First, a crucial baseball coaching note "Nothing ruins a practice, or possibly even the season, more than having a player hit in the face or upside the head with a baseball, or with a bat."
Baseball practice for many players begins indoors, so it is important that coaches proceed with caution. First thing coaches should notice is the light level indoors. Often, lighting levels are inadequate indoors, so coaches may want to use lighter weight balls for throw and catch drills. Having both soft and hard balls available, depending on the baseball practice skill, is good. As mentioned, it only takes one serious face or head shot to ruin things, and negligence could be involved when kids get nailed because they could not see balls well enough. Additionally, light locations often blind players, so that is another safety issue that coaches should account for, especially for fly ball and pop up practice.
The next thing coaches should take note of, when setting up their indoor baseball practice, is the amount of space available. With limited space, coaches must be extra careful of where kids are swinging bats, hitting balls, and throwing balls. Having set rules that designate when and where players swing the bats is necessary, and the same goes for when and where players throw balls. Rules as, batters only swing when it is their turn at the hitting station are good and throwing rules that players return to their position before throwing balls backed to their partner are important. Otherwise, balls come from all direction and distances, putting others at risk of being struck by errant balls. Another important safety note is to remind players that batting cage nets have a great amount of give to them, so they should never be too close to them, as they are not safe just because nets are there.
Coaches should also realize that even though bounces are true indoors, most indoor surfaces produce faster ground balls because there is no dirt or grass to slow them down, as outdoors. Coaches should not "smoke" balls at players, as they may not adjust to the speed, and it is another reason lighter weight balls are good for indoor baseball practice. Helmets are necessary for batting practices of all kinds, even batting tee work, as often balls rebound in funny ways off walls and poles, when indoors.
inally, coaches should take careful analysis of the indoor practice facility for possible safety hazards before designing their practices and for setting up the safety rules for players.
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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