Posts Tagged ‘youth’

Hard Ball Talks – Special Guest Elliott Finkelstein

ElliottHard Ball Talks
Date: October 12, 2015
Guest: Elliott Finkelstein, Director at Triple Crown Sports. You can learn more about Elliott and the professional events that Triple Crown Sports hosts at
Topic: With an increasing number of youth clubs forming, more and more tournaments and events popping up, it is critical for us coaches and parents to take a more active role in the assessment of finding the right experience for our athletes. Events have the ability to be a contributor to the right experience in youth sports or a deterrent. Elliott took some time with us to discuss sports events, tournament experiences, and his overall passion to improve the youth sports platform.


Hard Ball Talks – Special Guest Cindy Zelinsky

CindyHard Ball Talks
Date: September 28, 2015
Guest:  Cindy Zelinsky, owner of Absolute College Consulting.  You can learn more about Cindy and her college preparation programs at
Topic:  Cindy’s experiences as an educator, collegiate coach and parent have provided her a unique perspective on the process of finding the right fit when it comes to pursuing a college education.  As youth coaches and parents, we see college recruiting through the lens of ESPN glamour, but in this HBT, we discussed real college preparation with Cindy.

Hard Ball Talks – Special Guest Cody Terry

Hard Ball TalksCodyTerry
Date: September 14, 2015
Guest:  Area Representative with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Graduated from University of Tennessee – Martin, where he played 4 years of D1 baseball, Son of Former St. Louis Cardinal, Scott Terry
Topic:  Experiences as a college baseball player, ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a recent baseball mission trip he took to the Dominican Republic.

Practice Plan For Beginning Youth Teams

By Coach Brett Swip



Develop a throwing progression that encompasses things like:

  • Stand sideways and get the arm to move in a circular motion ( separate hands in a down and out motion then up to throw) also have them work on shifting their weight to their back leg and then to the follow through)
  • Stand sideways and use a shuffle to throw
  • Stand normal and learn to “step and throw” (walkthrough version of a crow hop)
  • Imagine fielding a ground ball and then incorporate the step and throw



  • Hand-eye coordination
  • No chicken-winging
  • Fingers up when catching


Sample Drills

  •  Lots of wiffle balls, tennis balls, and nerf balls with no gloves to start
  • Transition to using soft hands paddles to catch with two hands (you can use oven mitts if you don’t have access to paddles)
  • Catch barehanded so they can see their elbows stay down and their fingers stay up.
  • Let them use their glove only once they’ve master bare hands and oven mitts
  • Use softie balls with gloves, then move to regular hard balls when the skill of catching is achieved.
  • Assure that they are playing catch at home at least 3 times per week (the ability to throw and catch is where games are won at this age) – the inability to throw and catch is the main reason that kids quit baseball and softball at a young age.


  • Getting their feet to the ball before putting the glove up in the air

Sample Drill

  • Put a helmet on them, throw a wiffle in the air, have them run to where they think the ball will drop and let the wiffle hit them in the helmet (kids love this drill!)
  • Then progress to barehands and teach them to catch it with their elbows down and near their chest (allowing their eyes to see the ball over their fingers)
    • Then progress to gloves
  • Circle Drill – put 5 cones on the ground in the shape of a big circle, have them start at one cone and throw a ball in to the middle of the circle, they run to the middle and catch the fly ball, then they go to the next cone.  Repeat at each cone for a series of 5 fly balls from different angles.


Use a progression628x471

  1. Knees No Gloves
  2. Stool No Gloves
  3. Standing No Gloves
  4. Standing No Gloves Transitioning in to throwing
  5. Then add paddles or oven mitts
  6. Then add gloves
  7. Then add force outs
  8. Then add tag outs
  9. Then add throws to bases on the field


Start with bunting to teach them the importance of hand-eye coordination.

This will also teach them where the barrel of the ball is and how to watch the ball hit the sweet spot.  Then progress to swinging.

As you can see, I’m a believer in progressions 🙂

  1. Tees with bottom hand only with small bat
  2. Tees with top hand only with small bat
  3. Tees with both hands with small bat
  4. Tees with both hands with regular bat
  5. Soft toss with bottom hand only with small bat
  6. Soft toss with top hand only with small bat
  7. Soft toss with both hands with small bat
  8. Soft toss with both hands with regular bat

For the above progression, use various balls

(golf ball waffles, small waffles, softball sided wiffles, and regular softballs)

Then, progress to hitting heavy balls so they can learn how to drive through the ball

(16″ Chicago ball, deflated volleyball, deflated basketball, etc).

Then, progress to front toss drills followed by machine drills.


Here is the best circuit that I use to teach young kids the important parts of base-running:

1 runner) Home to 1st – have coach standing in the first base box, they run through the bag, the coach has a ball in hand, if the coach drops the ball as they run through first base they continue on to 2nd, if the coach still has the ball in hand as they run through first base, they come right back to the bag.
2 runner) 1st to 2nd – have coach standing in third base box, the runner leads off and goes to 2nd like a girl hit the ball, they pick up the coach and the coach holds their hands up to hold them at 2nd in which the runner than sticks the base, or the coach is waving them on to 3rd and the runner continues to third
3 runner) 3rd to Home – have coach at home with a bucket of balls, the coach throws a ground ball or a pop fly, the runner is learning to read the angle of the ball of the bat.  If the coach throws it in the air, the runner retreats to tag up.  If the coach throws on the ground, the runner scores.
Note: add slip and slide on a warm practice day to finish up practice and teach the girls to slide.