90-degree angle to the upper arm
and the upper arm at shoulder height or slightly higher - extended
away from the body. All we are doing from this position is a wrist snap.
Repeatedly, bend the wrist back and snap it forward. JUST THE WRIST, not the
forearm. Once the wrist snap is mastered, back the parent up and move to the
Position 2: Have the player kneel
on one knee (throwing-hand side) facing her parent. While maintaining her arm
angle, have the player rotate her upper torso slightly (away from the
target), with the glove hand extended out straight toward the target. Now
rotate the upper torso back toward the target – maintaining the
angle of the throwing arm. While pulling down with the glove hand, reach out,
as if to touch your target and snap the wrist. Follow through until your
throwing hand touches your glove-side knee, which is extended in front of
you. Always look to hit your target square in the chest. Back the parents up
and move to the next position.
Position 3: This position is
commonly known as the 'crane.' Have the player stand with her glove-side hip
facing the target, feet just outside the shoulders and glove-hand extended
straight out toward the target. The upper arm of the throwing hand must be
shoulder height or above with the forearm now closer to a 45-degree angle to
the upper arm with the ball near the thrower's ear. Rotate the upper torso
toward the target by rotating the hips, 'squishing the bug' with the back
foot (as it turns; you'll see this phrase in a later lesson). Reach out with
the throwing arm, snap the wrist to release the ball, extend and reach out to
touch the glove-side knee. Back the parents up for the last step.
Last Step: This is literally just
adding a step to the routine. Start in the 'crane' position and rock back onto
your back foot (throwing-hand side). Step toward your target (make this a key
point), rotate your torso, reach, snap, follow through - as listed
While you're working on throwing, you can have a hitting station
going on, where one of the coaches works with the girls on hitting off a
batting tee, which is important for getting young hitters to develop good
mechanics and to swing level.
Batting Tee Drill: Have the girls kneel – front leg up
and back leg down – at the tee about an arm's length away and
centered to the body (you need the shortest, lightest bat you can find. If
you can't find the right one, use a Wiffle Ball bat). Take one-armed swings
from the load position (alternate arms). Focus on the hitters bringing the
hands straight down from a load position to the ball. Focus on keeping the
hands inside the ball and extending to contact.
Next 15 Minutes (Skill Game)
Create two teams.
Team 1 stands near shortstop, Team 2 near second base. Place a large
container (55 gallon or bigger) at third base with the opening facing the
team at second base and place a second large container at first base (don't
set it up on the inside of the bag because you don't want to teach the kids
to throw the ball into the runner and injure your first baseman) with the
opening facing Team 1 at shortstop. Now alternate. One coach rolls the ball
to the team at shortstop and another to the team at second. They pick up the
ball, hop into the 'crane' position, step and throw for the bucket. The team
with the most balls in the bucket wins.
After the players get some water, gather them and review what they learned.
Tell the players to work on the throwing mechanics at home in front of a
bedroom or bathroom mirror. Congratulate them on their effort. Give them the
next practice time and follow up with an e-mail to the parents.
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