11 Fun Youth Baseball Drills for Your Next Practice

Baseball is great for improving self-esteem by broadening your player’s abilities, and help them live up  to their potential. There are so many different areas where players can improve, with so many options. But the key to making a player better at what he does is repetition. Having fun youth baseball drills helps players improve on weak spots in swinging, fielding and pitching by keeping their attention.

Here are some drills that focus on fielding balls in the infield and outfield, improving pitching technique and reinforcing good batting skills. Using drills helps lets players isolate weak areas and make them stronger by modifying body movements. Repetition sets good habits in stone and it becomes second nature.

1. Pop Fly Drill

This drill’s primary focus is to help kids catch a fly ball and remove the threat of injury.

The Focus

  1. Improving the player’s ability to catch difficult high fly balls and making eye to hand coordination better.
  2. Using tennis balls instead of hardballs helps players overcome the fear of being hit by the ball
  3. Improving players’ glove grip around to a tennis ball will improve catching with a hardball.

Drill Setup

The coach takes a bat and a bucket of tennis balls to home plate. Three players at a time are  placed in the infield by first, second and third base. Move those players whose skill improves to the outfield, until all three players go to the outfield.

The Drill in Action

Take a tennis ball and throw a shallow fly ball to each player from left to right (3rd base to first base). As each player catches the tennis ball, increase the height of the ball in the air.

When a player can catch high fly balls and hold his glove near to his body, repeat another half dozen times before moving the best improved player to the outfield first. Use the bat and hit tennis balls to the outfield to catch, until they can catch flies near to the body.

Call the players back into the infield and take a bucket of hardballs and repeat, first with low-flying balls, then with high flies.  Move your players to the outfield and bat the balls to them again.

2. Cutoff Drill

This main focus of this drill is two-fold: first, increase the speed and accuracy of the ball from the outfield to home plate, and teach outfielders to rely on infield players, instead of throwing from the outfield to home plate.

The Focus

  1. Show players the importance of throwing to the cutoff infielder instead of throwing the ball from the outfield all the way to home plate.
  2. You want your outfielders to get in the habit of throwing to the infielder
  3. The throw to home from a cutoff infield player is more accurate than a long throw from the outfield to the catcher

Drill Setup

The coach stands at home plate. Have a competition by lining up two rows of players in parallel lines extending from home plate all the way to the outfield fence. Players should be about 25 yards apart from each other.

The Drill in Action

Starting in the outfield, the player with the ball throws it to the next player in line, who relays it to the next player and so on. The coach stands at home. The first line of players to get the ball in the coach’s hand are the winners. Compete in a best of 5 or best of 7 competition.

3. The Ground Ball in the Bucket Drill

The purpose of this drill is to improve ground ball fielding abilities for everyone on the team. The drill enhances fielding skills and getting the ball the the base bag.

The Drill

  1. Players focus on retrieving ground balls and handing them off to a base.
  2. The skill of getting the ball into the glove for quick release to another infielder.
  3. Designed to improve the ability to field ground balls and then skillfully release the ball.

Drill Setup

Place an empty bucket on top of the second base bag and another empty bucket behind it in the infield. Players line up in a line, one behind the other to the outfield, at either side of the second base bag (at shortstop and second base positions).

The Drill in Action

The coach hits ground balls to the player at second base, who catches it in his glave and runs it to the bucket and drops it in, then runs to the back of the line behind shortstop. Now hit a ground ball to shortstop, the fielder picks it up and drops the ball into the bucket, then switches lines and goes to the back of the line behind second base.

4. Three Ball Front Toss Drill

The purpose of the three-ball front toss drill is to improve hitting balls pitched to the batter on  the inside, center and outside of the plate. The drill teaches through repetition placement of feet, hands and hips.

The Focus

  1. Teaches batters when to swing at balls thrown inside, middle and outside by matching time of swing with ball placed at home plate.
  2. Repetition of the drill makes players modify batting stance to connect with balls pitched to inside, middle and outside of the plate.
  3. Drill improves players ability to track ball accurately in the air towards them.

Drill Setup

The coach places three balls on the ground at home plate. The inside ball is placed to the left front of the plate, the middle ball at dead center in front of the plate, and the ball for outside pitches at the right front of home. Simply reverse ball placement for left-handed batters. Each player takes takes a turn at the plate in his usual batting stance.

The Drill in Action

The coach stands at a point in the infield between the pitcher’s mound and home plate. A barrier or portable batting cage is recommended for the coach to stand behind as he pitches balls slowly in an underhand motion to the batter.

Each batter should try to hit three balls pitched to the inside of the plate to improve his inside pitch swings, three pitches over the center of the plate and three on the outside. After nine balls are tossed, the next batter comes to the plate, and so on until everyone is given a chance. This drill should be performed twice during practice, once near the beginning of practice and once at the end.

5. Hitting Off a Ball Tee Drill

This drill allows batters to focus on the minute body movements made during his swing, helping him to fine tune his approach to the ball with the bat. Players improve by focusing on the ball and hitting it cleanly without knocking over the tee.

The Focus

  1. Batters break down every part of their swing, and feet, hips, arms and bat swing at the ball as a stationary target.
  2. Helps flatten players’ swing and make solid contact with the ball.
  3. Hit the ball cleanly without knocking over the tee.

Drill Setup

Place a batting tee with a height adjuster in front of home plate. Place a net behind the tee. The player assumes his normal batting stance.

The Drill in Action

The coach places a ball on the tee raised to the center of the player’s body. The batter swings at the ball and hits it into the net. Allow the batter 7 swings and watch as he hits the ball and improves ball contact. Next, move the tee to the bottom part of the batter’s strike zone and allow him 7 swings. Finally, move the tee high in the strike zone as he hits it 7 more times.

6. Practice Swing Using Two Balls

This drill is challenging but also a lot of fun. Its purpose is to help improve players’ focus on the moving ball. The two balls create a distraction and forces the batter to focus on the ball you want them to hit.

The Focus

  1. The player improves his reaction time to the incoming ball
  2. Batter zones in on the colored ball you instruct him to hit.
  3. Player becomes able to ward off distractions and keep his eye directly on the target.

Drill Setup

You’ll need two wiffle balls that are different colors, or use spray paint if they’re both the same color. The player can stand at home plate but doesn’t have to. The coach stands opposite him.

The Drill in Action

Stand in front and close enough so the wiffle balls can be thrown straight to the batter. Throw the different colored balls at the batter, then yell out which color you want him to hit.  Over time, as the player’s focus improves and he’s consistently hitting the right ball, throw the wiffle balls faster with less time in between throws. Drills like this one are a lot of fun.

7. Over the Line

This practice is to help players hit to the opposite part of the field away from their power. For right handed batters, the drill encourages hitting to right field, and left handed batters into left. Fun drill that promotes opposite field hitting.

The Focus

  1. Improve hit placement in batters.
  2. Expand their placement of the ball hit to the opposite field.
  3. Batters who place hit around the field can place the hit ball to an advantageous spot on the field and drive in base runners.

Drill Setup

Pull together enough players to fill half the diamond. For right handed batters, position the players at first and second base, center field and right field. A pitcher stands on the mound.

The Drill in Action

Instead of three strikes, the pitcher throws the ball to the batter who focuses his placement to the opposite field away from his power. Thus a right handed batter should hit the ball to first or second base, and center and right field.

The batter bats as long as he is able to hit to the opposite field. As soon as he pulls the ball to his power alley, he is out, and the next batter comes to the plate. Switch the players on the field to the opposite side for a left handed batter.

8. Heavy Bat Snap Drill

A batter with well-developed wrists and forearms will be better at place hitting and hitting for power. Focusing all the batter’s strength at the end of his arms teachers him to use his entire arm in a swing, not only the more powerful biceps and shoulders.

The Focus

  1. Develops the entire arm so batters have more control over the direction of their hits
  2. Doing drills with a weighted bat makes a bat of normal weight feel lighter and easier to manipulate.
  3. Player’s strength is not only his shoulders and biceps but over the length of his arms.

Drill Setup

This is an individual batting drill and the drill is only limited to how many donut weights you have. The player can stand anywhere on the field for this drill. Wrap a 16 oz bat sleeve or donut weight around the bat. Give the bat to the player.

The Drill in Action

Instruct your player to hold the weighted bat straight out in front of his body. Observe him as he brings the barrel of the bat back to the top of his head by only bending his wrists.

When the bat is over his head, instruct him to “snap” the bat back into starting position, snapping the bat as accurately as possible and return to his starting position.

Ask him to repeat the procedure for a total of 10 repetitions. Look closely for crisp, sharp movement of the bat, and make your observations known. If the player spots the bat out in front of him at nose level, he’s done it right and should then be encouraged to repeat the snap for a total of ten times.

9. Heel Up Pitching Drill

This drill focuses on the pitcher’s foot and helps him to move the power in his body from the heel, through the knee and out to the arm. It’s also great for helping pitchers build up speed and maximize their bodies. This applies especially to smaller pitchers.

The Focus

  1. This drill focuses on whole body mechanics and can be done with or without the coach’s supervision.
  2. The pitcher learns how to roll the back foot over to release the knee.
  3. Learning to throw from leg to knee to arm in a fluid motion helps others gain control over their pitch placement.
  4. Observe closely for a good roll of the back foot on the pitch.

Drill Setup

This pitching practice drill can be performed anywhere on the field. It requires a catcher in addition to the pitcher. The catcher does not need be at regulation distance from the pitcher at first, but pitcher and catcher should increase their distance apart as the pitcher throws his repetitions.

The Drill in Action

The player who is pitching stands facing the catcher sideways and with his feet shoulder width or a little more. He ricks back, putting the weight of his body on his back leg.

The player, holding the ball in his pitching hand, pulls his throwing arm back and extending his other arm out, forming a T-position. Then he throws the ball and transfers his weight to his opposite knee.

The player repeats this for a total of 15-25 repetitions. As he feels more comfortable with this throwing stance, the catcher can move about 10 feet further back, until both players are regulation distance apart. They can reach of distance or 10 feet beyond normal pitching distance which helps to reinforce his stance.

10. Pitch Without a Ball

This drill helps pitchers perfect their motion when throwing. Its purpose is to get good, consistent pitching action from right to left, or left to right for left handed throwers.

Drill Focus

  1. Pitcher works on his throwing motion without throwing the ball.
  2. Good drill for pitchers who’ve recently thrown in a game and have a pitching motion flaw they need to work on.
  3. The drill should be practiced until it becomes second nature. He can feel the motion in his body even after the drill is completed.

Drill Setup

The pitcher can be situated anywhere on the field. He should be equipped with a glove and a baseball to help in the throwing simulation.

The Drill in Action

The pitcher sets himself in pitching position. He goes through his pitching motion from breaking his hands, pulling his throwing his arm back, forming a T, and transferring his weight from his heel, through his knee and into his arm. He simulates a throw and finishes by following through and ending with his knee inside his elbow.

This is a good drill for the coach to observe and to ask his pitcher questions to compare his form in the drill to the way he threw the ball in the game. Ask your pitch to try and identify the flow, and ask him what he thinks he could do to eliminate the flaw.

Once the flaw in his motion is identified, exaggerate the corrected form. For example, if a pitcher isn’t moving his body low after he simulates throwing, tell him to touch their knee to the ground at the end of his motion. Repeat this until he does it well without exaggerating.

As a coach, you’re looking for good right-to-left action in right handed players, and left-to right in Left-handed throwers. Always keep an eye for pitching fundamentals are there.

11. Base Running From Home Plate Drill

This drill reinforces the idea that the first step taken after hitting the ball is the most important one. It’s easier to start in a sprint than to build up speed while running.

The Focus

  1. Improves running time to first base after hitting a lone drive, fly ball or ground ball.
  2. Trying to get extra bases on balls hit in alleys and far from fielders by modifying players’ approach to first base
  3. Maximizing base potential by watching the ball in play while running.
  4. Focuses on the first step taken out of the batter’s box after getting a hit.

Drill Setup

Place the entire team on the field as if a ballgame is being played.  Line up a set of batters to come to the plate.

The Drill in Action

The pitcher throws the ball to the batter, and the coach calls balls and strikes behind home plate. Watch the batters run after hitting. Observe the hitter running to first base.

If the batter hits a single, he should run to first base in a straight line. Upon reaching it, the runner shuffles his feet at the end of the run to help him slow down.

On a hit that could potentially become a double, runners don’t run to first in a straight line. Instead, they run in a semi circular motion to first base and pick up momentum after stepping on the bag and run to second base.

If a ball is hit that might be either a single or a double, the runner rounds out his run to first and slows down as he heads to second base, keeping his eye on how the ball is being played on the field.  He should slow down on his way to second base to get back to first in time.

Two factors are important for the coach to follow when the batter runs from home plate. The first is to see how quickly he can start his sprint to first after releasing the bat. The second is to observe how well he keeps his eye on the ball.

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