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6th Grade A Team - Expectations and What to Teach

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  • 6th Grade A Team - Expectations and What to Teach

    I just found out that I will be running our school's A team -- we had 24 kids sign up for baseball, and we split them up into 2 teams of 12 -- and I was wondering what people thought would be appropriate in terms of expectations for what to teach at this age.

    As far as the league goes, each catholic school puts one or two teams in either the A league or the B league. The A league is somewhat competitive and the B league is very recreational. In terms of the kids, ours are a very athletic bunch, and have won it all in soccer 2 years in a row and won it all in basketball last year. About half of the boys will be playing on other select and/or tournament teams.

    I teach everyone to bunt as part of hitting, so that's covered. What I'm interested in are people's feelings with respect to things like bunt defense and team defense (e.g. relays and cut-offs). I have good enough athletes (most are at least athletic enough to have a shot of playing in high school) that I can start to teach everything the right way, so what do you think a competitive 6th grader should be learning?
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

  • #2
    I would say it depends on the sophistication and attitude of the kids. If they're eager to learn, and seem highly capable, then why not teach the more subtle intricacies of the game? To my mind bunt defense, relays, and cut offs are essential aspects of defense and should absolutely be taught at that age. But again it depends on the kids. I suppose too much new info. thrown at them too quickly could backfire, but if you approach it layer upon layer in a logical sequential progression, one skill building on the next, I would think they'd be all over it.

    The sixth graders on my son's team are very much capable of learning those kinds of things. Just make sure a good solid base of fundamentals is in place first.

    Have fun--sounds like a great spring in store for you!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
      I just found out that I will be running our school's A team -- we had 24 kids sign up for baseball, and we split them up into 2 teams of 12 -- and I was wondering what people thought would be appropriate in terms of expectations for what to teach at this age.

      As far as the league goes, each catholic school puts one or two teams in either the A league or the B league. The A league is somewhat competitive and the B league is very recreational. In terms of the kids, ours are a very athletic bunch, and have won it all in soccer 2 years in a row and won it all in basketball last year. About half of the boys will be playing on other select and/or tournament teams.

      I teach everyone to bunt as part of hitting, so that's covered. What I'm interested in are people's feelings with respect to things like bunt defense and team defense (e.g. relays and cut-offs). I have good enough athletes (most are at least athletic enough to have a shot of playing in high school) that I can start to teach everything the right way, so what do you think a competitive 6th grader should be learning?
      Chris I think you know the answer to this... Teach them the basics, keep it fun, play everyone, move them around.
      "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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
        Chris I think you know the answer to this... Teach them the basics, keep it fun, play everyone, move them around.
        Yes, but I'm interested in prioritization.

        Are relays and cut-offs more important than footwork at second base when receiving a ball on a throw-down?

        Part of the issue is that some of these guys seem uninterested in doing things the right way -- things like making sure that the catcher and the first baseman are on the same side of the line on a throw down to first after a dropped third strike -- and I'm trying to figure out what to get on them about and in what order.
        Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Here's a question about the cut-off man.

          I know that some people want the cut-off man to have his arms up and out so that the OFer can throw the ball through the goalposts to the bag, but is that the right way to teach it? Should the guy on the bag be the one whose arms are up so that it's more obvious who is the cut-off and who is on the bag?
          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
            Yes, but I'm interested in prioritization.

            Are relays and cut-offs more important than footwork at second base when receiving a ball on a throw-down?

            Part of the issue is that some of these guys seem uninterested in doing things the right way -- things like making sure that the catcher and the first baseman are on the same side of the line on a throw down to first after a dropped third strike -- and I'm trying to figure out what to get on them about and in what order.
            You have a liited amount of time... ake a list of what it is you want to teach and pick one or two items per practice. I always used something like:

            30 minutes - Dynamic stretching, warm ups, etc.
            30 minutes - Drill work - throwing - Infield / outfield etc.
            30 minutes - New item
            15 minutes - Base running
            "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.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post

              Part of the issue is that some of these guys seem uninterested in doing things the right way -- things like making sure that the catcher and the first baseman are on the same side of the line on a throw down to first after a dropped third strike -- and I'm trying to figure out what to get on them about and in what order.
              One thing that may help is making sure you present the WHY and not just laying down the law. If a kid hears a coach say "I want you to do it this way because that's the right way" some kids may roll their eyes and think "yeah, whatever." But if they hear the coach say "I want you to do it this way because it will avoid this problem or that problem and it will make it easier for you to get the out for your team" then it's not just the voice of authority telling the kid to obey. It's showing the kid why doing it that way will make it easier to succeed (getting the out, scoring the run, etc.).

              Of course if you have a kid with an attitude who doesn't really want to be there, or is intent on asserting his independence by ignoring the authority figure, it can be tough...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Megunticook View Post
                Of course if you have a kid with an attitude who doesn't really want to be there, or is intent on asserting his independence by ignoring the authority figure, it can be tough...
                We have a number of these kids, which makes it tough.
                Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  What size is the field?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
                    We have a number of these kids, which makes it tough.
                    Scare them. They're kids - it works. Tell them they get their act together or they just gave their "A" roster spot to a "B" kid.
                    There are two kinds of losers.....Those that don't do what they are told, and those that do only what they are told.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shake-n-bake View Post
                      Scare them. They're kids - it works. Tell them they get their act together or they just gave their "A" roster spot to a "B" kid.
                      I've been working on the Bull Durham "Lollygaggers" speech.
                      Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris O'Leary View Post
                        I've been working on the Bull Durham "Lollygaggers" speech.
                        Do you have to keep kids on the team or can they be told to leave and not come back?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tradosaurus View Post
                          Do you have to keep kids on the team or can they be told to leave and not come back?
                          Generally, once they are on the team, they are on the team.

                          We had an issue with one of these kids in soccer, and the solution was for him to not come to practice and to just play in games.

                          That's obviously far from ideal.
                          Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My sons 5th and 6th grade team has a very laid back atmosphere. At first I thought it was going to be wasted time. In reality it has been a great experience for him. He absolute loves it! No pressure. Free to try new things on the field. The team is loaded with talent and they are doing very well. It's more or less sandlot environment with adult supervision. Granted most if not all players come from very structured baseball programs that are currently in progress. This seems to be a great outlet to "show off" amongst their peers. Twelve players come from about 8 different competing teams from Travel ball to a very competitive LL.

                            Maybe back off a bit. Let the kids be kids and just enjoy the game for what it is a game. If it's anything like our situation the kids are getting enough instruction from other teams. I have been very impressed with how relaxed they play and how much fun they are having.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by real green View Post
                              My sons 5th and 6th grade team has a very laid back atmosphere. At first I thought it was going to be wasted time. In reality it has been a great experience for him. He absolute loves it! No pressure. Free to try new things on the field. The team is loaded with talent and they are doing very well. It's more or less sandlot environment with adult supervision. Granted most if not all players come from very structured baseball programs that are currently in progress. This seems to be a great outlet to "show off" amongst their peers. Twelve players come from about 8 different competing teams from Travel ball to a very competitive LL.

                              Maybe back off a bit. Let the kids be kids and just enjoy the game for what it is a game. If it's anything like our situation the kids are getting enough instruction from other teams. I have been very impressed with how relaxed they play and how much fun they are having.
                              The problem is that when I just let them be, they show off by doing baby throws and seeing how bad they can throw.

                              Some of the issue is that some of these kids are very immature and/or need lots of attention, and I can only do so much because I am not getting very much help. Some of these kids literally can't or won't be quiet when one of the coaches is speaking. They are always talking to each other or muttering under their breath.

                              I do have them play Indian Ball, and they tend to be very competitive when doing that, but that doesn't work on all of the fundamentals like team defense.
                              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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