If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, "What should they be working on at home?" The question comes from parents of young baseball players wanting to get more out of basebal practice. Well, first, coaches and parents must better teach players some baseball drills kids can be doing at home. Just telling them to practice is not enough, and boredom sets in after a few minutes for those without knowledge of how to learn to play baseball at home.
Finding an indoor gym or area to play ball or do youth baseball drills is often difficult, expensive, or both. The following are some superb indoor baseball drills kids can do in the comfort of their homes. These baseball coaching drills are especially necessary for the ballplayers who get antsy in the middle of winter without baseball. Of course, they are beneficial any time of year because they help kids improve, stay sharp, develop discipline and conditioning, and even help focus on the little things. For the most dedicated ballplayers, they should set up a schedule of a few of these per day. For example, players work on the hitting drills below on Monday and Thursday. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they perform the throwing and infield and outfied drills. That leaves Wednesdays and Saturdays for the conditioning baseball drills kids can do. Sunday, of course, is the rest day.
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The best news is that they do not need to be on a baseball field, and a vast amount of space is unnecessary to improve their baseball play. Serious ballplayer finds a way to work on their baseball skills, and players, who continue to work on their baseball skills, often pass their competition the following season or, at the least, are much more prepared to have a great season. Even 5 minutes a day doing these baseball drills for beginners can help produce excellent results when players go to their regular baseball practices and games. Following are some simple indoor baseball drills kids should be doing. These indoor baseball drills work on the crucial skills of throwing, hitting, and fielding, and many 7u baseball practice drills can be done while watching TV. Better yet, players can put their headphones on and do them to their favorite music to keep them "pumped" for the practice. Here are some of my favorite indoor baseball drills for kids:
Indoor Baseball Drills Kids can do for Fielding
Players flip a baseball into their glove and see how fast they can take the ball out with the correct 4-seam grip. This practice is also helpful for breaking in a new glove for the following season. Players can do this for an entire TV commercial or a whole song.
Similarly, players kneel on a couple of pillows (for comfort), and with a small pillow in front of them, they field ground balls rolled by parent or flipped off a wall with a softer ball, like a tennis ball. Players should reach out in front of the pillow to catch the ball and see how fast they can bring the ball back to the throwing side hip while taking the ball out with the correct grip. They can count how many times they catch the ball without an error and then try to beat the number each subsequent time. If they never flub a ground ball, they are probably not working fast enough like they would if being hit ground balls outside. This action is a good ground ball drill with and without a glove and is helpful with two hands or one (glove hand only).
While laying on their back, players flip a "safe" ball or tennis balls a few feet into the air and try to get proper backspin rotation on the ball. Along with the backspin, the goal is to catch the ball without having to move for it. This drill is better on knees or standing, but a high ceiling is necessary for those methods. Plus, outfield drills like this, help with hand-eye coordination for catching fly balls.
Using a Frisbee of any size, have someone flip it to the player from a short distance and work on catching it with the glove hand. Once again, seeing how many they can catch in a row makes things more fun and challenging. Of course, bare-hand catch with any size ball is good too, but the focus with a frisbee must be more. The Frisbee catch is an especially helpful drill for players who are catchers or infielders that need to collect hard ground balls quickly.
Using a dish towel, players use their throwing motion and snap the towel to the back of a low-lying chair. Throwing drills like this one will promote the right direction with their step and staying on top of the ball. These 9u pitching drills will help with their arm action and use their whole body to throw. This is an excellent drill for pitchers when they back off more and work of extending toward their target.
Indoor Drills Kids should do for Batting
With a dishtowel in the lead-hitting hand and from the hitting position, players rest it on the rear shoulder and snap the towel as fast as they can toward the pitcher with the correct backside pivot. Setting an object like a chair back or couch out front for a target is helpful.
Players begin with hands on hips and in the hitting position. Parents place their hand out front of the player's front hip as players rotate their hips as fast as possible, trying to power through their parent's hand by slapping the hand with their rear elbow. This move is all done while the player's eyes rotate back to see their elbow contact with their parent's hand.
Another good hitting drill that requires little batting practice room and can build forearm and hand strength is to put a weight, like a hitting donut, on the end of the bat and do slow-motion swings with it, one arm at a time. Of course, using both arms is good too, but it is essential to do them slowly to gain strength.
Dry swings, which means just swinging in the air, is a beneficial drill. Players should swing the bat in the proper stance to different locations. For example, one swing at an imaginary up and away pitch, followed by a low and inside pitch or some chin music. Players can also have mom and dad yell out a different swing location after each swing.
Along the same lines, doing the above with different weighted bats is a proven way to build bat speed. Players should take 25 swings with a lightweight bat, then 25 with one's normal bat, and then 25 with a heavier bat. This training takes time to work and is best in the off-season, so a player's hitting mechanics are not altered in-season.
One of my favorites baseball everyday drills for at-home use involves performing the actions of hitting and throwing while on a balance beam. Using a 4-inch-wide by 8-foot-long piece of wood serves the purpose well. Players do not need to use a bat or ball for these agility drills but only practice the batting and throwing foot, and legwork will significantly enhance their balance, direction, and technique over time.
Other Indoor Baseball Drills Kids Can do at Home
If, by chance, a large mirror is available and there is enough room to maneuver, players can watch their swing, throw, and field movements as they do them to get a good picture of their actions. This drill was a widespread practice move back in the day but is not as necessary as players can readily film their every move with their cell phones. Either way, the ability to see one's actions and analyze them is beneficial.
Performing the above indoor baseball drills, kids improve bat speed by firing their lead hand and opening their hips as explosively as possible. Additionally, the drills help fielders develop soft, quick hands, and throwers produce good grips, backspin, and consistent throwing release points. Of course, with a little more room or in the basement or garage, players can expand on these indoor baseball drills.
For those with space in the garage or basement, few tools are better for the ballplayer than a batting tee for indoor practice. Using safe balls and setting up a net or tarp to hit into will make it possible to practice batting in one's own home. This tee ball work should be mandatory for high school and travel ballplayers. Players should use the batting tee like the professional golfer uses the driving range, before games to get loose and refine the mechanics, and after games to work on the necessary hitting adjustments. As consistency arrives with hitting line shots on the batting tee, players have a better chance of incorporating the right swing into their gameplay by adding the timing.
A bonus to having a net or trap hanging up, of course, is that players can also do some throwing into the tarp. This work is especially helpful in the off-season and pre-season to condition the throwing arm and work on the mechanics of throwing.
As far as conditioning, agility drillls and footwork go, few things are better for youth baseball practice drills than jumping rope. Of course, a little higher ceiling may be necessary for this. Over time, players will notice their footwork is smoother if not quicker, after weeks of jumping rope.
Another excellent conditioning drill involves squeezing a rubber ball or any similar device. Building solid hands and forearms will help to hit as well as throw.
Of course, if the TV, computer, or phone is available, players can tune into YouTube and watch videos of baseball drills or major league players in action catching fly balls and grounders to get a better understanding baseball tryouts drills and picture if the correct baseball movements. The great thing is this is an excellent set of baseball drills for 8 year olds and even younger!
What kind of baseball drills can kids perform at home while watching TV?
Kids can perform several baseball drills at home such as practicing the correct 4-seam grip by flipping a baseball into their glove, fielding ground balls rolled by a parent or flipped off a wall with a softer ball like a tennis ball, working on backspin rotation by flipping a ball into the air while laying on their back, and practicing their throwing motion with a dish towel and low-lying chair.
Are these drills suitable for beginners?
Yes, these drills are designed to be simple and safe for kids at all levels. They focus on fundamental skills such as throwing, hitting, and fielding. Beginners can start slow and gradually increase the intensity and speed of the drills as they get more comfortable and skilled.
Do these drills require a lot of space or special equipment?
Most of these drills can be performed in a small indoor space and do not require a lot of special equipment. Some drills might require items like a baseball, tennis ball, Frisbee, dish towel, and a small pillow. For those with more space, like in a garage or basement, additional tools like a batting tee, net, or tarp can be used.
How often should kids practice these drills?
For the most dedicated players, they should set up a schedule of a few of these drills per day. For example, players work on the hitting drills on Monday and Thursday, throwing and infield and outfield drills on Tuesdays and Fridays, and conditioning baseball drills on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Sunday should be a rest day.
What benefits can kids get from these drills?
These drills can help kids improve their skills, stay sharp, develop discipline and conditioning, and focus on the details. Even 5 minutes a day can help produce excellent results when players go to their regular baseball practices and games. In addition, these drills can be fun and challenge the kids to improve their performance each time they practice.
Are there any other resources kids can use to improve their baseball skills at home?
Yes, if a computer or phone is available, kids can watch YouTube videos of baseball drills or major league players in action to better understand baseball movements and drills. This is an excellent supplement to the physical practice they do with the indoor drills.
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.