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Thread: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

  1. #1
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    Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Hi all-
    I played baseball most of my life, but I don't recall the first years when I was learning the basics. My 5 year old son just started his 1st season a few weeks ago and its been a very slow process (as expected). His hitting and throwing is decent or at least has a good start, but the catching part isn't working out yet (skill and fear of the ball). Getting the glove to the ball is improving slooooooowly but I cant get him to turn his glove the right way and am worried he will get hurt soon if he doesn't figure it out. I have a pitchback that I have been having him use and we play catch of course but he still wont turn his glove up for anything above waist, as well as turnover for anything to his right. Does anyone have any advise, drills or tips for a 5 yo of things to get him to start turning his glove depending on ball location? His team has had about 8 practices and have their first game this weekend, unfortunately he missed 2 practices with the flu, 3 with his tonsils taken out and weather has cancelled a few so he is really going into the 1st game way behind the others. Thanks for any ideas!
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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    I'd use a tennis ball so that it doesn't hurt/he shouldn't be afraid. I also threw to my son with his back against a wall (with a tennis ball) so that he couldn't back away from the ball.

    I'd also consider skipping 5 year old team baseball altogether unless he's got a really good coach (who actually teaches). It's generally a complete waste of time. You'd do better to spend whatever time he'd otherwise be in practices/games in the backyard playing/working with him.

    The actual turning of the glove the correct way just comes with practice. Just make sure he starts with his glove up.
    Last edited by Boston Red; 04-12-2018 at 11:58 PM.

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    bounty37h (04-13-2018)

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Get one of those tennis ball/velcro things everybody had back in the day. That way he can learn to get his glove/hand in the right place at the right time.

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Great topic for discussion. I too, can't remember when I knew/learned the "basics". But the one thing I did learn when I was working with my kids is not to get frustrated with things "we" take for granted that they don't comprehend.
    ...and this one belongs to the Reds.

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Assembly Hall View Post
    But the one thing I did learn when I was working with my kids is not to get frustrated with things "we" take for granted that they don't comprehend.
    What if they're ten, and you've been telling them the same things over and over for several years and they're still not doing those basic things? OK to get frustrated? Asking for a friend.

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    dubc47834 (04-13-2018)

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Walmart (as well as many other places) sell foam bats with foam like balls (they're harder than a typical foam ball, but won't hurt). Kind of like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/Franklin-Spor...foam+baseballs

    however, the one I bought at walmart for my 2.5 year old came with a tee, foam bat, and 1 ball, then they sold a sleeve of 5 or 6 balls that I bought as well. @ 2.5 he's obviously a little young, but he loves when I take his older brother across the park to work on hitting/throwing he loves to act like he's hitting of the regular tee with his bat so I figured I'd get him one that he could grow into a bit. As an added bonus, the balls make for great fun for the older boy still as he uses them to play home run derby on the tennis courts at the pool in the summer time with a bunch of other kids. So even though its a foam bat and ball, you can get some decent launches on them.

    Anyhoo, as others mentions, similar to tennis balls (they're a little lighter than a tennis ball) they won't hurt even if you "zing" it a bit at them to get them used to a line drive. Also, being smaller, and lighter than a tennis ball, it forces them to close down their glove around the ball even a bit earlier. I'd start with "pop" flies, try and land it right on top of his head, so he's force to look up and hold his glove up. The ball will likely pop out more often than not as they're not heavy enough to force the glove closed like a real baseball, but it will get them used to turning their glove up. Then once he gets the handle of that, gradually bring down the arc of the "pop up" to where eventually its like he's catching a throw from 2nd base as a 2nd baseman. Then eventually switch to pop ups with a real baseball. At 5, my son rarely turned his glove the right way, but we'd constantly go in the back yard and play catch. I'd throw him as many pop ups as he wanted, and eventually he learned. It takes time and growth, don't worry about it. I have kids on my oldest son's team (he's 9) that I have to remind to turn their gloves the right way, your son may be behind the best of the best, but he sounds like he's on a similar level to most kids I helped coach at 5 and 6.

    Some other thoughts, don't know the quality of the league, but I'll assume its not much different than what my kid experienced. There will be 2 or 3 kids per team that can actually field the ball a bit, throw a bit and catch a bit. He may be behind, but he won't be that far behind. I disagree with Boston Red's sentiment on it being a waste of time. While having a good coach is always a plus, its 1) and opportunity for him to be outside and have fun, with other kids his own age. 2) as I mentioned above many/most of the kids won't be any good, some would rather play in the dirt, perhaps you're kid will be one of those kids, so the most important thing is that it remains fun (baseball at that age can get very slow and boring, few if any balls are hit into the outfield, not a ton of outs other than grounders to first or a bounce back to the pitcher. 3) there is much that you can learn, running the bases in the proper spots, where to play on the diamond for each position, what base to throw to on defense depending on where the base runners are, and what position you are playing. You can teach them how to advance bases on a pop up (most won't get caught, but some will so they can't just take off for 2nd if the ball is hit in the air), how to get back to the base if its caught. You can teach the outfielders to always throw the ball into 2nd base on the occasions that it does get out to them, work with them on staying alert even though it gets boring out there for them at that age. you can work on the RF covering the 1b on a ground out because the ball will get thrown over the 1st baseman's head. I'll assume you're league won't let kids advance at that age on something like that, but its an example of the kind of fundamentals that can start to be incorporated into their game so that as they advanced, they are already comfortable with some of the fundamentals. 4) Its a game, the most important thing is to have fun. There will likely be the coach who puts his best two players at pitcher and 1st base ensuring that he gets as many outs as possible, but in the long run, its best that kids move around to a new position each inning so that they can gain a perspective on each spot, know that the 3rd baseman doesn't stand on 3rd base when fielding, get used to the drain of playing in the outfield, etc...
    Posting in the clutch since twenty ought two.

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    What if they're ten, and you've been telling them the same things over and over for several years and they're still not doing those basic things? OK to get frustrated? Asking for a friend.
    As long as they are having fun, its all good. As long as they won't to keep working, keep offering advice. My son LOVES to go across the street to the park and throw or hit, if the weather is decent we can blow an hour+ just doing various baseball or football things at the park. If they don't love it, let them figure out where their passion lies and help them the best you can. At the end of the day, non of our kids are going to make a living playing baseball (or whatever sport) so the most important thing is that they are having good experiences.
    Posting in the clutch since twenty ought two.

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    What if they're ten, and you've been telling them the same things over and over for several years and they're still not doing those basic things? OK to get frustrated? Asking for a friend.
    I tell them to pick a different sport!!!!!!
    ...and this one belongs to the Reds.

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    Re: Youth Baseball help/advise needed

    Thanks all, esp Medford for the advise, some great stuff here I will take and incorporate with my boy. The one thing that's most important to me is that he is having fun with it. I like him being on the team so he gets used to playing with other kids, and that makes it more fun as well as pulls some more competitiveness out of him. We don't live in a neighborhood with kids do school is the only chance he gets to paly with kids most of the time and that s only recess, not team sports so he doesn't have that extra gear yet of wanting to go all out when playing sports. His coach is good-he played college ball and has good patience with the kids and teaching them and bringing them along. His dad helps coach too-and he has 40+ years of coaching kids and works with them individually when he see's something he can help with which has been great. I help coach as well and try to give him some pointers but don't want to focus on him during team stuff and make him feel awkward there. My main thing, as others have said, are to be as encouraging and supportive as I can while making it fun, and letting him know its the greatest thing to me just to spend the time with him. His first game is Saturday, on the same little league I started on and my dad coached me on (how I wish he could be there Saturday), so am looking forward to the old memories coming back as well as the new ones we will make together. He is on the Braves, his 1st game is against the Reds, so looks like they will start with a win at least
    UNC Tar Heels 2017 National Champions 6 time NCAA Champs!!!
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