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Tee Ball Skills

Catching the Ball

  • General:
    • It’s a two-handed game. Above waist catch – thumbs together, fingers up (W); below waist catch – pinkies together, fingers down (M)
    • Extend arms toward ball; relax arms as ball hits glove (“give”); WATCH THE BALL ALL THE WAY INTO THE GLOVE
    • Always try to keep the ball in front of you
    • If you can’t catch it, knock it down

 

  • Infield:
    • Ready position: feet should width apart, weight on balls of feet, knees bent, head up, hands in front about waist high
    • Keep glove lower than the approaching ground ball; throwing hard on top, glove palm up
    • Stay low when fielding the ball
    • Get shoulders squared to the ball
    • Catch ball out in front of body, top hand over (Alligator Drill”)
    • Bring both hands into midsection (“cradle the ball”)
    • Begin act of throwing while coming out of the crouch

 

  • Outfield:
    • Ready position: more upright than infield ready position
    • Try to anticipate where ball will land and get there before it does
    • Try to catch ball in front, shoulders square to ball (Tee-ball)
    • Use two hands, glove just below imaginary line from ball to eyes
    • Do not backpedal on balls over your head; drop step to side ball is hit on and run to where it will come down
    • Outfielder coming forward has priority over infielder going back
    • Run in to field grounders quickly; play line drives to catch on fly or at least keep ball in front

 

  • Catcher:
    • Throwing hand loosely closed behind back against butt
    • Block, don’t try to catch, balls in dirt
      • drop to knees, make a wall; try to keep ball centered in front of plate
      • chin down, arms in tight, two hands, throwing hand behind glove

Throwing the Ball

  • 2 vs. 3 fingers grip not as important as don’t hold ball deep in palm
  • Fingers across seams
  • Close the front shoulder, i.e., line up shoulders/hips of glove hand with target
  • Bring ball back, hand on top (like you’re putting something in the ground)
  • Arm fully extended; no “short-arming”
  • Elbow of throwing arm higher than shoulder
  • Point glove or glove arm elbow at target
  • Aim for a specific target (e.g. letters on jersey), step toward target, then throw
  • Use overhead (12-to-6) or three-quarter delivery
  • Put body momentum into throw; let large muscles do the work
  • Full follow through down and across body; no arm recoiling; wrist snaps as ball is released
  • Back foot comes off ground and takes small step forward
  • Accurate throw is better than a strong one

Hitting the Ball

  • Use light bat
  • Knuckles aligned (don’t have to exactly)
  • Bat gripped lightly in fingers, not deep in palms
  • Leg shoulder-width apart; weight more to the back foot
  • Hands over back foot and about shoulder height (Barrel above hands, hands above ball)
  • Front shoulder slightly down, back elbow not too high
  • Chin tucked but eyes level to pitcher
  • Short stride straight ahead with front foot as hands move back (not down!)
  • Back foot squashes the bug to unlock hips
  • Throw knob of bat at ball; try to hit ball out in front of plate
  • Keep head still throughout swing (Mike and Ike drill – have to see back shoulder (Ike) after swing)
  • Follow through with wrists rolling over; belly button facing pitcher

General Knowledge

  • Players should be taught:
    • Definitions of “out” and “safe,” single, double, triple, home run
    • Definition of “inning”
    • Names/locations of all positions
    • When is a batted ball air/foul
    • How to drop bat, not throw it, after ball is hit
    • Running through bag a first base but no overrunning second or third, and why
    • When hitting from tee, batter should be deeper in box to compensate for tee location and get feel for hitting ball out in front of plate, i.e., arm extension
    • Not to stand directly on a base or in base path; straddle base when awaiting throw
    • To slide or try to avoid collision with fielder
    • Defensive players not on the field at the moment should be working with coaches on simple throwing, catching, fielding drills (Alligator, star drill, throwing ball in air to himself)

Helpful Hints:

  • Player’s name or initials in hat (they lose’em)
  • Use tennis balls at practice from time to time; catch with bare hands to teach using both hands and to develop soft hands
  • Involve parents in reinforcing what’s taught in practice
  • Have someone on bench with your players, teaching them, engaging them, as game situations arise
 
 
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