GOAL: Continue repetitions of properly fielding ground balls and introducing proper technique of return throws. Introducing soft toss (or side toss), which improves hand/eye coordination while simultaneously working on swings.
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. 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.
- Stand straight and bend the right arm with the elbow touching the back of the head. Grab with the left hand and pull toward the left shoulder. Hold for a 10 count, then mimic with the other arm. This stretches the shoulder joint.
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 10 minutes (Fielding)
Pair off the players and line them up 50 feet apart with one player rolling ground balls to the other, who throws back to the partner for five minutes. Rotate after five minutes.Coaching Point
- Remembering the correct fielding position. At this time, accurate throws are more important than the speed.
Next 15 Minutes (Hitting)
Divide the players into three groups (even number if possible). Introduce soft (or side) toss: From a side angle, the coach tosses the ball waist high in front to the player and the player hits into a net or fence. The purpose of this drill is to help players develop a good swing follow-through and finish position.
The other players should be watching and listening as the coach is working with the hitter. Allow 10 swings per player before rotating. This drill allows players to get lots of swings in a short period of time.Coaching Points
- This drill teaches players how to keep their eyes on the ball. Also, using a parent to do the soft toss enables the coach to watch the hitter.
- Remember, as you talk to players, get down on one knee to be face-to-face with them.
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. Tell the players the next practice time and follow up with an email to their parents.