PRACTICE 3   Focus: Agility, Throwing, Fielding/Footwork, Hitting

 

Agility Warm Up  (10 Min)

  • Player starts at bottom left cone with glove tucked and sprints forward

  • Once past the top cone, the player back pedals in the opposite direction

  • Player continues until through all cones

  • Player starts at bottom left cone with their glove out in a fielding position and shuffles feet athletically until outside bottom right cone

  • Player sprints forward until past top right cone and shuffles left in a fielding position until outside top left cone

  • Player then back pedals to bottom left cone

  • Stationary feeds to a player with no glove

  • Have player get into a proper fielding position and roll balls directly to them so their feet can stay stationary

  • Focus is on getting the player into the proper fielding position and reaching out for the ball with their glove hand palm facing the ball and throwing hand over the glove hand

  • Roll 3 to each and rotate

Throwing  (10 Min)
 
  • Player’s throw to coaches
  • Start with wrist snaps on the knees
    • Glove knee up, throwing hand knee down
    • Throwing arm is at 90 degree
    • Glove hand supports throwing elbow underneath
    • With ball in hand, wrist starts forward, comes back, and forward to snap
    • Arm does not move, just the wrist
  • Throwing from the knee
  • Start with glove shoulder facing target
  • Glove to ear, ball separation behind throwing shoulder, elbow up
  • On the throw, glove is tucked, wrist is snapped, throwing hand finished at opposite pocket
  • Attempt to get the player’s to go from shoulder to shoulder with their throws
  • Throwing from the feet in an athletic position  
  • Utilize same mechanics mentioned above
  • Targets can be used for fun, i.e. Hula Hoops or Buckets
  • Start close and slowly move back.
  • Can add a competition for fun having the players attempt to throw through a hula hoop at various distances starting close and slowly moving back
Agility Competition  (10 Min)
  • Player starts at front left cone with their glove and shuffles laterally to the right in an athletic position
  • Once past the front right cone, the player sprints forward until past the cone ahead
  • Once past, the player shuffles to the left
  • When the player reaches the front of the ladder, they move forward with quick feet stepping one foot in each
  • When player exits the ladder they use the proper footwork to enter the second ladder breaking down into a fielding position and extending the glove to the ball

Catching  (10 Min)

  • Start by having the coaches toss players a tennis ball up close with no glove

    • Have them start in a stationary athletic position with the legs flexed giving a target with both hands out front​

    • Feed them the ball and have them catch it with their glove hand with their throwing hand covering up after the catch

    • Feed them balls from your knee in different areas encouraging the use of their legs working up and down (but still stationary)

    • If the ball is above their knee have them catch it finger tips up using their legs, below the knees catch finger tips down

    • Have 3-4 lines and feed them 3 balls each and rotate

  • Forehands/Backhands with tennis ball without the glove
    • Coaches start close and lightly underhand toss balls to the various 9 catching zones
    • In a stationary position, player’s move their catching hand to the ball finger tips up/finger tips down
    • The focus isn’t on catching the ball, but to get to the ball the correct way
    • Slowly move back as the players get comfortable with getting to the ball
  • Now with the glove, have the player get athletic by bending at the knees and having the feet outside the shoulders
    • The coach will again feed 3 balls each from a close distance on their knee and rotate
    • The players will give a target using two hands
    • Focus on having them catch the ball finger tips up or finger tips down in a stationary position

Introduce Hitting  (35 Min)

 

  • Have a coach demonstrate the fundamentals displayed in the images 
    • Player is in an athletic stance
    • Feet positioned straight or slightly inward with weight on the inside
    • Feet are positioned just outside the shoulders with equal weight on each
    • To the contact point with a no stride approach
    • Through to extension
    • Finish
      • Main focus point should be the player using their hands more than their body
      • Young players aren't strong so they'll want to lock up their arms and use their body to swing
      • Focus on the arms staying flexed, the knob to the ball, and the player hitting the inside of the ball
      • The most difficult age group to teach hitting so keep it simple but effective
  • Tee
    • The player sets up in an athletic stance
    • Feet positioned straight or slightly inward with weight on the inside
    • Feet are positioned just outside the shoulders with equal weight on each
    • Have the player just get to contact for 5-7 reps 
      • At this point, the back foot and belly button should be pointed to the contact point​
      • The back arm should be close to a 90 degree angle
    • Next, have the player get through contact and to extension for 5-7 reps 
      • Have the player focus on making contact with the inside of the ball which forces the knob to the ball
      • At extension, the back shoulder should be underneath the chin which is down ​ 
      • At extension, the barrel of the bat should be facing the pitcher
    • Move the tee to the middle contact point and have the player take a full swing
    • Make necessary adjustments to a player’s swing

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