No Baseballs at Initial Season Practices
It is not a terrible idea for baseball coaches to leave the baseballs at home for the first baseball practice, or two, of the season. That may seem strange, but simulating actions without baseballs, is not a bad idea, so players can focus on the correct actions only. This is also a good time to have interested parents attend to also learn correct skill actions that can be practiced at home.
It is very common for players to jump into working on the baseball skills of hitting, throwing and fielding, without enough regard for correct movements of those, as they are concerned more with results of hitting balls hard, throwing them hard and catching them. The first few practice sessions are a good time to focus on breaking down those actions even further, and without actually using baseballs greater concentration can be applied to the correct, fluid movements required for all baseball skills. Additionally, this no ball use allows coaches to focus on some of the minute details that set the stage for performing all baseball skills, without worry of injury from being struck by thrown or batted balls. This no baseballs practices are especially useful indoors when less room is available, as in the local grade school gymnasium, where safety is difficult.
Essential Details to Focus on in No Baseballs Preseason Workouts
Without the use of baseballs, coaches can have players simulate all types of baseball actions, as the following, many of which are often overlooked.
- Optimum balance position – helping players find and establish great balance for hitting, throwing, pitching, and fielding is of utmost importance and the first thing to do at preseason practice. These balance positions are essential for successful execution of all baseball skills and when neglected at the beginning of the season, the neglect may not allow improvement as the season goes on.
- Crossover steps – the above balance position work is the initial step to practice first step efficiency and quickness, necessary for great fielding and base running.
- Ready positions – helping players learn optimum ready position on defense, which is different for every position, is important
- Simulated Glove work – coaches can have players go through the movements of catching all types of balls to help player understand the correct glove and bare hand position when receiving balls. Once again, without fear of getting struck by balls, players can focus on correct glove work, tow hand catch or one.
- Throwing fundamentals – no balls allow coaches to work on numerous repetitions of fluid arm action and direct and efficient strides for throwing.
- Vision exercises for batting – this is a good time to have players learn to go from big focus – pitchers head and upper body, to small focus – pitcher’s hand as he delivers, by having players simply observing pitchers from hitting position, knowing no baseball is coming.
- Swing mechanics – going through repetitive baseball swings without baseballs helps kids further understand the fundamentals, as well as working to perfect the correct strides and swing paths.
No baseballs practice helps players learn to visualize correct baseball actions, an important part of improvement and future success. Finally, the best-case scenario has ballplayers who come to the first practice in good physical condition, strength wise and aerobically. However, as with all sports, building some extra conditioning work into early season practices is a good idea to gauge where players are condition wise, along with stressing the importance of good conditioning, and no better time exists for extra conditioning than at the beginning of the season.