Baseball Drills Kids Can Do Watching TV
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, “What should they be working on at home?” The question comes from parents of young baseball players. Well, first, coaches and parents must do a better job of teaching players some baseball drills kids can be doing at home. Just telling them to practice is not enough and for those without knowledge of what to do, boredom sets in after a few minutes.
Finding an indoor gym or area to play some ball is often difficult or expensive, or both. The following are some superb baseball drills kids can do inside, in the comfort of their home. These are especially necessary for the ballplayers who get antsy in the middle of winter without baseball. Of course, they are beneficial any time of year because they help kids improve, stay sharp, develop discipline and conditioning, and even help them focus on the little things. For the most dedicated ballplayers, they should set up a schedule of a few of these per day. For example, on Monday and Thursday, players work on the hitting drills below. On Tuesday and Fridays, they perform the throwing and fielding drills. That leaves Wednesday and Saturdays for the conditioning baseball drills kids can do. Sunday, of course, is the rest day.
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The best news is that they do not need to be on a baseball field and a vast amount of space is not necessary to improve their baseball play. The serious ballplayer finds a way to work on their baseball skills and players, who continue to work on their baseball skills, often pass their competition the following season or, at the least, are much more prepared to have a great season. Even 5 minutes a day can help produce excellent results when players go to their regular baseball practices and games. Following are some simple baseball drills kids should be doing. These indoor baseball drills work on the crucial skills of throwing, hitting and fielding and many can be done while watching TV. Better yet, players can put their headphones on and do them to their favorite music to keep them “pumped” for the practice.
Indoor fielding baseball drills kids should do
- Players flip a baseball into their glove and see how fast they can take the ball out with the correct 4-seam grip. This practice is also helpful for breaking in a new glove for the following season. Players can do this for an entire TV commercial or a whole song.
- Similarly, players kneel on a couple of pillows (for comfort) and with a small pillow in front of them, they field ground balls rolled by parent or flipped off a wall with a softer ball. Players should reach out in front of the pillow to catch the ball and see how fast they can bring the ball back to throwing side hip while taking the ball out with the correct grip. They can count how many times they catch the ball without an error and then try to beat the number each subsequent time. If they never flub a ball, they are probably not working fast enough. This action is a good drill with and without a glove and is helpful with two hands or one (glove hand only).
- While laying on their back, players flip a” safe” ball a few feet into the air and try to get proper backspin rotation on the ball. Along with the backspin, the goal is to catch the ball without having to move for it. This drill is better on knees or standing, but a high ceiling is necessary for those methods.
- Using a Frisbee of any size, have someone flip it to the player from a short distance and work on catching it with the glove hand. Once again, seeing how many they can catch in a row makes things more fun and challenging. Of course, bare-hand catch with any size ball is good too, but the focus with a frisbee must be more. The Frisbee catch is an especially helpful drill for players who are catchers.
- With a dish towel, players use their throwing motion and snap the towel to the back of a low-lying chair. This will promote the right direction with their step and staying on top of the ball with their arm action, along with using their whole body to throw. This is an excellent drill for pitchers when they back off more and work of extending towards their target.
Batting Baseball Drills Kids should do
- With a dishtowel in the lead hitting hand and from hitting position, players rest it on the rear shoulder and snap the towel as fast as they can towards the pitcher with the correct backside pivot. Setting an object like a chair back or couch out front for a target is helpful.
- Players begin with hands on hips and in hitting position. Parents place their hand out front of player’s front hip as players rotate their hips as fast as possible, trying to power through their parent’s hand by slapping the hand with their rear elbow. This move is all done while the player’s eyes rotate back to see their elbow contact their parent’s hand.
- Another good hitting drill that requires little room and can build forearm and hand strength is to put a weight, like a hitting donut, on the end of the bat and do slow motion swings with it, one arm at a time. Of course, using both arms is good too, but it is essential to do them slowly to gain strength.
- Dry swings, which means just swinging at air is a beneficial drill, too. Players should swing the bat to different locations. For example, one swing at an imaginary up and away pitch, followed by a low and inside pitch. Players can have mom and dad yell out a different swing location after each swing, too.
- Along the same lines, doing the above with different weighted bats is a proven way to build bat speed. Players should take 25 swings with a lightweight bat, followed 25 with one’s normal bat and then 25 with a heavier bat. This training takes time to work and is best in the off-season, so a player’s hitting mechanics are not altered in-season.
- One of my favorites for at home use involves performing the actions of hitting and throwing while on a balance beam. Using a 4-inch-wide by an 8-foot long piece of wood serves the purpose well. Players do not need to use a bat or ball but only practicing the batting and throwing foot, and legwork will significantly enhance their balance, direction, and technique over time.
Other baseball drills kids can do in their home
- If by chance, a large mirror is available and there is enough room to maneuver, players can watch their swing, throw and field movements as they do them to get a good picture of their actions. This drill was a widespread practice move back in the day but is not as necessary as players can readily film their every move with their cell phone. Either way, the ability to see one’s actions and analyze them is beneficial.
Performing the above indoor baseball drills kids improve bat speed by firing their lead hand and opening their hips as explosively as possible. Additionally, the drills help fielders develop soft, quick hands and throwers produce good grips, backspin, and consistent throwing release points. Of course, with a little more room or in the basement or garage, players can expand on these indoor baseball drills.
For those that have space in the garage or basement, few tools are better for the ballplayer than a batting tee. Using safe balls and setting up a net or tarp to hit into will make it possible to practice batting in one’s own home. This tee ball work should be mandatory for high school and travel ballplayers. Players should use the batting tee like the professional golfer uses the driving range, before games to get loose and refine the mechanics and after games to work on the necessary hitting adjustments. As consistency arrives with hitting line shots on the batting tee, players have a better chance of incorporating the right swing into their game play just by adding the timing to it.
A bonus to having a net or trap hanging up, of course, is that players can also do some throwing into the tarp. This work is especially helpful in the off season and preseason to condition the throwing arm and for working on the mechanics of throwing.
As far as conditioning and footwork go, few things are better than jumping rope. Of course, a little higher ceiling may be necessary for this. Over time, players will notice their footwork is smoother if not quicker after weeks of jumping rope.
Another excellent conditioning drill involves squeezing a rubber ball or any such similar device. Building strong hands and forearms will help to hit as well as throw.
Of course, if the TV, computer, or phone is available, players can tune into YouTube and watch videos of baseball drills or major league players in action to get a better understanding and picture if the correct baseball movements.