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Little League Baseball Practice Plans | Fun Youth Baseball Fielding Drills

Updated on March 5, 2014

The Baseball Team Is Ready. Are You?

Have a plan for your team's baseball practice. Time is precious. Don't waste it thinking up ideas on the fly.
Have a plan for your team's baseball practice. Time is precious. Don't waste it thinking up ideas on the fly. | Source

Keys to Making Baseball Practice Fun and Productive

As a little league baseball coach, I am always looking for new ideas to keep my baseball practice plans fun, interesting and productive. In this process, there are a few things I've learned that are priceless when it comes to what is 'key' to the success of a baseball practice drill.

  • Involvement
  • Speed
  • Focus

Before we get into the drills themselves, let's discuss why these things are important in these drills, drills you might create of your own and baseball practice in general.

The Ingredients of a Successful Little League Baseball Practice Drill

Involvement
Speed
Focus
This is perhaps the most important part of a drill. No ballplayer wants to sit and watch. Do your best to make sure your drills keep everybody busy.
A drill that is slow moving loses the players interest fast. In turn, side conversations and goofing around start to take place and you lose the attention of the team.
Make the drill focus on a certain skill. Repetition is key to gaining skill and let's face it, practice is short and we have more to cover.
Split them up. I know not all drills pertain to the whole team but give those who aren't involved something else to do besides watch the other group.

Infield Baseball Drills Can Be Fun

Baseball players love to stay moving and hate being bored. Especially at a young age.
Baseball players love to stay moving and hate being bored. Especially at a young age. | Source

Baseball Safety

Perhaps it's cliché but always keep safety in mind with your practice drills. Especially fast paced little league drills. No coach wants to make their team better at the cost of a player getting hurt doing so.

Coaches Don't Let Your Players Get Bored

Boredom is the biggest reason young players lose interest in baseball.
Boredom is the biggest reason young players lose interest in baseball. | Source

Baseball Fielding Drill: "Scoop n' Shoot"

"Scoop n' Shoot", as my team calls it, is a fielding drill that can be ran in about 15 minutes. Though us coaches like to push the "set and throw" technique, we all know that not every play allows this and must be made on the run, off balance or at least very quickly.

  • Involvement - Every ballplayer takes a position in the infield.
  • Speed - Fast
  • Focus - Making plays on the infield with little time to spare.

You Need:

  • At least 2 players at every position
  • A ground ball hitter (preferably a coach)
  • A ball feeder (preferably another coach or parent)
  • 2 buckets
  • Lots of baseballs

The Drill:

  1. Feeder tosses balls to the hitter to keep the drill moving
  2. The hitter hits grounders alternating between 2 positions. (3rd and shortstop or 2nd and 1st so the players aren't crossing into the line of fire.) The hitter should be hitting a ball about every 10 seconds. (The speed of this drill should be age appropriate however, it is appropriate for all ages.)
  3. 3rd base throws to first and shortstop throws to 2nd where they then drop the ball in the bucket located near the base they are playing. Everyone gets back in line. FAST! After a few rounds, switch so that 1st throws to 3rd and 2nd throws to the shortstop at 2nd.

Base Running Skills

Hitting the base with the right foot will come with repetition. Don't assume players will do this without practice. They have to get comfortable with their strides to make this automatic.
Hitting the base with the right foot will come with repetition. Don't assume players will do this without practice. They have to get comfortable with their strides to make this automatic. | Source

Make the Drill Interesting

Once the hitter runs out of balls, the players return the full buckets to the hitter to continue the drill. You should be able to get every player about 10 ground balls and 10 catches in about 15 minutes and the rotation in line keeps the players hustling. This drill can be modified in many ways and you see how productive it can be in such a short amount of time. Make a contest out of it somehow to raise the bar a bit by adding a lap around the bags that the winner doesn't have to take. (Base running is not punishment! It's an overlooked art that many players need practice at.)

Baseball Players and Arm Fatigue

Keep in mind when planning your little league baseball practice that too much throwing can speed up arm fatigue in your players. Mix up the plan as much as possible to help keep your kids fresh and working different parts of the body. Always encourage your kids to ice and exercise their arm, regardless of age, to encourage good habits and not to wait until it hurts to do so.

Tennis Elbow Exercises Are Great for Baseball Players Too

Baseball Relay Drill: "Hot Potato"

Getting the ball in from the outfield quickly and accurately is important. Particularly at a young age where players like to hold onto the ball seemingly as long as possible. Try this drill if you're having issues with getting the ball in or just want to brush up on ball transfer.

  • Involvement - Every player
  • Speed - Fast
  • Focus - Proper "cut-off" catching technique and quick ball transfer

You Need:

  • 2 lines of players spaced about 20-30 feet apart (or age appropriately) from the outfield toward home plate. (Do not allow the 2 to cross for safety reasons.)
  • 2 baseballs

The Drill:

  1. The first player in line throws to the next and so on until the last player in line gets the ball and starts back the other way.

This is about the simplest drill there is but don't underestimate the focus and rewards of it. Preventing extra base hits due to slow ball transfer can help keep your team in the game a lot longer than not. As the coach, you get a bit of a break while helping your players to understand the proper stance to take as a cut-off and making the catch/throw in one motion for quick transfer. This drill should only take about 5-10 minutes to run but you'll get a lot of transfers in during that time.

Baseball Season Is Just Around the Corner

The ball field is waiting.
The ball field is waiting. | Source

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Infield Drill: "Hot Shot"

This drill is a lot like "Scoop n' Shoot" without all the throwing. Sometimes, we need more fielding practice but don't want to wear down the arms of our players. This twist on the drill will do just that.

  • Involvement - Every player
  • Speed - Fast
  • Focus - Fielding grounders

You Need:

  • Players at all infield positions
  • 4 buckets
  • A lot of baseballs
  • A ground ball hitter (preferably a coach)
  • A ball feeder (preferably a coach or parent)

The Drill:

  1. The ball feeder tosses balls up to the hitter to keep things moving.
  2. The hitter sprays ground balls to the infield working his way around the field from one side to the other.
  3. The players make the play on the ball but simply drop it in the bucket near their base and hustle back in line.
  4. When the hitter runs out of balls, the players hustle in their buckets and repeat.

Again, this is about as simple as they come when talking baseball practice drills but if you do this at a fast pace, (a hit nearly every 3 seconds) you can get every player about 10 ground balls in less than 20 minutes. You can take this same idea and apply it to catching fly balls without throwing everyone's arm out.

A Baseball Team Is Like A Summer Family

Remember that baseball is fun! Let the boys be boys from time to time too!
Remember that baseball is fun! Let the boys be boys from time to time too! | Source

Fun, Fast, Simple and Everyone's Included

These are just a few ideas for you to try at your next little league practice and though they may not seem like much, they cover all the important aspects of a successful youth baseball drill. Everyone's involved, they're fast paced to prevent boredom and wasted time and focused on only a couple of details at a time. With a bit of thought and imagination, you can come up with more drills of your own to cater to the needs of your team while keeping these key points in mind.

Remember, a good drill isn't about how long it takes or how complex it is. Repetition of a certain skill in a short amount of time will not only improve that skill but keep practice moving so that other skills can be addressed. Lord knows us coaches are dealing with limited time when designing our baseball practice plans.

Please feel free to comment or add tips of your own here for us all to learn to be better coaches. Thanks for reading and "Play ball!"

© 2014 Dan Robbins

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I agree with you about repetition and how it works. Kids have to be kept busy or they will get board. Great hub and best wishes on HOTD.

    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image

      MyMastiffPuppies 2 years ago

      Excellent job on showing how youth baseball can be fun as well as a way to develop so many skills both physical and life skills. Voted up across the board!

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Congrats on HOLD Daniel, I wrote a hub on baseball. Baseball is a very interesting sport. It requires various, special skills of nine players. I enjoyed playing in little league. I played every position except catcher and third base. I encourage any little leaguer to be aggressive, determined and focus on everything that he or she has to do as well as keep the eyes on the ball

      (catching or hitting it).

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Daniel, congrats on HOTD! This is real useful for anyone who have a child in little league baseball. Excellent tips! Voted up!