Saturday Secrets for Great Baseball Coaching
Baseball Practice Plans – 3 Part Plan
Most baseball coaches know enough baseball to coach youth players the strategies and skills of the game. What many do not know though is how to organize baseball practice to get the most out of their time. Often their baseball practice plans have much wasted time or down time for many players. Having one player bat, while the rest sit around in the field shagging balls, often leads to bored players without actual practice accomplished.
When setting up their baseball practice plans, coaches should organize their sessions into three part plans.
Baseball Practice Plans Part One – Individual Skill Practice
Warm-up time – it is called warm up time but it is much more than that. This is when most individual skill work is coached and the time used for this is often up to 20 or thirty minutes. Coaches must pay attention and coach the correct skills of throwing, catching, hitting, and running bases at this time. I often tell players that the game of baseball ultimately comes down to the basics of throwing, running, catching and hitting and to practice as they play games is crucial to improvement and winning, so warm-up time must be used to coach the correct individual skills. Wasting the first ten to fifteen minutes of practice by letting players simply “warm up” without coaching supervision is one of the biggest youth coaching mistakes.
Baseball Practice Plans Part Two – Team Defensive Work
Most kids would just like to hit the whole practice but there is so much more to baseball than just hitting. Knowledge of numerous defensive plays are necessary including, run-downs, cutoffs and relays, bunt defenses, pick off plays, double steals, covering bases, communication on fly balls between players, back up responsibilities, pre pitch communication for signs, etc. Coaching these defensive plays takes a lot of time but are important so teams have some idea of how to get outs on defense and to avoid unorganized defensive play. Coaches have to coach these and review these plays often for players to learn the defensive strategies of the game.
Baseball Practice Plans Part Three – Offensive Work
The last section of coach’s baseball practice plans is for batting and team type play including games and simulated games. Because most kids like to hit and play baseball games, saving these for the end of practices often revitalizes them after the above, often-tedious work.
Little things like having extra coaches, batting tees, different type balls for safety are all helpful for breaking players into small groups for more individual attention during their skill work at batting practice time and during warm up time.