Baseball—it’s got all the fundamentals. Your kids can hit, run, catch, throw, dodge, weave, and pitch. And when they work on baseball drills in practice or with friends or family in the schoolyard or backyard, they’ll not just get better at the game, they’ll have fun. Take them out to the ball game with these 10 awesome games and drills.
1. Alligator Chomp!
Teach your kids how to effectively stop and trap a rolling ball by having them act like an alligator. Would an alligator ever want to let food slip them by? No way! Get their arms chomping like an alligator to trap baseballs.
Stand 10 feet from your child and roll a ball to them. Have your child put their hand in their glove and stand with knees bent. Show them how to put their glove down in front of the rolling ball and use their other hand to chomp down to trap the ball.
When your child masters a rolling ball, you can start to throw the ball softly to them at waist and then shoulder height. Using the alligator’s top jaw (upper arm) will make sure that the ball doesn’t slip away.
2. Pepper Drill
The pepper drill is one that works on batting, throwing, and catching. It also serves to improve a batter’s reflex and accuracy and also a fielder’s reaction time.
Pick one player to be the batter while at least two players act as fielders and stand about 20 feet away from them.
One of the fielders begins the game by throwing the ball underhand to the batter. The batter then hits the ball back towards them. If the batter hits a ground ball, a player picks it up then throws it back to the batter again and the game continues.
If the batter hits a fly ball and a fielder catches it without it hitting the ground, that fielder changes places with the batter.
If the batter hits a home run (ie. hits the ball over the fielders’ heads) or swings and misses the ball, they’re out and one of the fielders takes their place.
3. Pitcher High Five
Working on a pitcher’s mechanics is the name of the game with the High Five drill.
Have your player get into their pitching position with their front leg bent, their shoulders and chest squared to home base and their pitching arm in an L position at shoulder height.
Kneel beside your player and place your hand against their pitching hand while they hold a baseball. With slight resistance on their hand, have the player move through the pitching motion without throwing the ball.
Working on the mechanics with this baseball drill will help avoid injuries from improper form.
4. Fly, Ball, Fly!
Working on catching fly balls on a routine basis will ensure players are used to the agility needed to run for a catch, the skills to make the catch and the importance of communicating with their teammates.
Have two players spread out approximately 30 feet from you (the coach) with their backs turned.
Throw the ball into the air and call, “fly ball!”
The players must turn immediately, look to the air and locate the ball. The player who is closest to the ball must call out, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” and run to make the catch.
Ensure players understand that they must yell loudly so that the other player is aware and doesn’t run into them.
5. Infield Target Throw
Throwing the ball with accuracy and speed is important for every single member of a team. Work on your players’ throwing precision with a fun target game.
Have one player stand on first base ready to catch the ball. Remind your player of the correct way to stand with their knees slightly bent, their shoulders square to home base and their eyes on the ball at all times.
Place tall pylons or bins at second and third base.
From home base, throw or bat the ball to the player. As soon as they catch the ball, have them throw it and attempt to hit the target at second base. Have them return quickly to first base and hit or throw another ball to the player. Can they now hit the target on third base?
It’s a classic for a reason! Kids love this game of batting, catching, and counting.
One player is the batter and the rest of the players spread out across the field. Have a coach throw an easy pitch to the batter. Fielders catch the ball when hit and get points depending on the catch they make.
If they catch a fly ball (ie. before the ball hits the ground), they get 100 points. If they field it after one bounce, they get 75 points, 50 points if the ball is fielded after two bounces, and 25 points if fielded after three.
The first player to reach 500 points then becomes the batter.
7. Backhand Drills
Players are going to learn quickly that not all balls will be hit to their glove side. Ideally players want to make as many catches on their glove side as possible but sometimes the ball is in a spot where a backhand catch is needed.
Have your players learn and practice backhand fielding with two drills.
Drill #1 – the kneeling backhand
Have your player bring their left knee to the ground with their right knee up and their chest leaning slightly over the right knee. With their glove in front of their right foot, ensure that the glove is open, the thumb in the glove is pointing to the ground and the glove is on the ground (no one wants a ball rolling under their glove!). Make sure they have the glove in front of the foot and not behind it and that they watch the ball go all the way into it.
Roll balls to your player and have them practice sweeping the ball up softly.
Drill #2 – the standing backhand
Once your player has mastered the movement of sweeping up the ball with their backhand while in a kneeling stance, have them stand. The standing position is going to be almost the same in that the player still has to keep their body very low.
8. Running Through First
Get your players working on their conditioning, their speed, and remembering the important rule about not just running to first base but right on past it. Full speed is essential!
Have your players line up at home plate. One by one have them run not just to first base but right past it. Time each player (to when their foot hits the base) and see if they can beat their own time on each run.
Important tip: make sure your players head to the right as they finish their run. If they turn left onto the field, they can be tagged out.
9. The Bouncer
You never know what speed a ball is going to be pitched at you as a batter. It’s tempting to swing early. Have your kids practice the art of patience by waiting longer for a ball to pass over the plate before taking a shot at it.
Have a batter stand at home plate and a pitcher (a coach) throw the ball towards them on a downwards angle so that it bounces once before crossing the plate. See how many times the batter can get the rhythm of the bounced ball and hit it.
10. They Shoot, They Score?
Goalies in hockey or soccer have one common objective – keep the puck (or ball) out of the net! Your players won’t want to let balls get past them either. Have them practice being the best goalie on the field with this fun drill.
Set up cones approximately 10 feet apart and have your player stand between the cones in standing position with their glove in hand.
The coach should stand approximately 20 feet away with 20 balls and roll them one at a time towards the player. The balls can be rolled directly at the player or to their left or right. The balls should be rolled in quick succession so that the player is kept on their toes! They should be ready to move quickly to where the ball is being rolled. The player just needs to stop the balls, not scoop them up.
If a ball gets past them, the coach gets a point. After the coach has rolled the 20 balls, the next player gets a turn.
Let us know of any other creative and fun drills and games you’ve tried at baseball practice by leaving us a comment below.