I run a 10 week baseball practice camp every year for our local baseball organization. This year we have added a very young group (age 6-7) and I am struggling to keep their interest. The area of most concern is the hitting station. Can you suggest games and/or drills that can be used for this age group?
You are certainly correct in that these little guys are extremely busy and have very short attention spans. When I coached and had to deal with this age group I set up as many stations as I could. The number of stations often depends on how many people you have helping you.
The Typical Baseball Practice Batting Stations Are:
- Stationary Batting Tee Station
- Soft Toss Station
- Live Batting Cage Hitting
These stations can be done with a couple or three people around the cage, so supervision is very close at hand. And as long as you have access to a batting cage, one of the things I would suggest is to divide it into two or three sections with divider nets and do front soft toss from behind a screen.
I would also suggest that you create stations that teach defensive drills in very isolated parts. What I mean by that is that the player only fields ground balls, catches fly balls, or throws. Make each station independent of the others and have a bucket next to the kid so he can put the ball in it after he catches a grounder or fly ball.
Base running is always a good opening and closing drill for this age group as they love to run. This gives you a chance to teach them certain situations and keep them moving. You can do it individually or as a group. I always teach base running by hitting a ball so they learn when to run by reacting to the ball, as opposed to what I say. You or another coach must be the one that hits the ball and be in control. This works really well if you have three people: one to hit the ball, one to field the ball, and one to be a baserunner that the other kids can imitate.
At Baseball Tips, we have many items that actually would be of value to your baseball practice.
Here are 4 batting tees and here are various catch nets that you can mix and match; all will help you easily build a complete batting tee station no matter your budget.
Your catch net added to an automatic soft toss machine will create an all-important ability for players to improve ball tracking while reinforcing “being on time” to create hard many more hard hits… all in a small area too!
I am a fan of under-load and over-load batting drills and though we do not offer a lightweight skinny bat, you can simply saw off an old broomstick and add a taped “handle” or inexpensive bat handle wrap and begin hitting whiffle balls or even golf wiffle balls for the more advanced players. As far as over-load training bats, the original and still best is the Bratt’s Bat. Its rich history has even allowed is a place in the baseball Hall of Fame! Its a great product and I am a huge fan!
All are exceptional tools for you to be able to use with the younger set in a group environment!
Click on any of the recommended training tools below to get more information–