These tips are for beginners. As they advance their skills, some of these techniques may change.
These tips assume you are right-handed.
Throwing - Look where you are throwing. - Step forward with your left foot, pointing your toes toward your target. Making straight throws should be the primary focus for beginners. - A good overall throwing technique is demonstrated in the following video. Remember: "Thumb to thigh, reach behind, elbow high, let it fly." - After you "let it fly', your arm should cross over in front of your body. Your right thumb should end up in front of your left hip.
Catching - Watch the ball go all the way into your glove. - As the ball enters your glove, quickly cover it with your right hand.
Batting - Keep hands together on bat. The knuckles you use to knock on a door should be in line with each other. Your left hand will be below the right hand. - Get in a comfortable stance...feet shoulder width apart with knees bent. - Hold the bat back and high at a 45 degree angle with your hands behind your right ear. - Your arms from elbow to hands to other elbow should make an "A" shape. - Watch the ball being thrown to you with both eyes. Follow the ball all the way from the pitcher's hand to where it hits your bat. - When you swing, keep your head and eyes down watching the ball hit your bat. - When you swing, take a small step with your left foot towards the pitcher. - After hitting the ball, don't sling/throw the bat. - When batting, learn NOT to swing at every pitch. Learn to tell the difference between a strike and ball. Youíll go to 1st base if 4 balls are thrown.
Video that shows a checklist of must-dos when getting in your batting stance:
Here is a great batting drill:
Problem dropping your hands before swing? Watch the video at this link: Problem dropping hands Pay attention at the 4:45 mark when she talks about the chalkboard.
Running Bases - Always run as fast as you can. - Always keep your eyes on the base you are running to and not where the ball is. - Always listen to your coach and do what he/she says. - Always be sure to step on the base and home plate. - When running to first base, NEVER SLOW DOWN! Listen to the coach whether you should "run through" the base or continue to 2nd base.
Playing in the infield - Always be in infield-ready position (knees bent, hands down, palms out as if ready to receive ground ball, eyes on the ball). - When the ball is hit to you, watch the ball go all the way into your glove. - Before the ball is hit, always think about what you would do with the ball if it were hit to you.
Playing in the outfield - Always be in outfield ready position. (hands on knees, eyes on the ball.) - If the ball is hit to you, catch it as soon as possible...watching the ball go into your glove. - If the ball is hit to the person next to you, back them up in case they miss the ball. - Once the ball is caught, throw it IMMEDIATELY! Don't stand there and hold the ball or run the ball in. Just throw it. Most of the time you'll throw it toward the pitcher. - Always listen to coach for instructions on what to do.
Playing pitcher Want to pitch? It is 35 feet from the pitcherís plate to the back of home plate. Measure it out in your backyard and start practicing. Windmill pitching is allowed but not necessary for beginners. The key at this age is to consistently throw strikes. They donít have to be fast, just over the plate. A pitching form that is simple, comfortable, and consistent will work. Here is a link to a video to give you an example of what basic pitching looks like.
- Be aware of where the ball goes at all times. - Always anticipate the ball to be thrown to you. - When the ball is thrown to you after a hit to the field, catch it and hold it high in the air inside the pitcher's circle to prevent runners from advancing to extra bases.
Very basic pitching mechanics (Non-windmill):
- Grip the ball with your fingers on the seams with space between your palm and ball. - Both feet on pitching rubber - Right handed pitchers step left foot forward using your right leg to push off and generate power/speed. - During the wind-up, when bringing the ball back, make it go as high as you comfortably can behind you (try as high as your shoulder). - As you follow through, bring the ball down and as close to your thigh/leg without touching it. - After releasing the ball, follow through bringing your hand up higher than your head. - Youíre basically doing a straight pendulum motion = back to front, - The key is keeping your ARM STRAIGHT at all times and making the biggest pendulum swing you can.
The Alligator - Scarecrow Drill Click here to go to a video that explains this drill.
3 key phrases in this drill: 1. SNAP HAND 2. POP UP 3. POINT GLOVE
- SNAP throwing hand down on ball as it enters glove like an alligator's mouth snapping down on a fish. - POP UP in the scarecrow stance. Feet not too far apart in order to allow you to step with your left foot when you throw. - POINT GLOVE to where you want to throw the ball - Step and throw