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MASON DISTRICT LITTLE LEAGUE. Coaches Clinic Single A and T-Ball Spring 2012 Barry Leopold 703-402-6145. MASON DISTRICT LITTLE LEAGUE CORE VALUES Have fun!! Improve baseball skills Build character Gain a better appreciation and understanding of the game

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Coaches Clinic

Single A and T-Ball

Spring 2012

Barry Leopold





Have fun!!

Improve baseball skills

Build character

Gain a better appreciation and understanding of the game

Teach and enforce good sportsmanship and safety at all times


Topics of Discussion

Standards of Achievement

What Parents Expect from Coaches

Team & Practice Organization

Basic Skills:

Throwing and Catching





Standards of Achievement

  • Performance Goals Specific to each Division
  • Serve as Goals for players to achieve by
  • season’s end
  • - share them with kids and parents
  • Use to identify areas needing work in practices

Parent Priorities for Coaches

  • Child is enjoying baseball, having fun, getting better and learning in a positive, constructive environment
  • Parent understands what is going on.
    • - Communicate early and often about your expectations, team logistics and how their child is doing

Team Organization

  • Hold a Players and Parents Meeting
  • Insist on Volunteers!!
    • Assistant Coaches
    • Practice Helpers
    • Team Parents
  • Establish Team Goals and Expectations

Practice Organization

  • Plan practice before getting to field
  • Keep them active! Use stations.
  • Know (approximately) how many helpers you can expect
  • - Helpers = stations…Keep them moving!
  • Make sure they warm up correctly - Warm ups can be part of team building

Practice Organization (2)

  • StressThrowingMechanics!!!!
  • Keep it FUN!
    • - Turn drills into competitions and games
  • End practices with something fun, then a wrap up/review
  • Understand your age group – but don’t underestimate their abilities.

Safety Absolutes

  • Avoiding the Biggest Safety Problems
    • Only the batter holds the bat
    • Keep equipment in dugout and organized
    • Check the field, dugouts, and surrounding areas
    • One player in the batting cage at a time

Basic Throwing and Catching

  • Teaching Throwing
  • ALWAYS grip the ball with a 4 seam grip*
  • Line player up sideways to the target (glove side toward the target)
  • Bring hands together at the letters in the center of the chest
  • 4. Start the throwing steps:
  • Step 1 (Down) - Hands break apart and go straight down to player's sides
  • Step 2 (Out) - Hands go straight out to each side, glove hand pointing toward target.
  • Step 3 (Up) - Throwing hand goes up to throwing position**
  • (stop and have players check that they are in the proper position)
  • Step 4 (Throw) - Step toward the target with glove side foot, hips rotate toward target, glove pulls in to the chest, throwing hand above ear, elbow above shoulder when ball is released, throwing hand follows hips to the target, release the ball, follow through with throwing hand to the glove side knee

Basic Throwing and Catching

  • (Continued)
  • Four Seam Grip: Players should see a "C" or backwards "C" when they look at the ball in their hand. Two fingers on top of the ball across the wide part of the seams (seam should touch the player's fingers at the last knuckle), thumb directly under the ball, remaining two fingers off the side of the ball. There should be a gap between the player's palm and the ball. For players under 7 years old, three finger grip is OK. A four seam grip will create consistent air resistance on the ball while it is in the air and thus yield a straighter throw.
          • During practice, make sure all players are throwing with the 4 seam grip on every throw. Allow time to readjust their grip before throwing the ball. Eventually, they will naturally find the 4 seam grip every time they pull the ball from their glove without having to think about it.
  • Throwing Position: Elbow somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees and above shoulder, hand and ball facing directly away from the target, hand must be away from the ear. Break players from short arming their throws!

Basic Throwing and Catching

Teaching How to Catch a Thrown Baseball

Stress catch and cover

Fingers up for balls above the waist, fingers down for balls at or below the waist. Tell players to use the "catch and cover" technique (NOT "2 hands"). After catching the ball in the glove, cover it with the throwing hand. Two basic reasons: (1) Helps ensure the ball is secured in the glove, and (2) the next action will be to throw the ball somewhere, having the hand there makes that faster and easier.

Proper ready position to receive a throw


Teaching How to Field A Ground Ball

  • Start with the ready position - Slight squat on the balls of the feet, hands out in front below the belt with the fingers pointed down.
  • Players must be taught to get in front of a ball and field the ball in front of them between their knees (it's a natural instinct to move away from something that may hurt you). Teach them to hurry to the spot where they can field the ball.
  • 3. Feet should be shoulder width apart and body squared up to the ball.
  • Player should squat down keeping their rear-end low.

Teaching How to Field A Ground Ball

  • 5. Glove should be placed on the ground, palm up, in front of their feet (not between) - feet and glove should make a 60 degree triangle.
  • 6. Throwing hand should be held over the mitt to execute the catch and cover technique. Also, the player's hand will protect his face from a ball that pops out of the glove.
  • 7. Teach proper technique for picking up slow rollers (alligator) and stopped balls (twist the ball ¼ rotation against the ground).
  • 8. Every infielder moves somewhere (has a job to do) on every ball hit into play!

Teaching Outfield

  • Teach ready position - Slight squat on the balls of the feet, hands out in front above the belt with the fingers pointed up.
  • Stress the "catch and cover" technique (NOT "2 hands")
  • Teach the “drop step”
  • “Sprint to the spot.” (beat the ball to the spot – don’t meet it)
  • Set up behind the ball with hands above and in front of head
  • Stress backing up all plays! Every outfielder moves somewhere (has a job to do) on every ball hit into play! … And on every pitch when runners are on base!

Teaching Hitting


The Grip:

The bat should be gripped in the fingers, not the palms of the hands, the "door knocking knuckles" (middle knuckles) should be aligned.

Note: Most people tend to want to grip a bat with their "punching knuckles" (knuckles nearest the wrist) aligned. This tends to slow the bat speed by hindering the follow-through motion.


Teaching Hitting

  • The Stance:
  • Feet at least shoulder width apart and equally distanced from the plate
  • Batter's weight shifted toward back foot
  • Hands off the shoulder at or above the shoulder height
    • (hands should be within 8 inches of the shoulder – not above the ear)
  • Bat held at a 45 degree angle
  • Back elbow at a comfortable position DOWN at the batter's side
  • (NEVER tell a batter to keep the back elbow up!)



The Swing:

Load: (Step 1) Twist torso away from the pitcher and pull hands slightly back as if coiling a spring.

Pivot: “Squish the bug!”(Step 2) Just as with the throwing motion, start to rotate the hips toward the pitcher before starting the hands (“hips, then hands”). All 10 toes should pivot to face the pitcher “Squish the bug!”. The hitters weight should stay back, with the front leg straight and the back leg bent (the L position). The hitters upper body should be centered over the back knee. Hands should stay back in the load position!

Contact: (Step 3) Establish the swing plane to equal the plane of the pitch. Both elbows should still be bent at contact (front elbow high, back elbow low and tight to ribs). Maintain that “Box”.

Extension and Follow Through: (Step 4) After contact, extend arms through the swing plane. Finish high – only now are wrists rolled over.