Below is a table of contents that includes links to many baseball practice drills broken down by category. Many of these drills include videos and are a great resource that you should bookmark and check back on. To ensure you get notified when a new drill is posted, please sign up to receive my free Youth Baseball E-Zine.
Practice Drills By Age Groups
Youth baseball players come in a variety of different age groups. As a coach, you may ask yourself if the same type of practice drills can work for all different age groups. I mean, baseball is baseball after all, and still requires players to hit, field, throw and catch. But coaches should also be aware that there’s a lot of differences between players as young as tee ball age and as old as their mid-teens. Therefore, practice drills should be tailored for their specific age groups in order to develop the appropriate skills each group will receive. In this article, we’ll cover certain age groups as well as the types of drills most appropriate for youth baseball players that age.
Tee Ball Drills & Drills For Beginners
For beginners, it’s really about teaching them the basics of the game. That is if you can get their attention for long enough. Many times, these youngsters look at this as more of a social situation than an actual baseball game. And that’s okay, because that’s kind of what it is. But it’s also a place where parents would like to see coaches begin to teach their young boys and girls about the game. For instance, most of these players are just learning how to catch a ball or swing a bat. They need to be taught how to stand in the batters box and which base to throw to. Therefore, coaches should focus on teaching these young players how to catch and hit the ball. Remember that at this young age, most of them haven’t yet developed a great deal of coordination. So judging a ball thrown to them or being able to hit a ball, even on a tee, can sometimes be a challenge. Therefore, for coaches, patience is the key.
Practice drills for players this age can include having players stand close together in pairs of two, and simply play catch. They should alternate between throwing the ball in the air and on the ground. As they get better at throwing the ball, have them move farther apart. But make sure you don’t expand the distance until they are comfortable catching balls thrown at the shorter distance. Players should also be taught which base to throw the ball to if it is hit to them.
Hitting drills should focus on coaches teaching them the correct batting stance and teaching them to focus on keeping their eye on the ball on the tee and making a level swing. Also, once they hit the ball to be ready to run hard to first base.
Practice Drills For 6, 7 & 8 Year Old’s
These are the ages where players either will have coaches pitch to them or hit balls thrown from pitching machines. Although they are a bit older and bigger, most of these players have still not gained the coordination to be able to judge pitches or balls hit to them easily. Therefore, coaches should continue to teach the basics of the game and the primary focus in practices should be on the fundamentals of the game. Remember that at this age there are still players who enjoy socializing more that playing, so don’t put too much pressure on them if their attention tends to drift. Just try to move their focus back to playing baseball.
Teaching throwing and catching drills is important and players can start each practice that way. Players should begin to understand where to throw the ball if it is hit to them and should be getting better at catching balls hit to them in the field. But hitting a ball not on a tee is a big change for these ages. Timing the pitch and hitting it will start to improve as they get older, but be patient with them as it could take some time. Work on drills that focus on their batting stance and their swing, making sure they watch the ball all the way in, learning to time the pitch correctly.
Also, make sure the game is fun for the players in this age group. Do not focus on winning the game but more on improving and continuing to learn the game. There will be plenty of time as they get older to worry about being overly competitive and trying to always win.
Practice Drills Little League Years
Normally, ages 9 through 12 are considered Little League. Most players have now developed more coordination which enables them to judge pitches or balls hit to them. Now it becomes more about teaching these players fundamentals and proper techniques. You’ll also need to find a few kids who can pitch. Not only that can throw the ball hard but can throw it over the plate.
During the little league years, coaches should start to be able to see which players are better suited for either infield or outfield positions. Also, which players may be candidates for being either a pitcher or a catcher. Your practices need to include multiple throwing drills. These should include infield drills with players fielding grounders and throwing to a base, or outfield drills where players will catch fly balls or grounders and throw to the appropriate base. Make sure you rotate players between infield and outfield drills so you can see where they might fit the best. It’s also a good idea to have players play different positions during games during these years. That way it gives them a chance to perform in different positions and see where they feel more comfortable.
Batting practice should also be a staple of this age groups practices with much more focus on the fundamentals of hitting. Since players will be doing the pitching during these years, players will need to begin developing a better eye at the plate and learn to swing at only good pitches to hit. They should also learn how to stay in the box and not bail out if the opposing pitcher throws hard or is a little wild. Players should focus on the fundamentals and on making contact rather than trying to hit home runs.
Practice Drills For Ages 13 & Up
Youth baseball is still active during the early to mid-teen years. The field will probably get bigger and the distance from the mound to home plate as well. Players in this group should have been taught the fundamentals of hitting and fielding by now. Coaches drills for these players should focus more now on the strategies of the game and getting players to understand them. But they absolutely can’t forget about the basic fundamentals of the game. The fundamentals should always be taught, especially if a player is struggling with a specific area of their game.
For hitting, drills should focus on things like hitting the ball the opposite way and going with the pitch. Continue to make sure they have good balance at the plate and work on good hitting fundamentals and a level swing. At this level, they should also start to learn (if they haven’t already) receiving signs from their coaches for either hitting in a specific situation or executing a play. Batting practice is essential and is helpful if they are hitting against one of your own pitchers so they get a feel for hitting against a player their age and not coaches.
Fielders need to be taught to know the game situation and what to do if the ball is hit to them. Practice drills should include game situation strategy and how to handle certain plays given the situation. But make sure you spend time on fielding and throwing practice. Players in this age group are much more able to understand the nuances of the game and what they need to do, but repetition can make a big difference in how they play on game day. Make sure they get to field a lot of ground balls and fly balls and make plenty of throws.
So it does make a difference how a coach works with youth baseball players of different age groups. Therefore, they should try to prepare themselves accordingly and make sure they pay attention to the details when they get together for practice drills. As mentioned, younger players may need a lot more direction and teaching to learn the game, while with players a little older, coaches can begin to get into some of the finer points of the game.
So no matter what age group you are working with, have some age appropriate drills ready for your next practice. And above all else, have some fun.
Our Baseball Practice Drill By Category
- Hitting Drills
- Coaching Videos
- Pitching Drills
- Situational Lessons
- Fielding Drills
- Throwing Drills
- Catching Drills
- Indoor Practice Baseball Drills
- Baseball Workout
Baseball Practice Equipment
Having the right equipment for baseball practice drills allows your team to run drills efficiently and effectively. Read our recommendations on baseball practice equipment here:
As a youth baseball coach, I have found that using simple youth baseball drills is a much more effective way to coach my players. Have you ever watched a youth baseball coach try to teach a complicated hitting drill to a young player? I have and my experience tells me that most young baseball players don’t understand those complicated youth baseball drills!
When I am coaching a youth baseball team or coaching my kid at home, I try to follow the K.I.S.S. method. K.I.S.S. stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid” or “Keep It Super Simple.” Whichever you prefer!
These simple youth baseball drills improve a player’s performance. They also help with a player’s confidence because he/she fully understands the drill. Heck, even major league baseball players use these simple baseball drills on a daily basis!
Youth baseball hitting drills such as basic soft toss, hitting off a tee and the fence drill can teach great mechanics if they are done correctly. By using simple youth baseball drills and tools like the Insider Bat make the game of baseball understandable and more enjoyable for your young player.
Don’t be the coach that thinks he/she has to be Mr. Technical. Keep It Simple Stupid! 🙂
Below are links to some of these free & simple youth baseball drills.
NOTE: Before reading about baseball practice drills, download the Free Baseball Practice Plans Template. Very simple to download and it will also include my popular Free Baseball Lineup Rotation Template. After you have those helpful tools, you can create research your practice drills and record them on your template!