Coaching Drills for a 5-6 Year Old Baseball Team
Teaching young children to play baseball requires a lot of patience. When youngsters start to play the game, your goal is not to turn them into great ball players. All you should want to do is teach them a few skills of the game and help them to have fun.
Young players should try to catch every ball with two hands. That includes ground balls. Teach youngsters to get in front of every ground ball and place their glove on the ground with the palm facing up. When the ground ball goes into the glove, they should squeeze the ball and put their other hand on top of it to keep it in the glove. The bare hand is like an alligator's jaw coming down when it bites. Tell the youngsters not to forget to "chomp" when they catch a ground ball.
Everybody wants to hit the baseball. When teaching 5- and 6-year-olds how to hit, you want them to develop a level swing and keep their eye on the ball. The batting tee will help them do this. Set the ball on the tee at belt level. Have the batter stand just behind the ball so he can step into the ball with a level swing. Since the ball is stationary, the player will hit the ball as long as he focuses on the rear and center portion of the ball. Have each player take five swings.
In this drill, you can teach the players to run the bases correctly and have fun doing it. Line up half your team at home plate and the other half at second base. Give the first player in each line a baseball. On your signal, the players will sprint around the bases. Each player must touch all bases and then hand the ball to the next player in line. The group that finishes the drill fastest with each player touching every base wins the drill.
In this drill, every player will get a chance to pitch for the first time. While 5- and 6-year-olds won't usually be pitching in games -- the coaches do the pitching -- the young players have to learn how to pitch for future seasons. Set up a mound about 25 feet from home plate. This is a reasonable distance for young pitchers. The first pitcher tries to throw the ball over the plate. If she does, she goes to the end of the line. If she does not, she is on the hot seat and can be knocked out if the next pitcher throws a strike. However, if the second pitcher also misses, the first pitcher goes to the back of the line and the second pitcher is on the hot seat. Keep going in this manner until there is only one pitcher left in the game. That pitcher is the winner of the game. This is a great drill to close practice.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.