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Thread: 1st year T-ball coaching advice

  1. #1

    Smile 1st year T-ball coaching advice

    I just started coaching T-ball the team is 4-6 years old only 3 players who are six. the rest are 4 and five. But first year for all players any advice on how to run a practice? We only had two practices so far we started out by small streaching then we run bases stoping at every base and yelling out each base name. Then break into stations working on the aligator drill and throwing. And last is hitting with a 10min break half way into stations. Coaches and assistants give brief on who did good on what station and who needs improvment... then we do quick stations again then last base running again.. then we get into a lil huddle and each coach speaks gave out tennis balls to each player reminding them they can practice at home with parents with there ball.... then we put our hands together and do a quick cheer. Call it a day.... can anyone give advice or drills to help with throwing? Thanks again for reading if grammer is sloopy I applogize I'm writting this on my phone at work

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigclemdawg View Post
    I just started coaching T-ball the team is 4-6 years old only 3 players who are six. the rest are 4 and five. But first year for all players any advice on how to run a practice? We only had two practices so far we started out by small streaching then we run bases stoping at every base and yelling out each base name. Then break into stations working on the aligator drill and throwing. And last is hitting with a 10min break half way into stations. Coaches and assistants give brief on who did good on what station and who needs improvment... then we do quick stations again then last base running again.. then we get into a lil huddle and each coach speaks gave out tennis balls to each player reminding them they can practice at home with parents with there ball.... then we put our hands together and do a quick cheer. Call it a day.... can anyone give advice or drills to help with throwing? Thanks again for reading if grammer is sloopy I applogize I'm writting this on my phone at work
    Concentrate on concepts not techniques. This will come later.
    Last edited by Jake Patterson; 02-19-2010 at 10:16 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I've got quite a bit of experience with this age group, having three boys who survived my managing their tee ball teams multiple times. It sounds like you're doing a great job of splitting them into stations and keeping them active. That's key at this age, as their attention spans aren't long. As far as throwing drills, I always started practice lining them up with a bal lin a semi circle around a bucket set against the back stop . Then they all point their lead shoulders at the bucket with their hands in the middle (like a pitcher in the stretch). When I say "step" they separate their hands and stride toward the bucket. I have them stop to make sure their front shoulder is still pointing at the bucket and their arm is in the L position with the ball pointing away from them. (Toward the SS if they were pitching from the mound). Then I say, "throw" and they finish the throw, aiming for the bucket. I do this several times, each time with less and less time between the "step" and "throw" commands until they're throwing in one motion. I don't have them play much catch with each other at this age because it turns into fetch instead.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like you are already doing a great job. T-Ball is not easy to coach. A lot like herding cats. The smartest thing you've done is handing out tennis balls. At that age, most kids are afraid to catch a baseball so the tennis balls are a great way to build confidence and overcoming fear.

    The hardest job will be when you start having actual games and find that half of your kids are busy playing with dirt and watching the clouds rather than paying attention to the game.

  5. #5
    1. 1) have fun
    2) set three or four simple goals for the season (run bases in correct direction, throw with close to correct form, catch, etc..)
    3) get a mascot (see story below)
    4) Have Fun

    Here is a short version of a story that summarizes the best season of baseball I ever coached:

    Our team was sponsored by Pepsi and we had to have a "sign" for opening ceremonies of our league. For our team I dressed a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi up in Groucho Glasses, wiggly eyes, a little hat, and named him Meat-Ball.

    For the entire year, Meatball sat next to the dugout mom and the players tapped him on the head for good luck before every at bat. When we needed a rally, he would coach third base with me. The kids loved him.

    At the end of the year, we had a pizza feed and drew names and gave Meatball away. I wish I could say that Meatball still lives on a little Kids shelf today...but, the kid drank Meatball that night after his parents put him to bed.

    In my mind, that is what T-Ball is about. You set the stage for the kids to love the game...get some skills...but mostly have fun! Some of these kids will go on the high school careers and some this will be their only year. Make it Great For All. If you do, you will make a mark and be remembered.

  6. #6
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    Winning and outcome is irrelevant

    Congratulations on being a mentor to kids. Here's a secret: it isn't about the game, it's about life. Make sure the kids are trying their best; the outcome is irrelevant.Do not worry about winning.Let all the kids play every position (except first base of course as it may be dangerous for some) A goal I always had for the teams this age was to teach the players to think for themselves. In other words, don't be the coach who screams instructions to the kids on defense when they have the ball (e.g., "throw to first") Teach them what to do in practice, then be quiet during the games and let them try to make the play on their own. After the play is over, you can instruct them on what they did right or what they could have done better. Being a puppet master and yelling instructions doesn't teach them one of the most important lessons in life and baseball: the ability to think and analyze things for themselves. A lofty goal at this age, but you'll be surprised to see the kids at least start to make some correct decisions with the ball, provided of course you can convince the parents to also refrain from yelling instructions during the games. With regard to skills, (1) teach them to catch with glove hand fingers to the sky on balls above the waist, (2) practice ground balls with a throw to your one player at first who can catch, (3) teach the basic swing using various drills you can find, (4)practice base-running: they should know when to run, when to return to a base, and with less than two outs, don't run until the ball hits the ground. (5) an outfielder's job at this age is to stop the ball and throw it to second. Above all, make things FUN for them so they will want to return next season. Good luck, Coach, enjoy the experience. It will end far too soon.

  7. #7
    As stated above, the key is to keep them busy. We ran our practices very similar to what you are doing. We had a lot of small groups and had hitting, base running, and fielding stations. We also did a lot of 5 on 5 or 6 on 6 scrimmages the last 20-30 minutes of practice before the season started.

    I love the mascot idea.

  8. #8
    thanks guys sounds fun we are getting better with each practice. most of the kids say they practie with there tennis ball at home. i was thinking of starting to do 6 on 6 scrimmages next week. Thanks everyone for there inputs and will be giving updates as the season rolls along. had a conversation friday with another coach and he was talking real highly of his team of how they are so competitive and aggressive and that he thinks they are taking the division. all i said was we are all first year players and all e want to do is have fun, eat pizza and get dirty.

  9. #9
    hey fellas I have another question. today at practice some of the parents were down talking the team saying that "I can see it now we are not going to win any games and we are going to be a bad team" stuff like that most of that was comming from parents of kids who dont pay attention and are sitting down on the field playing with the grass. How do i deal or treat stuff like that any advise would be great. Thanks again for all your help

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    TBall Rule#1: Run through 1st base
    TBall Rule#2: Run through 1st base

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigclemdawg View Post
    hey fellas I have another question. today at practice some of the parents were down talking the team saying that "I can see it now we are not going to win any games and we are going to be a bad team" stuff like that most of that was comming from parents of kids who dont pay attention and are sitting down on the field playing with the grass. How do i deal or treat stuff like that any advise would be great. Thanks again for all your help
    Nip that in the bud! It's not about winning at this level. By them talking about it makes it so...
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (18561929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by bigclemdawg View Post
    hey fellas I have another question. today at practice some of the parents were down talking the team saying that "I can see it now we are not going to win any games and we are going to be a bad team" stuff like that most of that was comming from parents of kids who dont pay attention and are sitting down on the field playing with the grass. How do i deal or treat stuff like that any advise would be great. Thanks again for all your help
    When my son played t-ball the coach told the parents that winning games would not be the ultimate goal of the season. He said if parents were disappointed when the kids lost a game the kids would sense the disappointment. He went on to say that this plus any negativity expressed by the parents about the results could push the kids away from a game that they could ultimately grow to love. I think his main goal with this speech was to shame/guilt the parents to praise everything about the season. At this age, they should be doing exactly that anyway.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by bigclemdawg View Post
    hey fellas I have another question. today at practice some of the parents were down talking the team saying that "I can see it now we are not going to win any games and we are going to be a bad team" stuff like that most of that was comming from parents of kids who dont pay attention and are sitting down on the field playing with the grass. How do i deal or treat stuff like that any advise would be great. Thanks again for all your help
    I would create a rule of conduct for the players and parents and hand it out at the beginning of next practice. Ours from fall ball was pretty basic such as no yelling at the kids, umps, coaches. If you have an issue with something do not talk to me after a game, but call me the next day. Parents pick up your trash in the bleachers, players clean out the dugout. Typical stuff, but in our league if a parent yells at an umpire or player, the coach gets a warning. Two warnings and the coach is suspended. I was very clear that if I ever received a warning because of parent behavior you will need to take your kid and not come back. I had a parent that I had been told could be a problem, but there weren't any issues.

  14. #14
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    Rules

    Here's what we use for 14-19. Feel free to use.

    TTAL Team Rules.doc
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (18561929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
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    Our League also makes it very clear that at the T-Ball level there is no keeping score, no playoffs, no 1st place, 2nd place etc. It is strictly about learning the fundamentals of the game and learning to love the game. I reiterate this in my team meeting. I suppose it also helps that at this level, every kid bats each inning. There are no outs and each kid gets a base hit. We sometimes modify this in the second half of the season to allow outs and extra bases if the player earns it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
    Our League also makes it very clear that at the T-Ball level there is no keeping score.
    eek, that's cruel.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    eek, that's cruel.
    Why is it a bad thing? At 4,5 and 6 years old I think the last thing they need is the stress to score and win. This level is all about fundamentals and technique.
    Plus, with our league, every kid hits in each inning and they all score - so they are tied games anyways. At least until the second half of the season where we work on getting outs to a small degree.

  18. #18
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    Make sure the mothers bring snacks for the kids.

    The good looking devoiced mother that know how to cook should be remembered.


    IMHO,

    drill
    Yogi Berra was asked by a reporter "How do you catch a knuckle ball?" He came right back and said "When it stops rolling"

  19. #19
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    One of my favorite stories... during one T-ball game I was fixated on the pitcher and teaching her her position, I looked to right field only to find no one there, I then looked over to third base only to find my son sharing an ice cream cone with his teammates... To this day neither his mother nor I know how he was able to get to the snack stand to get the ice cream cone... Needless to say the game was called early for ice cream cones.
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
    Why is it a bad thing? At 4,5 and 6 years old I think the last thing they need is the stress to score and win. This level is all about fundamentals and technique.
    Agreed. But I think the kids would handle it better than the coaches. As it is I see tee ball coaches playing a kid at second base. Not the position, but an additional infielder standing on second base. I don't how many times and had runners from first forced out at second on hard hits up the middle. The coaches know that's where most kids hit the ball off a tee. Then there's the team that would roll the ball to first base because they know they can get the out that way since the kids have a hard time throwing and catching. And this was in a league where no score was kept. I can only imagine what would happen if the coaches knew score was kept and there were wins and losses.

  21. #21
    Today we had a parent meeting to address the sideline coaching and the downtalking of players and the team. It was funny cause the girl who we were directing it too knew who it was directed too. And my assistant coach said if you would like to go down to the league office and fill out paper work to help coach we can get you the form. Everybody said heck no we will stay out of it. And again reminded them that its every kids first year and to go easy cause you don't want to scare or turn them away from a game that they might learn to love. And at this age its all about having fun and eating snacks learning and eating pizza

  22. #22
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    Dawg,

    The search tool here can be your friend.

    Two years ago, I was in the same boat as you....(http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...ons&highlight=) Now my second son is starting Tball this year.

    Kids at this age are very visual...try to remember that.....Have your arm make an L means nothing to them....I used to say 'ball by the ear, glove to the target...this starts to get the shoulders pointing towards the target as well....

    Make as much as possible games as they won't pay attention to direction at this age. This teaches them some skills without knowing they are learning...

    Have the kids do funny stuff not related to baseball, like jump up three times, then get in the 'baseball ready' position for fielding. Why? Keeps them listening to you, AND they do something fun, then watch/wait for the ball, instead of picking dandilions waiting for someone to hit the ball.

    But the best advice (besides Drill's above) is....have fun yourself. Laugh alot....If you're silly and having fun, then he's having fun... Having a kid running to the field is better than his parents forcing him to be there.

    Good Luck!!!!
    Last edited by zocco; 03-12-2010 at 05:09 AM.

  23. #23
    today was the second time we put the kids in postions. they are getting better by the day. next week is our first game i think by the time mid season comes around we should be a decent team and will be having alot of fun. thank you guys for all your help and pls keep the tips and info comming.

    side note we are a team stacked with first year players with only four 6yrs old kids and if most/all show up we will be a solid team.

  24. #24
    also we just had picture day and had a talk with the team and let them know that as long as they stay listening and working hard that the fun stuff is just starting everyone was excited and happy to wear there uniforms. we have a parade this weekend to start off opening day.

  25. #25
    hey dumb question. what should I wear as a coach on game days? I have a team custom shirt but what kinda pants/shorts should I wear?

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