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In the quest to be a "great" coach, sometimes we can lose focus on one of the main reasons kids are here, which is to have fun.  While drills are an important part of every practice for teaching fundamental skills, finding ways to play games and have less structured activity in practice keeps things fun and exciting and keeps even the most dedicated daisy picker engaged.  Check out the below games and try one out at your next practice.  If you have a favorite game you would like to see here, let us know at [email protected].

Relay race

Split team in 2.  Half starts at home, half starts at 2nd base.  When coach says go, 1st runner on each team begins to round the bases.  MAke they are running the bases correctly.  Next runner goes when the previous runner reaches the original starting base.  Variation: Have them carry a ball and hand it off to start the next runner

 

ABC

Split up into 3 equal team (Team A, Team B, Team C).  Team A is in the outfield, Team B is in the infield, Team C is hitting.  Then just play ball. When that half inning is over, Team A moves to infield, Team B bats, and Team C goes to outfield.  Most runs wins.

 

There are lots of variations for this.  Can hit off tee, coach pitch, soft toss, or full, live pitching.  First time through, everyone gets an at bat or maybe strike outs don’t count.  Second time through, strike outs count and/or you switch at 3 outs. To save transition time, after 3 outs, remove any baserunners and let the batting team keep hitting for 3 more outs before switching.

 

Home Run Derby

Make 2nd base home plate, or move 2nd base out into the outfield (or in to the infield) as needed.  See who can hit the most balls over the fence. Use foam balls, wiffle balls, or regular balls. Let the kids hang out by the fence and “rob” home runs.

 

Hit the Bucket

Make 2 lines around the pitcher's mound/  Move further or closer depending on your players age/skill level.  Place a bucket (Stuffed animal, empty 2 liter bottle, whatever makes a good target) on top of a chair or other bucket (something to raise it off the ground a few feet).  Two coaches hit ground balls, 1 to each line. The players field the ball and try to hit the bucket with their throw, 1 point for each time they hit it. First team to 5 wins.  Speed up and hit grounders as fast as you can to increase the competition level. Slow down and go one line at a time to increase the drama factor.

 

3, 2, 1 Run

Divide the team up into two teams. One team is at bat and one team is lined up behind 3rd base.

Take three balls and line them up at intervals of about 5-7 feet apart from 3rd base toward home plate. They should end about half way between 3rd base and home plate. The team at home is called Team 1 and the ones on defense are Team 2.

Have the 1st player from Team 2 stand on 3rd base with her glove while the 1st player from Team 1 is at home plate. When the coach says, "Go", the defensive player must run to the 1st ball, pick it up and make a throw to a teammate standing at 2nd base (have a bucket there to drop the balls into), then go to the 2nd ball and do the same thing and on to the 3rd ball. The player at home starts running at the sound of "Go" and runs to 1st base and on to 2nd.

The object of this game is to throw all three balls to the defensive player at 2nd base before the offensive player gets there. This is a LOT harder than it sounds, but it teaches making fast, accurate throws while under pressure.

After all members of each team have had a turn, switch places. You may have to adjust the distance between balls to make it fair for each team.

 

Ultimate Baseball

Just like ultimate frisbee but using a baseball instead of a disc. To discourage excessive “long bombs” have a rule that you had to do at least 3 throws before a score. Alternatively, have a rule that every player must get the ball at least once before each score. You’ll see some kids with less throwing and catching skill really pick up their game as they stopped thinking, started doing and had a ton of fun.  Substitute tennis balls for baseballs for younger or less skilled players.

 

Knock Out

Line up the whole team on 3rd base.  Put a coach on first. 1st player takes the short stop position.  Hit a grounder. Player has to field it cleanly and make a throw to 1st.  If the ball is dropped, the throw hits the ground, or the coach is pulled off 1st base by throw, the player is out.  The grounders get harder in each successive round (hit to the side, hit choppers, etc). Can also be played with fly balls instead of grounders.

 

Champ or Chump

Everyone gets their bats, keep hats and gloves close by. They line up to take a hit off of a coach or machine. They get one swing; if they hit it fair, they go to the back of the line. If they miss or hit foul, they are a 'chump'. They are out of the line-up, but get their gloves and head to the field. In the field they can earn 'redemption' by cleanly fielding 2 or 3 hits (you pick the number). If this is achieved, they can get back in the hitting line. The last person in line is the 'champ'. One note; when there are two batters left, if the first misses or fouls, they hang tight. If the last batter misses or fouls, the second to last gets another chance. This continues until one of them gets a hit. (this description makes it sound more complicated than it is... my girls always love it)

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Richmond, Virginia 23235

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