Last Updated: January 17th, 2017
Whether you're a parent or coach, we believe that practicing these 4 simple yet effective drills will ensure success in the upcoming season. If you are reading this, it’s safe to assume you probably have one or more children involved in some sort of after-school sport and most likely youth baseball. Being a parent with kids playing youth sports, have you ever tried time to find just a bit of free time for some extra practice but never have any free time available? Would you love nothing more than to set an hour or two aside every week to improve your child’s swing mechanics or fielding? If these thoughts run through your mind every so often, you definitely are not alone.
At 2018YouthBats, we field many questions daily most of which pertain to the new 2018 USA bats or the USA Bat standard. One of the more common non-bat related questions we get are parents asking us what they can do to help improve their child’s game during the off-season all while juggling a full schedule. It might sound easy to pack the car with baseball equipment and drive to the local school or park for a quick practice, however it’s much more difficult than one may realize. Below are just some of the reasons parents have reached out to us for this blog post:
- Non-adequate space at home - Some drills require plenty of space
- Sunset/Too Dark outside - with no lighting system either
- Available baseball diamonds - for practicing in-game scenarios
- Other after school sports or activities - soccer practice, football season, etc…
- After work, school, and homework, what energy is left?
For any youth baseball parent who want their kids to put in some extra reps but may not have the time, energy or resources to make trips to an available field, etc We have listed 4 easy yet very beneficial drills that can be performed within the comforts of the household.
1. SET UP A HITTING NET
- Estimated Time - 30 Minutes
- Location - Outdoor Open Area (50 Square Feet)
- Baseball Equipment Recommended:
- Baseball Hitting Net (Required)
- Bucket of Baseballs (A few baseball required)
- Bucket of Heavy Training Baseballs (Recommended)
- Baseball Hitting Tee (Required)
- Youth Baseball Bat (Required)
- Baseball Helmet (Safety Precaution - Required)
In order for your child to develop a consistent pattern of level-line drive rips on the baseball, it’s going to take hours and hours of tedious repetitions. Every time a batter steps into the box, his or her swing must establish a consistently fundamental swing. Any slight slacking in proper hitting mechanics can be the difference between a homerun or pop-out. To best help your little slugger work on the mechanics of their swing follow the directions below:
- Setup your hitting net in an open outdoor area
- Set up a youth baseball tee (3 feet tall orange cone will work as well)
- Make sure your child is wearing a helmet for safety precautions
It's as simple as that! Have your child setup his own baseballs off the tee and make sure he/she is specifically working on creating a level swing through the strike zone. If room permits, after a few buckets of tee-swinging, feed them some soft toss with the normal baseballs or heavy training balls. This will allow them to put everything together when training with the tee while emphasizing more speed and power behind the swing.
2. RUBBER BALL TOSS AGAINST THE WALL
- Total Time - 30 Minutes
- Location - Indoor/Outdoor Area (About 9 Square Feet)
- Baseball Equipment Required:
- Rubber Baseball
- Baseball Glove
Out of all the at-home drills we will suggest, this one is our personal favorite. No other drill requires a minimal amount of baseball equipment and is very effective. It’s great for practicing all types of fielding and relay situations. Best of all, it requires minimal cost for a greater ROI in your child’s defensive abilities. Repeat after us, the MOST EFFECTIVE method of improving baseball skills in children. Here's how to do it:
- Grab a rubber baseball and head to any open wall (higher ceilings recommended, but if not it doesn't matter)
- Have your child set themselves square in front
- Have your child throw the ball at the wall practicing the various types of comebackers:
- Short Hop
- High Bounce
- Have your child interchange between glove work and bear hand catches
- Make sure to change the distance and velocity at which your child is throwing the ball.
Obviously starting off slow is key here. Over time building up the speed will only result in confidence on the field. This is a great indoor drill only if your family can muster the slight thumping noises. Nonetheless, it's AMAZING for practicing hand-eye coordination, enhancing ball awareness, reflexes, and practicing the transition from a catch to a throw.
3. SPEED AND AGILITY DRILLS
- Estimated Time - 15 Minutes
- Location - Open Flat Area, Indoors/Outdoors (Recommended 25 square feet)
- Equipment Recommended:
- Agility Cones
- Agility Ladders
- 1 Feet Tall Orange Cones
By the recommended equipment, you can already tell what we're going to be doing here. Pretty much self explanatory if not try watching one of videos below:
ot all baseball practice requires the use of a baseball, bat or glove. By repeating some of these simple speed and agility booster drills into training, you are able to teach your kids to reap the benefits of base running on offense or ball tracking on defense. For kids who are playing more than just baseball, this drill will also assist in increasing speed and agility in those sports (basketball and football, sorry not for golfers) as well. For the youth baseball player, agility drills with the cones or ladder will gradually create quicker foot speeds and faster muscle memory movement.
4. MENTAL PRACTICES
- Estimated Time - 30 Minutes
- Location - Indoor Recommended
One other effective method of practice kids can do from home is watch instructional baseball videos online. Rather than spending time watching the latest hit streamer on Twitch.tv or YouTube, why not spend sometime watching videos on baseball players? In recent years, technology has made it possible to learn certain aspects of baseball that at one time could only be taught through. Twenty years ago, if a youth pitcher wanted to add various pitches to his or her arsenal, the only option for parents was expensive private lessons. Today, a child can learn the figure placement of a curve ball through one or two YouTube clips. The best aspect of using the internet for gaining knowledge in baseball is that its available from the comfort of your home 24/7, 365. Below are just a few elements to the game of baseball kids can further their knowledge through the variety of online resources available.
To Learn Proper Youth Hitting Mechanics We Recommend:
To Learn Different Types of Pitches We Recommend:
How To Bunt, Push or Pull The Ball:
Thanks for reading, if you haven't yet sign-up for our 2018 Youth Bats Newsletter! We publish blog posts our community/visitors recommend and would definitely love some more suggestions. Also, if you're still wondering what bat to buy your kid(s) for the upcoming season read our reviews on all of the new 2018 USA youth baseball bats or use our Coach's Bat Recommendation tool!