Teaching Little Leaguers the basics of the game can be challenging. Yet, practicing the best Little League drills that help improve a team can be the difference between a successful season and a frustrating one.
Soft-Tossing Fly Balls
Catching flyballs is one of the biggest bugaboos for youngsters just starting out in Little League. While the professionals make every flyout routine, children will find creative ways to missplay basic popups. \ The primary reason kids struggle in this aspect of the game is difficulty judging how to catch a flyball due to a lack of depth perception.
It takes time and hours of practice before each flyout becomes instinctive. Fear is another underlying issue that plagues some young athletes. A single injury can scare them away from the ball for the rest of the season. Using softer baseballs and throwing them a short distance in the air as a drill can solve this predicament and turn your squad into gold-glove outfielders.
The Bucket Drill for Grounders
Another fielding fundamental all Little League players should master is handling the groundball. You can take several avenues to help hone their skills, but the bucket drill might be the most effective.
Place a bucket up the middle at second base and have them make two lines on each side of the bag. You will hit choppers through the infield, giving each side a chance to field the grounder and toss it into the bucket before moving to the opposite side.
Perfecting the Relay Throw
An underrated aspect of elite defense is perfecting the relay throw. Some coaches focus so much on throwing strength that they lose sight of fundamentals. You don’t need a rocket arm in the outfield to consistently throw out runners when you hit the cut-off man.
With your full team at every position and a baserunner on the bag, drive a ball into the gap and watch the action play out. Observe how everyone reacts and instruct them where to throw the ball. The second baseman should go halfway between the center and right fielder, while the shortstop should set up halfway from the left and centerfielder. The team’s defense will drastically improve when the relay throw becomes second nature.
Double-Tee for Leveling a Swing
The double-tee drill is one of the finest baseball-hitting workouts for young players to learn proper swing mechanics. This training exercise helps hitters make solid and consistent contact with the baseball, giving them a power stroke regardless of how heavy and powerful their bat is.
Take two tees and place one a foot behind the other. The idea is to put a level swing on the tee with the ball. If they swing with an uppercut or downward, they will strike the second tee behind it. A level swing that doesn’t graze the second tee produces a line drive, which is the result that pleases all coaches.
Incorporating these Little League drills that help improve a team will pay dividends as the season progresses. Fundamental baseball is the key to winning at these earlier levels.