How To Teach A Kid To Throw A Football Five More Things Youth Baseball Coaches Should Practice But Don’t

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Five More Things Youth Baseball Coaches Should Practice But Don’t

In the first edition of Chronicles of Baseball, one of my most popular articles in terms of feedback was “Four Things Coaches Should Practice But Don’t.”

The four things I mentioned were: pitchers didn’t practice from the mound, caught a foul ball near the fence, players didn’t slide, and didn’t practice wild pitches or passed balls. After reading some of my comments, many readers have misunderstood my point. There must be hundreds of things that we coaches should be doing but not doing. I have selected just four of them that I see increasing every year. So in keeping with the spirit of coaching, not just telling your players, here are five more things that come up over and over again that most coaches don’t practice or skip over.

1) Call coverage time. About once every two years, I witness a runner fall to second and he either gets up without calling a timeout or calls a timeout and the referee doesn’t recognize it. A smart fielder puts his glove on the base with the ball as he gets up from the slide. And when he slides off the base, he gets called out, if only for a moment or if he thinks he has time. We need to teach our young players that calling a timeout in an organized sport is very different than calling a timeout in your own backyard. Coaches should practice sliding their players onto the base and then calling a “time out” with the umpire’s coach. The coach should intentionally not immediately recognize the time to keep the base on the ground. Every player should go through this at least once.

This is the case when the swamp asks for time. Coaches should also teach players not to leave the batter’s box until the umpire gives them time.

2) Colors with excessive waste. I’m obsessed with this. We practice about once a week. Many youth baseball coaches teach runners to run to the base they came from. I take the active approach that runs are a gift to the defensive team and you have to go with the outs. The ideal number of litters is none. And after that I teach my players to throw the ball more than once. I use the term “sprint mode” and teach my players that when you get a runner into that sprint mode, it’s hard for him to stop and change direction, and that’s when we get our one and only throw. It is necessary to implement this.

3) Baserunners are blocked at first. We see it all the time. A player hits a slow grounder and runs to first base to stop right on the base, like the base is a wall, so he slows himself down, when he runs past the base, he beats it for a base hit. We tell our team to walk past first base, but how many of us take the time to practice this? This is one of the easiest things to do and once you do it, it will stick in the player’s head. Place a cone 10 feet from first base and line up your team. With the command “go”, they run one by one from the base to the cone. Simple, but it works, and should be practiced even by the best of runners.

4) 1st cover on the ground to the right. Another temptation of mine. Ever see a youth baseball game where the ball is hit to right field and the pitcher freezes on the mound? This can make the manager gray during the day. We do this by allowing each pot from the mountain. He fakes a pitch and I throw a grounder between first and second base. The pitcher must run off the mound to cover it first. The key here is to make sure the pitcher hits the first line about 6-10 feet before the base and drives it back towards the base. Whoever takes the baseball to the field must lead the first baseball with the baseball. This should be done by simulating game conditions.

5) Bunting at high altitudes. Every player who plays for me in our league knows that we are very busy. Each player must become a skilled punter during the season. We even practice two-strike bunting, a strategy most baseball purists find uncomfortable. We always change our ribbon signs to make sure competitors don’t get it. Even with all that practice, it still amazes me when a player is given the bunt sign and on the next pitch, it’s over his shoulder and he pitches anyway. So now the hitter puts himself in the hole with one hit to the ball outside the strike zone and the other team knows we’re hitting. Coaches need to tell these young players that when they are flagged for a bunt, it doesn’t mean they have to bunt anyway. We want them to hit the ball in the strike zone. This needs to be told and practiced to the players. We do a lot of batting practice and whichever coach throws, I tell them to throw balls out of the strike zone. So, we’ve been practicing getting my players to recognize planned balls and get their bats back if the ball is out of the hitting zone. Coaches should do this.

I mentioned in my first Baseball Chronicles that practices are the place to teach and games are the place to reinforce what is being taught. I know of no other formula that is more effective for most young baseball players. Even with practicing many of these mistakes over and over again, we have to remind ourselves that these players are still kids twelve years old and under.

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