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Exciting Youth Baseball Drills Every Team Should Have

youth baseball training for infielders Joe Swope

Quality experienced youth coaches have a few vibrant favorite youth baseball drills at their disposal. These baseball practice drills are amazingly energetic for any age level.

There are some youth baseball drills that everyoneshould have. This total team practice drill can be a fantastic way to polish off a baseball practice.

It is competitive, practical and useful from beginning age levels, all youth leagues, rec leagues, amateur leagues, travel ball, high school baseball and college baseball.

'Around-the-Horn' Drill is
One of My Favorites

coaching baseball team catch and throw drills and conditioning

The mini-competition practice youth baseball drills works like this. Divide your team into three evenly matched groups. Two of the groups are combined together to form the blended defense. One group is batting.

The batter hits the ball anywhere on the field and takes off running around the bases. The offensive team ‘counts’ every base they touch while the defense is throwing the ball to each other.

Meanwhile the blended defense must throw the ball ‘Around-the-Horn’ so that each player catches the ball and throws it once. Once the player catches and throws the ball to the next player he takes a knee.

The game stops once all players have caught the ball and have thrown it and everyone is on a ‘knee’. At that moment the batter/runner stops and totals all the bases that were touched during his run around the bases.

Here are some further procedures and options for the mini-competition youth baseball game/drill.

How to Play 'Around-the-Horn'
Practice Drill Games

  •  Fill in four players in the infield at the positions and three or four in the outfield all spread out. If you have more than eight players on defense then you can put one on the mound and/or catcher.
  •  Coach pitch, machine pitch or have a player throw a batting practice pitch. No strike outs. You want the ball hit and put in play.
  •  Batter runs on any fair ball. No bunting allowed.
  •  Defensive players can only move two steps toward the ball (except the one or two players that the ball is hit to). This prevents ‘bunching’ where the players all bunch up and only have short throws or underhand throws.
  • Defensive group has to decide what is the most efficient order to throw the ball to each other depending on where the play originates and where the play ends.
  •  Each player must catch it and throw it. If there is an over throw or a player misses the ball, the ball has to be returned to that player so they can make their throw before they can take a ‘knee’. (Players ‘take a knee’ after they have thrown the ball so we know who is left to still catch and throw).
  • The play is over when the ball thrown to a designated coach maybe on the mound or when everyone has ‘taken a knee’, so every player would have to make a throw on each play.
  •  Batter/runners will usually get to touch at least three bases on any turn, and up to six or eight depending on how fast they are and how the defense performs. So a runner may easily ‘round the bases’ more than once. This becomes quite a conditioning drill, too.
  •  Groups rotate after one or two complete turns at bat (depending on how much time you have). Have everyone bat once and the drill should be over in 15 minutes or less.
  •  Batting team must ‘count’ out loud each base their group’s runner touches to keep score. Helps to have someone keep a tally on a clip board or index card.
  • Coaches option to ‘count’ an extra base if the runner gets half way to the next base (this is incentive to keep running hard even though the ball is getting near to the last player at which time play ‘stops’).

More Format Tips for 'Around-the-Horn' Baseball Drills

  • This game requires every player to catch and throw on every play, and they have to throw accurately and get rid of the ball relatively quickly. Very good catching and throwing practice under game like intensity.
  • Be alert for physical differences. If you have a really physical kid throwing to a kid who is really weak catching the ball, then the ball will probably get by him every time. You may have to move kids or discretely tell the hard throwing kid to ‘soften’ his throws to the kid that struggles to catch the ball. 
  • (Try one-hopping the ball to them). Hey, just trying to help the less talented kids to have some success, too. The drill does expose the players’ strenghts and weaknesses in catching and throwing skills.
  • If the runner fails to touch a base do not count the base.
  • Positions are irrelevant because no one is covering bases. In fact when the players find out the best skilled players are usually needed in the outfield because the throws are longer and take more arm strength, accuracy and catching ability.

The youth baseball drills game has a lot of value because it emphasizes catching and throwing for each player on each play. It does not matter where the ball is hit so players are not judged on how well they hit. It provides good conditioning and baserunning practice, too. It is fun, good youth baseball drill to end the day on.

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