When it comes to youth baseball, whether travel baseball, select baseball, or just recreational baseball, the drills and workouts you practice can make or break your teams performance on the field. Not only does an athlete need to work on their personal skills and conditioning, a team needs to be able to bond and play well together to find lasting success during the season and that all starts with your coaching!
In this post, we’ll share our top 7 favorite youth baseball drills that are certain to help take and motivate your team to the next level of performance!
The swing and slam is a great drill to work on shoulder, abdominal, and swinging strength!
The way the drill works is first you have your baseball players take a medicine ball and stand a few feet away from a wall. Next, you have your players toss the ball at the wall in a swinging motion. As a bonus, you can alternate the drill with switching the side your players throw it on by doing a 180 as you catch the ball. The switch drill is a great way to work on switch hitting strength and comfortability.
The AC/DC drill is a fantastic drill to help work on accelerating (AC) and decelerating (DC) at a rapid pace. Which will sure be handy when your youth players are running base to base. The way it works is you set up cones with about a base distance in between them, then have your players accelerate into the cone, and then decelerate when they're approaching the cone. From there you just repeat for however many reps you'd like them to run! You can run this drill as a baseball conditioning drill or as a quick burnout drill depending on how long you want to run it for.
Check out this video for a great example of how this drill works. This drill will certainly get your players ready to run the bases quickly and effectively.
A lot like the AC/DC drill, the step side shuffle and run is a fantastic way to get your players to work on leading off bases and getting ready to steal or run to the next base. It’s also a great way to get your players used to turning and accelerating quickly when it’s time to run to the next base.
You can do this drill by either running the bases or by setting up cones about base distance apart. Have your players side shuffle about 2-3 times and then turn and start sprinting towards the next cone/base and repeat. This drill can work hand in hand with the AC/DC drill, and you could even combine the two if you feel like getting creative!
This video by Critical Bench has a great example of the drill!
The stride, pause, stride, swing drill is great for working on the fundamentals of batting for youth players. In this case, the younger your players are, the more critical it is to make sure they understand the fundamentals of batting before they start to build up bad habits. To start the drill, have your players get into a narrow but comfortable baseball stance. Next, have them stride out with their lead leg and pause into a regular baseball stance as if they're about to hit the ball. Wait a second, and then from there, have them swing and hit the ball off the tee!
Checkout this video from YouGoProBaseball for a great tutorial on this drill!
The PVC Drill is fantastic for working on your players swinging fundamentals but from a different angle than the stride, pause, stride, swing drill. Just be sure to make certain your players are in a baseball stance, and taking it seriously as this youth baseball hitting drill can have some serious benefits when done right!
To do this drill you’ll need a PVC pipe. You can pick some up at your local hardware store for very cheap, and then you just need to cut it about 5 feet long, depending on the age of your players. Or about as far as a baseball bat would be if you set it on top of your players shoulders.
Once you have the PVC ready, you can have your players put the PVC pipe up against their shoulders and hold it up with their arms crossed. Next have them get into a batting stance with a small bend in their knees. Following getting into a proper stance, instruct your players to move their hips towards the tee as if they’re going to hit the ball right on the sweet spot!
This video by YouGoProBaseball does a great job on giving you an easy rundown on how it should look!
The 7-cycle high octane drill is a great drill to work on your teams in-field passing game and also team skills. From a coaching perspective, it’s perfect since you can do this drill with your whole team instead of grouping up or doing it individually!
This drill is fairly creative, so feel free to create your own 7-cycle drills! Just be sure to make sure your players are in their main position and are working on in-game type reps. You can run this drill for about 50-100 reps each practice with your players which is a great way to get them into a rhythm and build up strong habits come game time!
A few cycles you can run with your team could be anything from, running the bases, fielding and grounding balls, to working ball handling drills and more.
For some more information and a few cycles you can work into your drill, check out this video by Championship Productions on Youtube!
The last drill on our top 7 list is all about building up your players ball handling and fielding skills. One of the most important aspects of baseball is being able to catch, throw, and field balls and even at a professional level it should never be overlooked!
To start the drills, you can have your players get warmed up by putting a ball in and out of their gloves in various positions such as around the back, around their heads, waist, and their ankles. This way, your players can start to build up the habit of ball handling in a lot of different positions so they can learn to never feel uncomfortable with their position mid game! Following the warm up part of ball handling you can have your players go between their legs with one of their feet forward, followed by a figure 8. All in all, this drill is a great way to warm your players up before hitting the field!
Check this video by Championship Productions for a great example of these ball handling drills!
When it comes to training your players for the youth baseball season, regardless of their age or skill level, there’s always something that can be improved and worked on. From ball handling, to batting, to building up strength, all of these factors can play a major role in your players on-field performance and confidence.
While our top 7 drills don’t include every type of drill you can run with your players, they're a great place to start to build your own youth baseball practice plans!
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