Your little leaguer might not be ready for the Major Leagues . . . yet. But the Little League World Series is a serious game.
This isn't a sandlot game or a weekend city tournament. It's a high-stakes environment of competition, sportsmanship, and fun.
Youth baseball is good for your child. Let's get 'em ready to play their best, Coach.
Here are the top ten little league baseball drills to take your child's team to the top.
Some of the most useful baseball practice drills are relay throws.
Players fill each position on the field. A runner stands on a base then the coach hits a ball.
Fielders chase the ball and communicate where to throw the ball to bring it in. The catcher watches the runner and yells out where to send the ball to throw out the runner.
Your little leaguers learn how to use a cutoff man from the outfield. They also learn how to communicate and listen to each other during a game scenario.
Throwing mechanics must start with the basics. In one of the simplest little league practice drills, kids line up across from each other.
Tossing a ball back and forth with a partner, the kids continue until the coach tells them to "freeze." Each time they freeze, the coach walks the kids through where they are in the throw.
The kids mimic "unzipping" a jacket upward to wind the throw. Then they release the ball to their partner when their hand is overhead.
Getting hit with a baseball hurts. But kids can overcome this fear through little league practice drills.
Start with softer balls, like tennis balls hit with a racket. Lob them high in the air like a pop fly.
As the kids learn to field and catch these softer pop flies, a knock in the head from a tennis ball hurts less.
Once they get over their fear of being hit with a ball and develop some skill for catching pop flies, switch to baseballs and continue the drill.
Following a grounder into your glove takes patience and focus. This is a developed skill for young little leaguers.
One of the more fun baseball drills for kids uses a bright colored bucket. Place the bucket at second base and line your team up to the right and left of the bucket.
They should be in two lines stretching to the outfield.
Hit ground balls toward second base. As each player fields a ball, he tosses it in the bucket and runs to the end of the opposite line.
Mix up the placement of the grounders to keep them guessing.
Keeping balls in the infield and throwing around the bases is essential.
Place players at every position except pitcher. You'll also need baserunners with helmets on.
The coach hits balls in the infield. Create a variety of runner scenarios that force your infielders to field the ball and throw to different bases for outs.
One crucial outfield skill is not to backpedal to fly balls. Instead, teach players to turn and run to the baseball.
Field only outfield players. Put yourself at the edge of the infield.
For each round, tell your fielders which direction to start: right or left. Then hit a ball that direction.
The fielder will start running back in that direction by taking one step backward. Then he'll turn his body and run.
Make sure and teach to continue watching the baseball over his shoulder as he runs to make the catch.
This is one of the best youth baseball hitting drills for teaching swing mechanics.
Set two baseball tees about one foot apart. The ball sits on the front tee. The goal for the hitter is to swing and hit the ball without hitting the tee behind it.
If he hits the back tee before striking the ball, his swing is coming underneath the ball. This launches a fly ball.
If he misses that back tee, he'll strike the top or middle of the baseball. This swing hits a line drive.
Improving in pitching is often a matter of repetition and muscle memory, but too much throwing damages a good pitching arm.
Proper conditioning helps strengthen an arm while building throwing muscle memory. Performing a pitching motion while holding the end of a towel helps replicate the resistance of throwing a ball.
Have your young pitcher hold the end of a towel and wind up like he's pitching a ball. Then he'll follow through and toss the towel.
Little league rules don't allow head-first slides into a base. It's critical to teach an alternate hands-free, feet-first slide for safety and to stay within the rules.
Have your players hold a bat or glove over their head. This helps the player remember to keep his hands up while sliding.
With hands up, the player will run toward a base and count to three. On "three" he'll form a figure-four with his legs and sit down as he slides into the base.
Good baseball players are quick on their feet.
Grab four cones for these agility drills. Place the cones about 10-15 feet apart in a square.
Pick any pattern of running forward, laterally, and backward. Have each player run multiple reps through one pattern, then go to the end of the line while other players take their turns.
Repeat with another pattern and run another series for each player.
Teaching baseball skills and discipline helps kids learn critical life skills. But it's important to make sure little league baseball drills are fun, too.
Use baseball pins as a reward for hard work. Trading pins with each other also builds relationships within the team.
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