Run this drill in any large open area (a field or a gym). Divide the team into as many groups of two as possible. If an uneven number of players are present use a coach to fill out the last group.
One member of each group lines up on one side of the area, the second member opposite on the other side. Space players an equal distance apart along each side of the area to allow room for safety.
Each group should have a ball. On the word “GO” each team begins throwing the ball back and forth across the area. Each time a team completes one throw and catch they count one point. If the throw is bad, or the ball is not caught, that team’s score goes to zero.
Allow between thirty and sixty seconds for a round then call “STOP.” Each team then gives its score. The team with the highest score wins and each of those two players gets one point. Then rotate to the left so that all teams are different [see diagram].
As soon as all teams are set and have a ball, start another round as above. Run as many rounds as the time allotted for the drill will allow. At the conclusion the player(s) with the most points win.
Watch out for…
Some players have a tendency to throw softly so as not to make an error and have their team score go to zero.
It is important to stress that the objective is to throw as hard and fast as possible and develop good throwing skills, not simply get the best score in this drill. Concentrate on developing a good rhythm of moving to the ball to catch it and continuing on with the throwing motion. This is also a good time to watch your players and see who uses two hands and catches the ball properly.
After running this contest for several practices the best fielders will almost always end up with the highest number of points.
Pete Sprenkle has been active in coaching youth sports for over thirty years. He has coached youth baseball and girls fastpich softball teams at every age group from 5 to 18-years old. Retired from IBM, Pete now devotes much of his time to youth baseball in his hometown of Boulder, CO.
Pete is also the author of A Youth Baseball Coaches Tool Kit. His innovative book and CD contains a collection of nearly 200 “tools” for youth coaches. Packed with drills, contests, forms and handouts, the Tool Kit will help coaches plan, organize, and coach any level of youth baseball