Keys to Successful Youth Baseball Practice Plans

Rick Cundiff - May 24, 2019
Keys to Successful Youth Baseball Practice Plans

Youth baseball practice plans can be the key to success in youth league games. The right plan can mean the difference between a tournament win and going home.

Team practices are where players learn the basics of the game. From base running to catching and throwing the ball to batting, practice is a must. To run a practice in the way that benefits the players most, coaches must have a plan.

If coaches have a written plan for each lesson, it becomes easier to communicate the plan to the players (and parents!), especially if it's possible to email the plan to the players the day before practice.

Depending on the age of the players, practices will typically run from one to two hours. It pays to plan ahead in segments for each skill the coach wants the team to work on. Don't spend too much time on any one area, or players are likely to become bored and disinterested.

Most coaches recommend starting with some easy warmup exercises and stretches before moving into more specific skills. That gives the players a chance to get ready for the practice and gets them geared up for it.

Beyond that, it's really a matter of what the coach wants to accomplish at that particular practice. Do you want players to focus on particular skills or plays? Make sure it's a part of the plan. Organized practices lead to better teams, and better teams lead to tournament victories. Imagine your team at the big game, trading pins, making friends and even winning it all!

When it comes to the fundamentals, don't forget to encourage communication between players and proper movement, not just throwing and catching the ball. The ability to read the field is a key part of team success.

For rookie coaches, it's a good idea to solicit information from veteran coaches when putting together a practice plan. Those with more experience can guide you in setting up an organized practice that's most beneficial to players and coach alike.

Keep in mind when you're making youth baseball practice plans that the most important part of youth baseball is having fun! If the practice is too rigorous or repetitive, or too long, it stops being fun. That's a recipe for bored, unhappy players. Yes, planning is important, but remember to keep it light, and keep it fun. Happy players are far more productive than unhappy ones. And players telling their parents how much fun they're having is always a great idea.
For that reason, scrimmage games are a great way to end practice for the day. Let the kids actually play ball in a supportive setting and work off some excess energy before heading home.

The bottom line is that it takes a certain amount of organization to make youth baseball practices both helpful and fun for new players and more experienced players alike. Getting to the world of trading pins, television coverage and the crowds of South Williamsport, Cooperstown or any other tournament takes practice. With a little effort, proper youth baseball practice plans and a lot of heart, just about any team can make it there!

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