All baseball practice drills have a purpose, with some more effective than others are. All drills, done correctly, focus on a particular area of baseball and strive to further players' understanding and performance of baseball skills, making them useful. However, I have noticed that some very popular baseball practice drills often hurt players' development, as much as they help. The most common of these negative practices is coaches lobbing balls to young hitters, rewarding uppercut swings with the dropping ball. Along the same lines, lobbing balls for players to catch, create bad catching habits. When balls are falling fast, it only makes sense to catch it with the glove facing up incorrectly and hinders kids learning to catch balls correctly.
Following are 3 other commonly used baseball practice drills that coaches should be careful of using.
Side flip hitting drills, when coaches get off to the side and flip balls, allow hitters to get away with long incorrect swings. When balls have a loop on them, hitters often have, and get away with, loopy swings. Additionally, coaches that flip balls in the wrong areas, do nothing to help develop good baseball swings. I am also leery of this drill because of the danger factor, as many coaches use hard balls and are out front of the batter some, in serious danger of the batted ball.
A good alternative to side flips are dropped balls, when done correctly, along with straight on flips, when a protective screen is available. Side flips with an experienced hitting coach are OK for some specialty hitting drills.
Warm-up throwing without the legs a popular warm-up drill is having players stand wide open, facing the target, before rotating their upper body, and throwing. I am not fond of this baseball practice drill because so much of throwing is using one's legs and taking the legs out of the throw in this manner is not wise. This often used warm-up drill places all the strain on players' throwing arm and shoulder with no legs and hips available to rotate. Of course, soft throwing in this manner is OK, but adding any speed or distance, as players often do, is not good for the throwing arm.
Smashing ground balls at infielders many coaches believe this helps toughen players up, but this smash-hitting groundball practice usually creates bad habits and fearful players, especially when done outside on un-manicured fields.
Of course, these baseball drills are OK for experienced players, and experienced coaches, who know what to look for and how to do them correctly, with safety.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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