As coaches, we need to sneak in some “learning” fundamentals, while the kids are having fun. The best drill in my opinion is letting hitters hit off the T, while the others field it.
I act as a pitcher for the slow rollers. I field it cleanly, then make a horrible throw into right field. Then watch the chaos!!
My best explanation of what happens next is…. “Its like throwing one banana, into a cage of 9 monkeys”. Everyone wants it and they all run around after it. Ive watched my third basemen run over to second. Ive watched my catcher run to third and Ive watched my right fielder chase the kid all the way home and the throw the ball after he’s safe.
Iv’e also seen toooooo many snowball fights, where only the hitter wins.
I’VE SEEN IT ALL (well its baseball, so I guess you never will see it all).
Heres how you fix it!
You start wearing a leather belt and when they start to do these things, you threaten to take off your belt….haha… I did say this but it was a joke amongst us…
You do this drill EVERY practice.
We set up the T, as a pitch inside, middle and outside (randomly).
(We hit in the order of how the boys showed up. I’ve had brothers fighting for spots, running from the car and kids showing up a half hour early, to hit first)
MAKE SURE THEY ARE SET TO HIT, BEFORE YOU PLACE THE T!!
Dont let them cheat by moving their feet to the T. Remember we dont step to the ball. We step to the pitcher, EVERY TIME. Its not step and swing, its step THEN swing.
OK, OK, OK, back to fixing the defense!
When the ball is in play let them do their thing, UNTIL they start to lose their discipline.
Most runners “in practice”, will go for that extra base (which I always encourage, even in games). I NEVER discipline aggressive base running, regardless the outcome.
Let them do the run downs, dont think its wasting time. This is SUCH an awesome training tool for the Off and the Def.
Everyone would scream RUN DOWN!!! And everyone swarms in to cover a base. This is where you need to control the chaos. Direct them to the correct bases. Yell out “wheres my third basemen,Catcher” (remember the monkey scene).
After a couple of these you will see a big difference! More throws AHEAD of the runner VS behind. More players taking their correct spots and the base runners, playing it a little safer…..
Wanna know why the offense/defense would improve?
Because kids wanted to hit, so they would correct themselves as the play evolves, so the runner stops running. A safe runner stays on base, so he’s less likely to get into the rundowns, when the defense is improved. Now it looks more like 8 monkeys, directing one, what to do!
In every rundown we were involved in (defensively), we got EVERYONE out.
Every rundown (offensively) we were safe 7/10 time.
Off the top off my head, I would say we threw out AT LEAST, 7 runners from our outfielders. At EVERY BASE, including first and I know, 3 at home.