First time baseball coach

LoweTek

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
May 30, 2005
2,160
Central Florida
One thing that worked for U12 softball was to get a couple dozen smush balls- check Amazon, they’re sponge rubber. I’d put the girls at IF/OF positions, stand on the mound, and throw pop ups. The girls had to get underneath and try to have the ball bounce off the top of their head. Made it a competiton, last one not to miss won a prize. They thought it was a blast and it helped them get the sense of “get yourself under where the ball is going to come down.” Skill of using hands came later. Didn’t work so much for balls in the gap, overhead etc but that’s intermediate/advanced skill. For the simple idea of getting your body underneath the spot where the ball is going to come down on a pop up it works better than anything else I tried.
This is interesting. Did you allow the players to have gloves on at all during this drill? Any other restrictions, hands by their sides, hands can't touch the ball, etc.?
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,010
The 718
This is interesting. Did you allow the players to have gloves on at all during this drill? Any other restrictions, hands by their sides, hands can't touch the ball, etc.?
No gloves, and no hands on the ball. Just getting their heads underneath. Hands by sides probably isn't good because they had their arms out for balance when they were tracking the popup.

There was one girl who had a pretty dramatic improvement. She used to stick her glove out at some distance from the falling ball, parallel to the ground and with her arm fully extended. Like she was literally keeping it at arms length. Fear of the ball. I kept telling her to move her feet, but words don't mean much. After a couple of practices with the drill, she was then comfortable getting under the ball. She didn't always catch it, she had to learn the handwork, but at least she was getting to it and getting a glove on it.
 

Bongorific

Thinks he’s clever
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
8,301
Balboa Towers
One thing that worked for U12 softball was to get a couple dozen smush balls- check Amazon, they’re sponge rubber. I’d put the girls at IF/OF positions, stand on the mound, and throw pop ups. The girls had to get underneath and try to have the ball bounce off the top of their head. Made it a competiton, last one not to miss won a prize. They thought it was a blast and it helped them get the sense of “get yourself under where the ball is going to come down.” Skill of using hands came later. Didn’t work so much for balls in the gap, overhead etc but that’s intermediate/advanced skill. For the simple idea of getting your body underneath the spot where the ball is going to come down on a pop up it works better than anything else I tried.
That’s a cool idea. I’m keeping that in my back pocket for future years.

We’ve had a ton of rainouts with the U8 girls rec team. Finally got 4 games in including a double header Saturday. It’s going much better than I expected and it’s awesome how fast the girls are improving.

We’ve successfully learned force outs. The first game we just fielded and threw to first no matter what. At this age, it’s almost impossible to make an out at first on a ground ball. Now we’re paying attention to the runners and stepping on a base for a force. Our innings are 3 runs or 3 outs and we’ve had a handful of innings where we made 3 outs before the team scored 3.

Overall we seem middle of the pack skill wise. We played one team twice that was a very even matchup. One team that really struggled to hit the ball and had to use the tee at times, and one team that was all 3rd grade giants and clearly better than us. But each one of our girls can now hit within 5 or 6 coach pitches and we’re learning fundamentals along the way.

The sour patch kids hustle awards continue to be a big hit. I’ll put together some baseball cards too, @AlNipper49. Now that I’ve learned all of their names and strengths, I can give them cards of players they’re similar to.