GOAL: Introducing proper technique of swinging the bat and keeping eyes on the ball.
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.
- 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.
- Sit, with legs extended out flat on the ground in a V position. Reach and touch the right hand to the outside of the left foot. Mimic the other side. Hold for a 10 count on each side. This stretches the outside of the upper 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.
- 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.
Next 10 Minutes (Proper Throwing Mechanics)
Players should now have the hang of the proper throwing technique. Not all players will have the same arm strength so the adult should adjust the distance to what is comfortable for the player. The player should stand and throw to the adult. Coaches should continue to monitor the technique.Coaching Points
- Players should vary their grip according to the size of their hands. Place either two or three fingers across the seams with the thumb directly underneath the ball.
- Be sure the players are in line with their partner while incorporating movement, momentum and proper footwork into each throw. It is critical for players to focus on being accurate as they throw toward their partner's chest.
Next 3 Minutes (Water Break)
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 25 Minutes (Hitting)
Divide the players into three groups (even number if possible). Using a batting tee, have one player place a ball on the tee and another player hit the ball. The other players should be watching and listening as the coach is working with the players. Allow 10 swings per player before rotating.
The batting tee represents the middle of the strike zone, so have the batter should stand in correct relation to it (his front foot should be even with the front of the plate). The swing technique includes:Stance
: Players stand in an athletic position. Their feet should be shoulder-width apart with their hands around the back of the shoulder.Stride
: Players should keep their weight and hands back while striding into the swing.Swing
: Players should keep their hands in and execute a smooth swing.Finish
: Players will have a balanced follow-through.Coaching Point
- This drill teaches how to keep their eyes on the ball and to swing level. To ensure safety, the only player who should have a bat in hand is the one hitting and that the tees are spread far enough apart for wild hits.
End of Practice
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. Always finish the talk in an upbeat, positive way. Tell the players the next practice time and follow up with an email to their parents.
Remember to place hands together and yell, '1, 2, 3 (with the team name)!'