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Also looking for advice on 4/5 year old baseball clinic

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  • Also looking for advice on 4/5 year old baseball clinic

    Hello again,

    I am also conducting a 4 and 5 year old baseball fundamentals clinic. Two teams are split into 9 or 10 kids each, and a new set of kids comes in every hour. We use very soft foam balls and foam bats.

    This is my 2nd year that I have been in charge of the coaching side of this clinic. I am looking for fun baseball-related games that 4 and 5 year olds can enjoy, that will hopefully allow them to work on their skills as well. As always, any ideas would be appreciated, and I'll try not to come across as a 10 year old this time.

  • #2
    Originally posted by tip184 View Post
    Hello again,

    I am also conducting a 4 and 5 year old baseball fundamentals clinic. Two teams are split into 9 or 10 kids each, and a new set of kids comes in every hour. We use very soft foam balls and foam bats.

    This is my 2nd year that I have been in charge of the coaching side of this clinic. I am looking for fun baseball-related games that 4 and 5 year olds can enjoy, that will hopefully allow them to work on their skills as well. As always, any ideas would be appreciated, and I'll try not to come across as a 10 year old this time.
    I worked with a group of 10/11 year olds this evening. The only thing I can offer is good luck. I am uncertain if you could teach anything substantial to a group of 4/5 y/o's, maybe 1 on 1....
    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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    • #3
      I am uncertain if you could teach anything substantial to a group of 4/5 y/o's, maybe 1 on 1....

      Agreed. I don't know if what I taught seven year olds would stick with four year olds. I taught them they needed a milk crate, an alligator and a snake to play baseball. Sit on the crate, swallow the ball like an alligator and put the snake's fangs in the ball to throw. This still doesn't encompass proper footwork and throwing technique. I can't imagine teaching proper hitting mechanics a typical four year old to remember the next week. So much of baseball is continual reps.

      I made the mistake of coaching four year old soccer. Soccer is much more movement than baseball. It was like herding cats to the roundup. Your best bet is a 2:1 instructor to player ratio.
      Last edited by TG Coach; 05-29-2008, 06:18 PM.

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      • #4
        Make it fun and work on basic fundamentals.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tip184 View Post
          I am looking for fun baseball-related games that 4 and 5 year olds can enjoy, that will hopefully allow them to work on their skills as well.
          Wad up some aluminum foil into a ball about the size of a golf ball and play "baseball" on a shortened field, using only player's hand as a "bat". You'll be surprised how these youngsters will actually "swing" pretty well, with many of them naturally employing their hips and torso into the swing and the ball size allows their little hands to make good contact, without trying to time a bat head into the equation.

          This is also a pretty good "hitting" drill for new players to the game in teaching lower body mechanics without them having to worry about figuring how to get the bat head to the ball. I see too many new hitters focusing on getting the bat to the ball and only using the upper body and hands to do so. Without the bat in their hands they tend to naturally rotate into the ball and take that into their swing once a bat is put into their hands.

          We've tried wiffle golf balls, but they are too light to throw any distance with little arms and the aluminum foil has decent weight and still doesn't hurt little hands or bodies when hit.

          Since this is your 2nd year, I assume I don't need to go into the patience or expectation requirements needed for 4 and 5 y/o's.

          Best of luck to you . . . better you then me,

          MV9
          Last edited by mudvnine; 05-29-2008, 08:35 PM.
          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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          • #6
            Good luck and don't try to assume you are going to teach them too much as you will fail. I would think that if you are successful in having them place their feet right on fielding, hitting, throwing then you have done well. Feet nice and wide, pointing forwards, done.

            I'd have short and fun drills. Lean a hula-hoop against the outfield fence and have them try and throw the ball through the hoop. Use a big barrel wiffle ball bat and softball sized wiffle balls. Gives them a better chance of hitting the ball. For throwing use the RIF baseballs so they can have a better shot at holding the ball and putting it forwards.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mudvnine View Post
              We've tried wiffle golf balls, but they are too light to throw any distance with little arms and the aluminum foil has decent weight and still doesn't hurt little hands or bodies when hit.
              With 4 YO's I would let them put their gloves on and hit the aluminum balls with the back of their gloves. Bigger target to hit the ball and more fun.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tip184 View Post
                Hello again,

                I am also conducting a 4 and 5 year old baseball fundamentals clinic. Two teams are split into 9 or 10 kids each, and a new set of kids comes in every hour. We use very soft foam balls and foam bats.

                This is my 2nd year that I have been in charge of the coaching side of this clinic. I am looking for fun baseball-related games that 4 and 5 year olds can enjoy, that will hopefully allow them to work on their skills as well. As always, any ideas would be appreciated, and I'll try not to come across as a 10 year old this time.
                You can teach them the basics of throwing properly.

                The big idea is to get sideways to the target and point the glove at the target rather than facing the target.

                See my piece on...

                - Proper Throwing Mechanics
                Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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                • #9
                  My biggest suggestion would be to get the parents involved. Unfortunately 4/5 year old won't remember much from a one-time clinic, but if in the process of teaching the kids the alligator to field grounders, thumbs up and pinkies down when catching (preferably using wiffles and bare hands) and to stand with their shoulders, hips and knees pointed at their target when throwing, the parents are the ones learning these cues. Then they can hopefully reinforce them at home in the backyard. Also, by having a parent roll grounders or play catch with their child, each kid is getting more attention and there's less standing around or chasing balls around the field.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                    My biggest suggestion would be to get the parents involved. Unfortunately 4/5 year old won't remember much from a one-time clinic, but if in the process of teaching the kids the alligator to field grounders, thumbs up and pinkies down when catching (preferably using wiffles and bare hands) and to stand with their shoulders, hips and knees pointed at their target when throwing, the parents are the ones learning these cues. Then they can hopefully reinforce them at home in the backyard. Also, by having a parent roll grounders or play catch with their child, each kid is getting more attention and there's less standing around or chasing balls around the field.
                    I would strongly second that idea. There's a program in this area that does clinics for baseball, basketball, and football. The clinics are geared towards 4-6 yo's. Every clinic is a "parent/child" clinic. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

                    In addition to teaching fundamentals, this program also stresses good sportsmanship, proper conduct at athletic events, keeping proper perspective on athletics vs. a balanced academic and social life, etc. A good portion of the clinic is subtly geared towards teaching the moms and dads how to model their kids' behavior in life and athletics. When describing the next activity or drill, the instruction is given to the parents, who then work with their kids under a coach's supervision. It's an excellent program. PM me if you'd like more information.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                      My biggest suggestion would be to get the parents involved. Unfortunately 4/5 year old won't remember much from a one-time clinic, but if in the process of teaching the kids the alligator to field grounders, thumbs up and pinkies down when catching (preferably using wiffles and bare hands) and to stand with their shoulders, hips and knees pointed at their target when throwing, the parents are the ones learning these cues. Then they can hopefully reinforce them at home in the backyard. Also, by having a parent roll grounders or play catch with their child, each kid is getting more attention and there's less standing around or chasing balls around the field.
                      Excellent points.

                      I would think about this as more of a "train the trainer" (IOW, the parent) session.

                      One of the best pieces of advice I got was to just play tons of catch with my kids.
                      Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

                      I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

                      Comment

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