by Dan W.
Problem is, many balls that make it to the outfield at this level are not hit that hard. The outfielder can just as easily throw to second base, or even first base. Should I encourage the throw directly to the base?
COACH HENZE’S ANSWER
My Youth Baseball’s slogan/motto is “Youth Baseball Made Simple”.
With that in mind, I would recommend only focusing on the getting your players to make a good throw back in to 2nd base. Typical seven and eight year old kids will not understand the concept of hitting the cutoff man and it really doesn’t make sense due to the distance of the throw.
Kids that play baseball at that young level really want to play for the simple fun of the game. When coaches try to introduce tough concepts, players may lose interest because the game becomes too complicated. Keep it simple and focus on the basics. In this case, teach your youth baseball players to just get to the darn ball and throw it back to the infield as soon as possible.
As the youth baseball players continue to play at higher levels, then you can start introducing the concept of hitting the cutoff man and even work on the double cutoff. I would recommend to start teaching cutoff drills at age 9 (absolute earliest) or 10, but for sure at 11 years old.
In summary, to answer your question of “How do I teach 7 and 8 year olds about hitting cutoff man?”, just keep it simple and get those 7 & 8 year old youth baseball players to get the ball back to the infield as soon as possible!
Thanks for the question Dan!