GOAL: Continue to work on live game situations and make sure outfielders are staying busy by catching fly balls between hitters.
First 5 Minutes
Talk to the players and encourage them to work hard and have fun. Concentrate on better technique today and tell the players what will be done during this practice.
Next 5 Minutes (Stretching)
Stretch legs for two minutes and stretch arms for two minutes. Stretching prepares the muscles to prevent injury. The last minute should be used to jog around the field once.
Next 10 Minutes (Throw Around Drill)
With players in infield positions, the catcher throws to third base, the third baseman throws to second base, the second baseman throws to shortstop, the shortstop throws to first base and the first baseman throws back to catcher. This drill can be repeated many times to loosen up the arm. Some players have seen this done at a higher level, so it should be a fun drill. The outfielders will continue to strengthen arms by using long tosses.
Next 3 Minutes (Water Break)
- Accuracy is more important than speed.
Give the players time to break for water. It is extremely important for the players to remain hydrated at all times. But have them hustle back to the field.Next 35 Minutes (Live Game Situation and Working With Outfielders)
The hitters will get work hitting off live pitching. In between hitters, keep the outfielders occupied by having a coach or parent continue to throw pop flies to them. This helps to improve their defensive play. During games at this age, infielders are more active than the outfielders. Break for water, when necessary.
Keep in mind that rundowns happen a lot at younger ages because both the runners and fielders are prone to mistakes. Remember we worked on them in Practice 13?
Usually in a rundown, chaos reigns, in part because many teams neglect to work on them and the players aren't sure what to do.
It's really quite simple. For the fielders: Rule Number 1: Don't panic. Rule Number 2: Always start the rundown by trying to send the runner back from where he came. Rule Number 3: Stay inside of the runner, so you never have to throw over the runner. Rule Number 4: Follow your throw. That way you'll never be caught out of position, possibly obstructing the runner. A key point: The less throws the better.
Here's how it works: The pitcher turns and sees the runner caught off third base. He takes an angle to run him back to third. At the proper time, he flips the ball to the third baseman. He continues to run past third and gets in line behind the shortstop, who has moved over to cover third. Teach the fielders to hold the ball in the throwing hand and pump fake a throw to freeze the runner. Of course, when they go to tag the runner, it's best to place the ball in the glove and tag with both hands. If the third baseman has to toss the ball to the catcher, he does and then continues down to get in line behind the first baseman, who's moved down to back up the catcher, who is now running the runner back to third.Coaching Points
End of Practice
- Follow your throws. Use the pump fake.
End practice with a lap around the bases. Then, while the players are drinking water, huddle them together for a talk. Take this time to recognize the work that was done well, but also discuss what needs improvement. Tell the players the next practice (or game) time and follow up with an email to their parents.