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Thread: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

  1. #16
    Hot Stove Season HotCorner's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    My son is also four and loves him some baseball. He's been to three Reds' games in the past year and I was amazed at how well he behaved and followed the game. He quickly picked up when to shout 'charge'! The last game we attended after watching Edwin make a play at third he shouts "you're my buddy Eddie!" But he spent most of his time looking for and shouting for Griffey (his favorite player). Now anytime the Reds are on he likes to watch it with his dad. He gets real excited if the Reds hit a home run(very excited if Griffey). I've created a monster.

    Anytime we go outside he always wants to play baseball. He seldom uses the tee anymore and wants me to be "the pitcher". After watching so much baseball, he has his whole routine at the plate. He pounds the bat at the plate (trying very hard to break him of this), sometimes taps his shoes with the bat even though he's playing on grass and announces "Griffey Jr!". He's either Griffey or Dunn. He also likes Austin Kearns but trying to explain that he was traded took some time to sink in. (He now knows that Kearns plays on the Nationals.)

    When he focuses on the ball, he makes pretty good contact -again when he focuses on the ball. We use the big plastic ball and oversized bat for now. He's still a little too wild with the bat and is not always aware of his surroundings. However when we have a catch it's with a soft baseball. He's still learning to catch so I have to very careful with him. He's got a strong arm that's a bit inconsistent. I showed him the other night how to properly throw the ball. He picked it up pretty quick.

    Funny story: When we sometimes have a catch, he wants me to be the pitcher and he's the catcher (he even squats). Well after I threw a couple short of him (worried of him missing or me hitting him) he walks the ball to be and says "Pitcher! Throw it to my mit!" turns around and walks back to his spot.

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  3. #17
    I can do the Hully Gully IowaRed's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    my son turned 4 in April and will be starting T-ball in a couple of weeks. So far he hasn't shown much interest, he would much rather pretend the bat is a sword and attack invisible pirates. He actually asked me the other day what my favorite team was, completely out of the blue, which made me pleased that he was showing some interest. I said "the Cincinnati Reds" and assumed he was going to say the same since the games are playing in our house every night and since all of my Reds memoribilia adorns his bedroom. He said "mine is the Pirates" and when I asked him why it isn't the Reds he said "because I like pirates". So we are at a point where I'm letting him almost completely dictate our baseball activity. I've worked with him on holding the bat, where to stand in relation to the batting tee, how to wear his glove, and the names and order of the bases. That's about it, I'm hoping being around other kids and playing games gets him more interested. He is left-handed and takes a healthy cut and seems to be able to throw pretty well. Who knows, 40 years from now he might be a Cincinnati Red's RP.
    More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

  4. #18
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    I picked up a Tee-Ball Tee, a few soft-Tee balls, and a 25"/13oz bat for him this past weekend. He was BEYOND excited about the whole deal.

    I was a bit suprised at how quickly he adapted to the whole deal. He swings the bat with some authority, though I think we might concentrate on tennis balls to begin with as he can hit them much farther. I am not sure if he will be able to get the heavier bat around in time to hit live pitching or not, but I am sure we'll find out soon.

    We were tossing a tennis ball back and forth and he was being a bit timid about the whole thing. I dropped my glove and told him to throw the tennis ball at my chest to show him it wouldn't hurt if we missed one and it hit us. He wasn't so sure about it but tossed one at my chest. He then let me toss one at him (softly) and our game of catch went much better after that.

    GL

  5. #19
    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    RIC, why no underhand? I think I have stumbled on this myself and have been tossing to him moslty with an overhand flip on bended knee, but I am interested in why you feel this way.
    I just feel that it is a totally different perspective and one less thing for a kid to have to "adjust to" or "be afraid of." My son never played T-ball and went directly to "coach pitch." There were so many kids who were terribly afraid of the ball being thrown to them, overhand. I took a lot of these kids off to the side and tossed them a few, underhand, just to see if they could make contact. Nearly all of them could, but when we backed up and started throwing regularly, they were backing out and wanted no part of it. It was obvious to me that they associated the regular pitching with the fear of getting hit by the pitch. Many parents would come up to me and tell me that they didn't understand why their kids could hit in the backyard and not at the field. I would always ask them how they threw to them at home and it was nearly always, "underhand," because their backyard was small and they didn't feel comfortable throwing over the top. Many parents simply cannot pitch to their kids for fear of hitting them.

    The next problem is when the kids start pitching. Usually the ones that finally realized that coach wasn't going to hit them go back to being scared when they see the first kid take one to the body. Amazing how many kids take up soccer at that point.

    As we speak, my son has a really nasty bruise above his right knee where he got hit in a tournament two weeks ago. It's still a nasty shade of green. For whatever reason, he is not bothered by being hit, but there are a lot of kids that really struggle with it.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    I have no kids and have never done anything like this with a kid but from observations I would say make sure the kid has fun. Baseball is a game that you can love for a lifetime even when your not playing it. When I grew up I played baseball all the time with neighborhood kids and went to the reds games with my grandpa. All I would do is teach him how to throw correctly. Biggest thing would be to keep that elbow up when he throws the ball. Teach him how to swing but its difficult when the bats are heavy. But most importantly make sure he always has fun and enjoys the game.

  7. #21
    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    Make sure the kid learns the importance of scrappy play.

    Pitch to contact, on the other hand...

  8. #22
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC View Post
    I just feel that it is a totally different perspective and one less thing for a kid to have to "adjust to" or "be afraid of." My son never played T-ball and went directly to "coach pitch." There were so many kids who were terribly afraid of the ball being thrown to them, overhand. I took a lot of these kids off to the side and tossed them a few, underhand, just to see if they could make contact. Nearly all of them could, but when we backed up and started throwing regularly, they were backing out and wanted no part of it. It was obvious to me that they associated the regular pitching with the fear of getting hit by the pitch. Many parents would come up to me and tell me that they didn't understand why their kids could hit in the backyard and not at the field. I would always ask them how they threw to them at home and it was nearly always, "underhand," because their backyard was small and they didn't feel comfortable throwing over the top. Many parents simply cannot pitch to their kids for fear of hitting them.

    The next problem is when the kids start pitching. Usually the ones that finally realized that coach wasn't going to hit them go back to being scared when they see the first kid take one to the body. Amazing how many kids take up soccer at that point.

    As we speak, my son has a really nasty bruise above his right knee where he got hit in a tournament two weeks ago. It's still a nasty shade of green. For whatever reason, he is not bothered by being hit, but there are a lot of kids that really struggle with it
    .
    Agree with the first part.

    As for the second part, this is my oldest son's first year in kid pitch. His rec league team is really a combo league. The kids pitch, but when they throw ball 4, the coach comes in and throws up to 3 pitches for them to hit. There are no walks. I hate it. Most of the kids just sit and hope that the pitcher throws 4 balls so they can dig in and take swings against the coach, who lobs them in there for them. I refuse to do it. I get in there and throw just as hard to our kids as the pitchers that throw the hardest in the league. Our kids strike out. A lot. Because of me. So be it. They'll be better prepared down the road. The other kids that are hitting the crap out of lobbed pitches will be whiffing a lot next year. I'll sacrifice this year for next every time.


    Also, to further emphasize Randy's point, this is the kids first opportunity to get HBP. A couple of kids on my son's rec league team have been HBP. Some kids are OK with it, some are not. They are afraid of the ball and this only makes it worse. Teach your kids NOT to be afraid of the ball. Sure it hurts, but it won't kill them. Teach them that, no matter how you have to teach it. One kid cries it seems at every game. He either gets HBP, gets hit by a batted ball in the field, or gets hit between innings because he's not paying attention, and cries. He's a ball magnet, and he drives me friggin' insane. Also, one kid pitched the second game of the season. He threw the ball and hit a kid in the back. He was really upset, cried, and walked off the field. His parents haven't been able to talk him into playing again since then.
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  9. #23
    Hot Stove Season HotCorner's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    I will admit I was afraid of being hit when I started playing organized baseball. After getting hit a few times, I became less afraid. I stuck with it and did not let it chase me away.

    Side story about being hit. I had moved up one league due to age and had to face one of my ex-teammates who was our star pitcher. He threw hard and I knew I was going to get hit. Sure enough in my first at-bat I get plunked by his fastball right in the square of the back. Hurt like a mutha! Had the wind knocked out of me but stayed in the game.

    Another time I was taking fielding practice at third prior to the start of one of our games. The coach hit one that took a bad bounce and hit me square in the left eye. The coaches rushed over and brought me to the dugout. After looking at my face, he scratched me from the starting lineup. I told him I was fine to play. He said no and told me to look at a mirror . I went to tell my mom (dad was out of town on business) that I was not playing (she missed the incident). The look on her told me all I needed to know. I had a massive knot on my forehead and my eye was a shade of black/purple.

  10. #24
    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    A few of the kids on our coach pitch All Star team, last summer, really had a hard time adjusting to the way that I pitched during games. I threw the ball, quite hard, and a lot of folks questioned it. (Our rec league team won the championship last season and I threw it just the same to them.) I told them that it was all about preparing for the next level, and by season's end, all the kids were hitting the baseball real well and real hard. The kids on that team have flourished in kid pitch. The other All Star team from our league, last season, had a coach that pretty much lobbed it to their strengths. They were awesome, last summer, but a lot of those kids have really sturggled with the faster speeds that they have seen in "kid pitch." Many of those kids did not make the All Star squad this summer. The sooner that you get them adjusted to reality, the better they handle it.
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
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  11. #25
    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC View Post
    A few of the kids on our coach pitch All Star team, last summer, really had a hard time adjusting to the way that I pitched during games. I threw the ball, quite hard, and a lot of folks questioned it. (Our rec league team won the championship last season and I threw it just the same to them.) I told them that it was all about preparing for the next level, and by season's end, all the kids were hitting the baseball real well and real hard. The kids on that team have flourished in kid pitch. The other All Star team from our league, last season, had a coach that pretty much lobbed it to their strengths. They were awesome, last summer, but a lot of those kids have really sturggled with the faster speeds that they have seen in "kid pitch." Many of those kids did not make the All Star squad this summer. The sooner that you get them adjusted to reality, the better they handle it.
    My thing that I always say is: "If I throw hard and you hit it, it's gonna go FAR!" The kids eyes light up when they hear that. They want to be the kid that hits the ball over the OFers head and many of them work their butt off to do it. Like I said, a lot of them strike out, and that's fine, I always make a point to go up to them between innings and tell them they had a good swing (if they did), just need to work on timing more (quicker timing step, get your hands back more, that kind of stuff). Challenge thy hitters.

    And now I realize that really none of this is beneficial information for your four year old, gonelong My apologies.

    I had my three year old (4 in September) hitting off a tee last night. He throws R, bats L. I really like his swing and he hits the ball hard. I've decided to cut back on throwing him pitches for the time being. I made him do away with the Flintstone plastic bat and have him using an aluminum bat (like the one you bought your son). The problem is he's not strong enough to get the bat around fast enough to hit pitched balls well. I'm going to let him hit off the tee until my oldests' season is over and then will try pitching to him live again. I'd rather he get the repititions swinging off a tee now than hit 1 out of 10 pitches that I throw him. I use the tee to practice mechanics. Live pitching helps with timing and bat speed. We'll probably get back to timing and bat speed later this summer, or maybe not until next spring, but by then he should have his basic mechanics down.
    Last edited by Red Leader; 06-04-2007 at 02:48 PM.
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  12. #26
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    My son is 4. He actually started T-ball at 3, but I think it was a little early for him, so we spent most of the games sitting on the side, watching the other kids play. This year he's much more interested in it and seems to have fun, but there are still times when he and the other kids are more interested in playing in the dirt.

    So far he doesn't have a lot of oomph behind his swing, as he is too focused on hitting the ball cleanly (he hates it when he hits the tee). On the other hand, he has no qualms about putting his body in front of the ball to stop it when it comes to fielding. He's good at stepping and throwing, but holds the ball too long so that it goes into the ground. All in all, I just enjoy going out and playing with him.
    Last edited by Yachtzee; 06-04-2007 at 03:28 PM.
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  13. #27
    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    My son is now on his third game. They have him playing short and first base, alternating innings. He can't get the throw anywhere near first from short, neither can the other kids.

    When he plays first he spends alot of time chasing after the balls in the dugout. The coaches want him to get the ball and touch the base. The funny part is that he thinks he must touch the base where they told him to stand when he is waiting to recieve the throw. So in the last game, the runner reaches base, my son retrieves the errant throw, and walks all the way around the base with the runner on it. After doing so he sees that the runner has his foot on the spot he wants to touch. He kicks the kid's foot, taps the base, and then throws the ball in. He can hit the ball at home just fine, but in the games he has yet to make solid contact, and in half of his at bats he hits the tee. I think it is because he doesn't practice wearing a helmet, and the helmets are a shade big and have facemasks. I think they are heavy and throwing off his balance.
    The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    Funny story. A really good friend of mine has a younger kid in T-ball. They have a kid on their team that is just a riot and plays first base. He's a classic "country boy" type who talks with a nice southern drawl. Facemasks on helmets are not at all prevalent in our league. There was a kid who was wearing one who got a hit and was on first base. The first baseman walked all the way around the kid, staring at him like he had three heads. Out of nowhere, he says very loudly, "Where'd you git that football hailmet? We're playin' basebawl. You're not sposed to be wearin' no football hailmet. Someone git this kid a battin' hailmet. Where'd you git that football hailmet?"

    Needless to say, the parents were laughing their butts off. Kids are great!
    Talent is God Given: be humble.
    Fame is man given: be thankful.
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  15. #29
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    Randy, that is hilarious.

    I copied and pasted it into an email to share with some friends who would appreciate it.

  16. #30
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    Re: What are the best techniques for teaching baseball to a four-year-old?

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC View Post
    I just feel that it is a totally different perspective and one less thing for a kid to have to "adjust to" or "be afraid of." My son never played T-ball and went directly to "coach pitch." There were so many kids who were terribly afraid of the ball being thrown to them, overhand. I took a lot of these kids off to the side and tossed them a few, underhand, just to see if they could make contact. Nearly all of them could, but when we backed up and started throwing regularly, they were backing out and wanted no part of it. It was obvious to me that they associated the regular pitching with the fear of getting hit by the pitch. Many parents would come up to me and tell me that they didn't understand why their kids could hit in the backyard and not at the field. I would always ask them how they threw to them at home and it was nearly always, "underhand," because their backyard was small and they didn't feel comfortable throwing over the top. Many parents simply cannot pitch to their kids for fear of hitting them.
    I think I agree with you about not throwing underhand to kids at the age of 4 or 5. But don't underestimate the value of the underhand drill called "Front toss" especially for kids the age of your son. We did that drill in high school and in college and I know a number in the major leagues do it as well. I'd like to hit off the tee for a little then move into a cage and have someone sit behind an L screen about 15 feet away and throw the ball underhand. Basically it's like a moving tee, really makes you get your swing down for pitches on all parts of the plate. You get immediate feedback and can correct yourself pretty easily. Then after that drill then I'd like to hit some regular BP...
    "In our sundown perambulations of late, through the outer parts of Brooklyn, we have observed several parties of youngsters playing 'base', a certain game of ball. Let us go forth awhile, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our close rooms, the game of ball is glorious"
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