Coaching Strategy for Organizing Practice
Barrington Little League (BLL) greatly appreciates the time that moms and dads volunteer when coaching their child’s Little League teams. The amount of effort to organize a practice can be stressful for first time volunteers, so BLL has created an outline to be used as a guide. However, BLL acknowledges that volunteers can bring new ideas to the league and encourages coaches to introduce new drills and techniques to advance the players skills and knowledge for the game.
1. Stretching - 3 to 5 minutes:
Examples: Forearm stretch, leg stretch, jumping jacks, and a few sprints in the outfield.
2. Throwing/Catching - 10 to 12 minutes:
Examples: One knee on the ground throws, standing throws, and long toss. Pitching Drills – Starting at Single A, players are starting to learn how to pitch. It is recommended that pitching is taught in the beginning of the practice when players are alert and arms/bodies are not tired. Refer to BLL’s webpage Coaching Corner/AA&AAA 5 Steps to Success (by Tom Tanous) for teaching a player how to pitch.
3. Base Running - 5 to 10 minutes:
Examples: Running through first base, rounding first, second and third, tagging up, stealing, pass balls
4. Infield/Outfield Drills – 20 to 30 minutes: This is when more volunteers are helpful. In the beginning of the season you should separate infield and outfield drills.
Infield Goals: Proper fielding position, throwing to the proper base, force outs, tag outs, and back hand plays.
Outfield Goals: Judging the flight of the ball, getting underneath the fly ball, fielding a groundball in the outfield, and throwing to the infield.
Additional fielding skills to work on:
- Double plays
- Cut off man
- Run downs
- Covering a steal
- Catcher's fielding a fly ball
- Fielding a bunt
- Pitcher covering first
5. Hitting Drills – 20 to 30 minutes: The goal of the hitting drills is to get each player the most quality swings possible to work on his/her hitting mechanics. This can be completed with a tee (the tee is not just for t-ball), soft toss drills, machine pitch/coaches pitch and depending on the division, kids pitch.
Additional hitting skills to work on:
- Proper way to prevent being hit by pitch
- Hitting with 2 strikes
- Taking a walk and trying to get to second base
Note: Using wiffle balls wrapped in masking tape are good to use when kids are hitting off the tee or doing soft toss. These types of balls do not bounce back as hard if they hit a fence post or any metal support.
6. Fun/Reward Time – last 5 to 10 minutes of practice: At the end of practice it is fun for the players to use a baseball skill to compete against one another.
Final Note from BLL: BLL cannot thank their volunteers enough for the time that is given to teaching the game of baseball/softball. The outline described above and the designated times are to be used as a reference. Changing practices around to introduce new skills or to concentrate a practice on a few of the skills is highly recommended to keep the players interested in playing this sport. Coaches that have been doing this for a while have found that talking to other coaches and using the internet can add to their bag of tools. Good luck with coaching this year and remember that it does not have to be perfect. The players do appreciate you and the time you are giving to them. Have a great year!