Now that the basic mechanics of running, throwing and catching have been taught, it's time to move on to the nuts and bolts of the game.

First 15 Minutes (Warm-up)

Have the players stretch - especially the arms, back and legs - and have them jog a moderate distance. Some stretches:
  • Jumping jacks.
  • Sit, with legs extended out flat on the ground in a V position. Lean forward, reach for the toes and pull back on the toes. Hold for a 10 count (have the girls count down from 10). Repeat. This works the hamstrings, calves and lower back.
  • Stand straight, bend a leg behind the body, grab the ankle and pull the heel toward the backside. Hold for a 10 count. Mimic with the other leg. This stretches the quad muscles.
Now it's time to incorporate throwing and catching into the warm-up routine. Form two to three lines, depending on your number of coaches. One at a time the girls step up in a ready position, balanced on the balls of their feet, with their hands in the proper position. Throw them the ball and have them throw it back - always stressing the proper mechanics. That includes the stride, arm angle, proper trunk rotation and snap on the throw (always have them aim to hit you square in the chest with the throw). When catching the ball, stress the proper placement of the glove and remind them to look it all the way in and to squeeze the glove.

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.

Next 15 Minutes (Infield, Fielding Ground Balls)

Demonstrate the following and have each player mimic the movement: 
  • Infield Set Position: Middle infielders will have their feet outside the shoulders, be balanced on the balls of the feet, knees flexed and butt down with the arms down and away from the body and the glove as close to the ground as possible. The consensus now is to have corner infielders with their gloves up - near the face - to protect themselves against hard-hit line drives.
  • Fielding Position: Feet outside the shoulders with the glove-side foot about a foot or more in front, knees flexed, butt down, with the hands out away from the body and the glove on the ground (tell them you want them to bring up dirt with the ball), with the throwing hand about 18-24 inches above the glove.
  • Accepting the ball: As the ball enters the glove, trap it with the throwing hand and in one motion, funnel both hands to the waist, straighten up, step through with the plant foot, step and throw (to teach the step through, put them in the fielding position and draw a circle in the dirt, one stride in front of them. Have them funnel, straighten and step with the plant foot into the circle).

Teach them to move to the ball, demonstrating the crossover step: right over left to go left and left over right to go right.

Coaching Points
  • Footwork, glove on the ground, funnel to the waist. 

Next 2 Minutes (Water Break)

Keep your players hydrated with a water break. But have them hustle back to the field.

Next 10 Minutes (Fielding)

Line up half your team at second base and half at shortstop. Place a coach and a catcher about 10-15 feet up each line. The coach on the first base line hits to shortstop, the coach on third base hits to second base. One at a time, each girl receives a ground ball, throws it in and moves to the back of the line. Stress the proper mechanics.

While you're working on fielding, 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 10-15 Minutes (Fielding Contest)

Pick two even-numbered teams. Line the girls up opposite each other at an appropriate distance so that each one has a partner on the opposing team. Each player on one team has a ball (gloves are optional with this game). On your command, they roll the ball toward their partner. The object is to receive the ball, step through and then roll it back. Each time the ball gets past a player, it's a point for the other team. The team with the most points wins.

Remaining Time 

After the players get some water, gather them together. Review what the girls learned and congratulate them on learning another skill. Alert them to the next scheduled practice and follow up with an e-mail to the parents.