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adampad
03-30-2007, 11:10 AM
I am attempting to help coach a T-Ball team and would love to hear some tips or ideas. Keeping the attention of a group of 5-7 year olds is VERY hard to do.

MississippiRed
03-30-2007, 12:12 PM
The main point is not to have too many kids standing in line for anything very long. You probably have 12 or 13 kids on your team, right? Get 4 or 5 other dads/moms and set up five or six of the following stations: fielding grounders, fielding flies (short popups really), throwing (throwing arm straight back, pull glove hand to chest), getting the ball out of their glove with a four-seam grip (very important for accurate throws), batting, catching thrown balls (someone has to play 1B, it's the most important position in t-ball), baserunning, and sliding. Use big pieces of cardboard for the sliding drill. Rotate these drills for a while, then have a scrimmage. Whichever drills you don't use one practice, use the next.

rotnoid
03-30-2007, 01:57 PM
The most important things you can teach kids at this age are probably love of the game and keeping their eyes on the ball. Anything beyond that is gravy. It's probably not the time to explain the suicide squeeze or the infield fly rule, have fun with it and they will to. Don't get me wrong, I love winning, but that has to start somewhere.

Blimpie
03-30-2007, 07:26 PM
The main point is not to have too many kids standing in line for anything very long. You probably have 12 or 13 kids on your team, right? Get 4 or 5 other dads/moms and set up five or six of the following stations: fielding grounders, fielding flies (short popups really), throwing (throwing arm straight back, pull glove hand to chest), getting the ball out of their glove with a four-seam grip (very important for accurate throws), batting, catching thrown balls (someone has to play 1B, it's the most important position in t-ball), baserunning, and sliding. Use big pieces of cardboard for the sliding drill. Rotate these drills for a while, then have a scrimmage. Whichever drills you don't use one practice, use the next.You have nailed it right there.

I have been coaching kids for about the last four years (ages 5-9 during that span). The worst thing you can do to a kid that age is ask he/she to come to practice and make him wait 3-5 minutes without doing anything.

Gotta keep them moving...or else you will lose them to the daisies and butterflies.

Spitball
03-30-2007, 07:39 PM
I would start practicing without gloves. Perhaps have them practice rolling the safety ball back and forth between each other. Teach them to trust their hands rather than using their gloves as nets.

I'd urge the parents to buy the kids small gloves so the kids learn to field rather than try to basket catch the ball.

Also, be sure they don't dip their back shoulders when hitting off the tee.

Lockdwn11
03-30-2007, 08:01 PM
One drill I found very helpful to my 6 year old is take a 5 gallon bucket and a hand towel turn the bucket upside down and have them hit the top of the bucket with the towel(in a throwing motion) it will teach them the proper way to follow thew on their throws and it's fun for them.

MississippiRed
03-30-2007, 10:30 PM
I would start practicing without gloves. Perhaps have them practice rolling the safety ball back and forth between each other. Teach them to trust their hands rather than using their gloves as nets.

I'd urge the parents to buy the kids small gloves so the kids learn to field rather than try to basket catch the ball.

Also, be sure they don't dip their back shoulders when hitting off the tee.

These are very good points. I used to use "no-hand" drills for kids up to about 12 years old. Reminds them to keep their throwing hand next to their glove hand, give with the ball when catching it. Works very well.

And on the shoulder dipping, one thing that will help is to raise the tee. A lot of t-ballers keep the tee low and the hitter will try to lift the ball. Doesn't work, just like it doesn't work in golf.

Tom Servo
03-30-2007, 10:34 PM
Stress making contact with runners in scoring position.

paulrichjr
03-31-2007, 12:47 AM
Teach them how to run the bases the correct way. I know this sounds simple but kids don't understand that they can run past 1B or round first when going for a double or more. Kids really love to run the bases also. It is probably the biggest thrill they get in pratice. I use to time each kid running (every practice at the end) and celebrate when the beat their best time. Even 12 year old kids love this.

Caveman Techie
03-31-2007, 08:47 AM
I'm coaching right now also (9 and 10 year olds) and everyone that posted above is correct, keep the kids busy. I try to keep practice moving without the kids just standing around waiting.

Another thing I do is take the last 10 - 15 minutes of practice and play wiffle ball, or we call it Bubba ball. It's no gloves, the biggest bam-bam bat you can find, and shortened bases, and the kids get five swings with me pitching (although you would probably still use a tee). My kids love it and they don't even realize they are still learning, they have to field using both hands, they have to get the out at first, and they have to keep their eye on the ball when batting. I always try to end Bubba ball after one inning, sometimes two if it goes quick, but I always end it with the kids wanting to keep going. That right there is the key, if they leave while still wanting to stay, they are more likely to come back. Also you can use it as an incentive for the kids, after one particularly bad practice where kids were just horsing around, and not paying attention, I took Bubba ball away and we didn't play. You better believe they were all perfect little angels that next practice.

TheWalls
03-31-2007, 10:31 AM
In my experience coaching Tball if you can make sure everybody has come basics like:

1) run thru first base
2) play a position instead of running to every ball
3) throw the ball instead of running it
4) pay attention to every play instead of planes, trains, butterflies, etc.
5) hands correctly on the bat
6) keep your eye on the ball on the tee and hit the ball instead of the tee

and don't get anybody hurt and work to ensure that everybody has fun and you've been a good t-ball coach.

fargo55
03-31-2007, 02:18 PM
All great advice, I'll only add this nugget. "The only ball that will ever hurt you, is the one you take your eye off of". -My Dad

Strikes Out Looking
03-31-2007, 02:24 PM
I've done t-ball off and on 5 years--this is my final year as my kids are going to be graduating from it.

Most of the above advice is very good.

Keep it simple and short. I tend to teach very basic things like what the positions are (playing 2nd base and 2nd base are very confusing to little ones).

And finally, have them debate various things--should the Reds carry 2 or 3 catchers, trade Adam Dunn?, what to do with Milton. It will make you feel like you are logged on to Redszone.

alexad
03-31-2007, 02:32 PM
Teach them the good things like keeping your shirt tucked in and hat on straight at all times. In the past our team has been the only team to do this and the kids think it is pretty cool to be the only ones doing it. Also tell them you will buy ice cream at the end of the season if they stay out of the dirt.

Of course teach them the beginning fundamentals of the game.

TexRed
03-31-2007, 10:12 PM
Don't keep score, keep it fun for the kids and parents. They can learn to win and lose as they get older, plus it keeps the parents from fighting. History based on experience.

Hey Meat
03-31-2007, 10:16 PM
Just keep it fun. I coach High School basketball, and am very competitive. I try to keep it(t-ball) pretty laid back as far as my competitive nature and have a good time watching the kids learn and have fun.

Heath
04-01-2007, 07:25 AM
I tell my t-ball team to Play The Game The Right Way. They are an extremely Scrappy Bunch. I tell them that Home Runs Are Overrated and I've got an 8 yr old on my team for Veteran Precesence because He Knows How To Play The Game.

I also have 3 catchers on my roster.

Redlegs
04-01-2007, 08:27 AM
The best drills I've ever seen to develope hand-eye is batting off a tee, and have a coach or player flip the ball to a batter and have him/her hit it into a fence from close range, over and over.

I was helping coach a catholic school team in Deer Park for a week while the coach was on vacation. We had a kid who hadn't made contact all year, let alone get a hit. I took him and worked with him for two days using the drill where I took a knee with a bucket of baseballs and had him repeatedly hit the ball into the fence. When the game rolled around, we put him in for the final 3 innings. He got one at bat and grounded out to short. You would have thought the kid hit a grand slam. He was pumped and so was I.

Newman4
04-01-2007, 09:28 AM
Hey, keep them all awake (especially when they are in the game), aware of where the restroom is at all time (and who went and who didn't), running the bases counter-clockwise and don't forget important details like whose parents turn it is to buy slushies after the game and you'll be fine.

RANDY IN INDY
04-01-2007, 01:50 PM
All great advice, I'll only add this nugget. "The only ball that will ever hurt you, is the one you take your eye off of". -My Dad

Your dad was a very smart man.:beerme:

11larkin11
04-01-2007, 02:31 PM
Stress making contact with runners in scoring position.

HAHAHAHAHAHAAHA

Highlifeman21
04-01-2007, 09:58 PM
You should get on the bandwagon to eliminate T-Ball completely, as it teaches nothing but free swinging and hinders development of plate discipline and plate patience.

I bet Juan Pierre was great at T-Ball.

OSUmed2010
04-02-2007, 09:52 AM
1) Make them run from the dugout to their position on the field. This will show hustle, and impress hall of fame broadcasters.
2) Encourage scrappy-ness.
3) It might help to get some veteran presence on the team.
4) Last but not least... make sure they play the game the right way. These kids probably have young bodies, so they should be good to go.

James B.
04-02-2007, 10:32 AM
In my experience coaching Tball if you can make sure everybody has come basics like:

1) run thru first base
2) play a position instead of running to every ball
3) throw the ball instead of running it
4) pay attention to every play instead of planes, trains, butterflies, etc.
5) hands correctly on the bat
6) keep your eye on the ball on the tee and hit the ball instead of the tee

and don't get anybody hurt and work to ensure that everybody has fun and you've been a good t-ball coach.


This is great advice. I coach tee ball also, and these are things I stress also. Some coaches pick the fastest player on their team and teach them to chase down the other players. It helps to win but it doesn't teach them how get better and learn the game.

MississippiRed
04-02-2007, 11:52 AM
This is great advice. I coach tee ball also, and these are things I stress also. Some coaches pick the fastest player on their team and teach them to chase down the other players. It helps to win but it doesn't teach them how get better and learn the game.

This is good advice, and also it got the thread back on track. I coached t-ball 2 years, and we would not let our pitcher chase down guys, everyone had to throw the ball. It's all about learning the game.

James B.
04-02-2007, 04:11 PM
This is good advice, and also it got the thread back on track. I coached t-ball 2 years, and we would not let our pitcher chase down guys, everyone had to throw the ball. It's all about learning the game.


I was watching one of the other teams practice the other day and the coach would get mad if the kids tried to throw the ball. He would tell them not to throw it but to run the ball.