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  • Need Opinions - T-Ball Philosophy

    Want some opinions:

    Factors to consider:
    1. Our first baseman can catch anything throw to him...in the air, short hops..whatever.
    2. The rest of the team is not catching the ball in the air
    3. The pitcher, short and third have good arms and can get it to first
    4. At this level, they're really not able to figure it out themselves and must be told what to do w/ the ball prior to it being hit.

    Questions:
    1. What is short to do when hit a ground ball with a runner on first?
    Throw it to second, run to second, or throw for the out at first?

    2. What is the pitcher to do when hit a ground ball with runners on first and second?
    Run to third, throw to third or throw for the out at first?

    I can only remember what I was taught in high school, which is to make the throws. However, at our skill level that'll be less outs. It makes sense to me, since they only get 5 runs an inning and we have the personel for outs at first, to just throw it to first everytime. Of course, everytime a ball is hit the three coaches are giving different instructions.

  • #2
    First, in my opinion at the tee ball level there shouldn't be players that are designated as first baseman, shortstop, pitcher, etc. Every kid should play every position. The only exception would be for safety reasons some kids shouldn't play pitcher or first. As far as where to get the outs with grounders, if there is a runner on first and the ball is hit to second and short I teach them to make the play at second base, but I have the rest of the infield just go ahead and throw the ball to first. With runners on first and second, the same thing, except the thirdbaseman can just get the force at third. I never tell my players to run the ball to a base unless it's their position. (e.g. the pitcher should always throw overhand to first for the out, not run it over.) We didn't have a catcher, so if the bases were loaded I still had the pitcher throw to first. There were always parents yelling for junior to run home and tag home plate for the force out, but I wanted the kids to learn the proper plays so they are ready for the next level. Don't focus on getting the best results at this age, focus on teaching the kids the right way to play, even if it means they don't make the out.

    Comment


    • #3
      The answer depends on the competitive level of your t-ball league.

      In our league, we don't count outs, runs or wins/loses. So most of our coaches philosophy at this level is to let everyone learn each position as best they can. Not to just let the one kid that can catch play first base and the one kid with a good arm play third. Everyone gets a chance to play each position, provided they are safe and not picking grass at first base when the ball is thrown to them.

      In our league everyone bats in an inning so runs don't matter. For me, I focused the first half of the season just learning to make good throws to first, regardless of who was on base. Then as they all learned that concept I would incorporate new concepts, such as getting the lead runner or getting tagging runners in non-force plays.

      It was all kept very basic and I only included new concepts or plays as they learned and comprehended the previous lessons.

      If you play in a more competitive league, then I would say to try for the lead runner. But always keep it at a level at which they can comprehend and execute. They probably aren't going to understand double-play depth or knowing when to throw overhand versus a flip for a double-play.

      1. What is short to do when hit a ground ball with a runner on first?
      Throw it to second, run to second, or throw for the out at first?
      I would probably either have them run to the bag or throw to second baseman covering. Its hard to say without knowing the talent. Second baseman also needs to know he has to cover the bag. This could be a hard concept at 5y.o.

      2. What is the pitcher to do when hit a ground ball with runners on first and second?
      Run to third, throw to third or throw for the out at first?
      Same thing - I would have him throw to third, but the third baseman must know to cover the bag. I wouldn't worry about how many outs. I would just say always get the lead runner regardless of outs.

      If they do not grasp the concept, then I would just have them throw to first every time regardless of where its hit or who is throwing.
      Last edited by jbolt_2000; 03-06-2012, 01:44 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jbolt_2000 View Post
        The answer depends on the competitive level of your t-ball league.

        In our league, we don't count outs, runs or wins/loses. So most of our coaches philosophy at this level is to let everyone learn each position as best they can. Not to just let the one kid that can catch play first base and the one kid with a good arm play third. Everyone gets a chance to play each position, provided they are safe and not picking grass at first base when the ball is thrown to them.

        In our league everyone bats in an inning so runs don't matter. For me, I focused the first half of the season just learning to make good throws to first, regardless of who was on base. Then as they all learned that concept I would incorporate new concepts, such as getting the lead runner or getting tagging runners in non-force plays.

        It was all kept very basic and I only included new concepts or plays as they learned and comprehended the previous lessons.

        If you play in a more competitive league, then I would say to try for the lead runner. But always keep it at a level at which they can comprehend and execute. They probably aren't going to understand double-play depth or knowing when to throw overhand versus a flip for a double-play.



        I would probably either have them run to the bag or throw to second baseman covering. Its hard to say without knowing the talent. Second baseman also needs to know he has to cover the bag. This could be a hard concept at 5y.o.



        Same thing - I would have him throw to third, but the third baseman must know to cover the bag. I wouldn't worry about how many outs. I would just say always get the lead runner regardless of outs.

        If they do not grasp the concept, then I would just have them throw to first every time regardless of where its hit or who is throwing.
        There should be NO competitive T-Ball league, if there is that is a problem.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by utseay View Post
          I can only remember what I was taught in high school, which is to make the throws.
          Please don't take this wrong, but did you not play or "learn" baseball before you were in HS? At what age did you first start playing baseball with a bunch of friends and from whom did you get your first "education"?

          Of course, every time a ball is hit the three coaches are giving different instructions.
          And that is your problem right there.

          Here's a crazy idea.....what would the game be like without the parents, and do you think the kids would eventually get it worked out amongst themselves?

          This is the beef I have with "organized" baseball for kids under about seven years old and "tee ball". Once the ball is hit, and the screaming from the sidelines start, there is nothing "organized" about the game in the least.

          Four or more kids run to the ball, battle over who's gonna pick it up, until finally, the "victor" stands there proud that he wrestled the ball away from his "opponents", but now has no idea of whose "instruction" he should listen to, in order to to finish the play. OK, rant over......

          As for your "philosophy", your only decision is determine your priorities......"winning" or "teaching" the game.

          "Teaching" the game and you follow what you learned in high school, if it's "winning" the game, and you have the player with the ball run to the bag himself to "make the play", avoiding the possibility of either a throwing or catching error, and the runner advancing to that base (or possible several others).


          Best of luck, whichever route you go,
          mud -
          In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

          Comment


          • #6
            Anybody who is teaching kids to run to bases rather than throw the ball is taking tee ball way too seriously. The only time a player should run to the base is the same as a real life baseball situation, when the fielder can beat the receiving player to the base.

            You need to make tee ball real basic. Don't confuse the kids. Most of the time the bases will be loaded. Teach them to make the play to the nearest base. Tell them when the play is at a different base.

            NO ONE SHOULD HAVE A POSITION. The players should be moved around every couple of innings. At the end of the year they should all play each position about the same time. You might want to spray paint X's on the field for where each position should stand. If you teach kids to get in a ready position for each swing you will have done a great job.

            Teaching and winning is less important than tee ballers having fun. You can evaluate your coaching success by what percentage sign up to play ball the following year. Each year a little kid returns for the fun he learns more baseball.
            Last edited by tg643; 03-06-2012, 02:34 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I coached my younger son's tee ball team 2 years ago. Non-competitive (of course) everyone plays the field, outs aren't counted.

              Like someone else mentioned, always have the kids switching positions. Let them play everywhere. In our league I frustration I had was that we had 8 tee-ball teams, and every coach seemed to play differently. For example, some coaches played that you could only advance one base on a hit, others played where you could keep going. If your league is anything like this make sure you speak to the opposing coaches before the game and agree. Ideally all your teams play with the same set of guidelines.

              Our league also let everyone play in the field. I had 15 kids. What I started doing during games would be to take 4 kids and actually do drills off in the OF with them and I'd constantly rotate kids in and out.

              Adam

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with everything said up to a point. When my son played T-ball at age 6 he was the only one that could catch a ball (thrown by anyone especially me) and could seriously hurt a kid when he threw the ball. In that case he should have been mandated first base for safety reasons or played in the outfield. In hindsight I should had moved him to 8U but I didn't realize how adept he was until he was on the field.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                  There should be NO competitive T-Ball league, if there is that is a problem.
                  I whole-heartedly agree. The last time I told someone they were taking these too seriously though I got blasted a little, so I figured I'd give this one the benefit of the doubt and provide some help.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Our league was an underhand (if you were a smart coach) coach pitch (overhand if you were an idiot and wanted to throw balls with the trajectory of a wicked 12-6 curve) with the tee brought out of the kid missed 5 pitches.

                    First base needs to be played by kids who can handle the position from a SAFETY perspective. Even if they don't catch the ball well, if they are paying attention and won't get conked on the head, they can play first for me. When I coached this age two years ago, I had five first baseman. The rest of the positions, including pitcher, were rotated amongst all players. Our pitchers wore helmets with masks on them.

                    Whatever you decide re: positions - announce it to your parents AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It helps if they know what to expect. Remind them that if they have any questions about the team, you'd be happy to hear them. Be open and approachable.

                    For infielders, I used to draw the kids' first initial in the dirt with my shoe right where they should be standing. After a few plays, the letter is fading fast, but the kid remembers it, looks for it, and goes back. By the next inning, it will probably be gone and not interfere with the next inning. They got a kick out of having their initial on their spot. It works!!

                    Try to teach a ready position for each pitch. This is tough, but helps them field the ball.

                    Teach your infielders that they move SOMEWHERE on EVERY hit ball. If it's hit to them, get it. If it's not, cover YOUR BASE. The only issue you would have is a ball hit to 3B -- does SS or 2B cover second?... The kids will work it out. They will cover the base maybe 10-25% of the time initially. Teach them to listen for the mental cue "COVER". Later, some of the kids will get it and cover their base a LOT, even if there is no throw.

                    Ground ball to Pitcher - ALWAYS go to first base. Keep it simple.
                    Ground ball which moves the player CLOSER to a bag where the out can be made, go ahead and trot over there with it and step on the bag. I did not teach kids to run a distance farther or close to the distance the baserunner has to cover. In that case, throw it. (In our league the runner stayed on the base even when out anyway)
                    Ground ball to third, step on that bag if there is an out available, otherwise, throw that thing!!!

                    I was awarded "coach of the year" honors (parents nominate coaches) for what I think was the fact that I kept ALL the game balls. After our last game, I produced 10 pens/markers and each kid signed each ball, then passed it around. EVERY KID went home with a ball from that season signed by all his teammates.

                    We also had several 1-2-3 innings, and the other coaches were besid themselves. The rest of the order hit through the lineup of course, but some games we made more outs in one inninng that the other team made all game.

                    Even if a 3B fields a grounder with no one one base, races to third, stomps on it and does a dance like he's just won a gold medal, PRAISE him/her.
                    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For all those worried about first basemen getting injured with throws. There aren't that many accurate throws over the course of the season. Use RIF balls that only sting a little if they take one in the face. Teach your kids to focus and follow the ball into the mitt. So what if they don't catch it. Any kids who follow the ball and knows he/she is about to take in in the face will duck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                        For all those worried about first basemen getting injured with throws. There aren't that many accurate throws over the course of the season. Use RIF balls that only sting a little if they take one in the face. Teach your kids to focus and follow the ball into the mitt. So what if they don't catch it. Any kids who follow the ball and knows he/she is about to take in in the face will duck.
                        There are always a few strong arms that can do damage to the first baseman whose mind tends to wander or catches palm up. When I had a weaker first baseman I used to make sure I also had weaker arms at the other infield positions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
                          There are always a few strong arms that can do damage to the first baseman whose mind tends to wander or catches palm up. When I had a weaker first baseman I used to make sure I also had weaker arms at the other infield positions.
                          I was on the baseball/softball board even though my son didn't play tee ball. At six he preferred working out at his sister's 12U travel softball practice. My daughter didn't play tee ball either. For tee ball the program used RIF's that were about has hard as getting hit in the face with a tennis ball. same texture too.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Standballdad View Post
                            There should be NO competitive T-Ball league, if there is that is a problem.
                            I see you're from SoCal, but these are the norm in the Southeast. All 5 of my kids played regular T-Ball - outs, wins/losses, and (gasp!) All Stars! at 4 different ball parks.

                            Some of the leagues allowed running to the base, some didn't. It's more interesting when they have to throw to 1st.

                            just throw it to first everytime
                            It depends on the players. Usually, you are lucky to have one kid that can catch a thrown ball, so, unless they can touch a nearby bag, you throw to 1st.
                            Last edited by songtitle; 03-06-2012, 10:11 PM.
                            efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by utseay View Post
                              Want some opinions:

                              Factors to consider:
                              1. Our first baseman can catch anything throw to him...in the air, short hops..whatever.
                              2. The rest of the team is not catching the ball in the air
                              3. The pitcher, short and third have good arms and can get it to first
                              4. At this level, they're really not able to figure it out themselves and must be told what to do w/ the ball prior to it being hit.

                              Questions:
                              1. What is short to do when hit a ground ball with a runner on first?
                              Throw it to second, run to second, or throw for the out at first?

                              2. What is the pitcher to do when hit a ground ball with runners on first and second?
                              Run to third, throw to third or throw for the out at first?

                              I can only remember what I was taught in high school, which is to make the throws. However, at our skill level that'll be less outs. It makes sense to me, since they only get 5 runs an inning and we have the personel for outs at first, to just throw it to first everytime. Of course, everytime a ball is hit the three coaches are giving different instructions.
                              My 2 cents.
                              1. Short should throw to 2nd.
                              2. Pitcher should make the easiest throw (go where ball takes them). Down the middle go 1st or 3rd (righty would probably find it easier to go to 1st).

                              You've got 3 kids that can throw to 1st, I'd say their is opportunity to learn to catch better. Sure, you could have the kids throw everything to first and get outs (or so it sounds like given the descriptions of the kids skills). However, if it was the end of the season and I had to pick an outcome for my kids (1) most wins vs (2) learned to catch, cover the base and get the lead runner, I'll take (2) any day of the week.

                              This is figuring that a kid that can make the throw from 3rd to 1st isn't in danger if the pitcher throws him the ball (even if he can't catch it most of the time).
                              Never played baseball, just a dad of someone that loves to play. So take any advice I post with a grain of salt.

                              Comment

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