For baseball coaches, finding fun youth baseball drills is key to keeping practice interesting and productive. Whether you are looking for 8U baseball drills or more advanced baseball drills for 12 year olds, they need to be cool enough to get the kids excited and focused on getting better. It’s all about mixing up practice with drills that feel more like games and less like work.
This article is going to talk about some of these drills that make practice fun and help players get better at the same time. Whether it’s running the bases, hitting, or fielding, there’s a fun drill for every part of the game.
- 21 Fun Youth Baseball Drills
- 1. Stay Inside-the-Ball Warm-Up Technique
- 2. Slip And Sliding Drill
- 3. Tennis Ball Pancake Drill
- 4. Fly Ball Box Drill
- 5. Relay Base Running Drill
- 6. Home Run Derby
- 7. Batting Tee Work
- 8. Rapid Fire Goalie Drill
- 9. Knock Over Scooby Target Toss
- 10. Stride, Pause, Stride, Swing Drill
- 11. Baseball Field Obstacle Course
- 12. Beat The Ball To The Spot Drill
- 13. Batting Practice Games
- 14. PVC Hitting Drills
- 15. Hula Hoop Throwing Drill
- 16. Bunting Challenge
- 17. Line Drive League
- Fun Youth Baseball Drills – Structuring Practice
- Final Thoughts On Fun Youth Baseball Drills
17 Fun Youth Baseball Drills
1. Stay Inside-the-Ball Warm-Up Technique
The “hands inside the ball” drill is an excellent tool for young players to improve their swing mechanics. This drill reinforces efficient batting by teaching players to keep their hands tight and connected during their swing.
It encourages players to maintain a compact grip and avoid overextending, which is essential for producing more powerful and controlled hits. Focusing on a close-handed swing builds muscle memory for a stronger, more effective batting stance.
Coaches can spice up warm-ups by adding field targets, turning routine drills into a fun contest of accuracy and power.
2. Slip And Sliding Baseball Drill
Sliding is a fundamental skill in baseball that can be transformed into a cool drill. On those hot practice days, our coach brings out a large tarp. He lays it down in the outfield, sprays it down and essentially creates a makeshift slip ‘n slide.
This not only cools the kids off but also provides a safe, slick surface for them to practice their sliding. They learn how to time their slides, find the right angle, and protect themselves from injury. It’s an inventive way to teach this base-running skill. It also ensures the kids are learning, staying safe, and most importantly, having a ton of fun in the process.
3. Tennis Ball Pancake Drill
Tennis balls are an excellent tool for teaching young players how to catch or field grounders without fear of injury. Their softness and visibility make them ideal for beginners.
Fielding tennis balls with a pancake glove can turn routine fielding practice into an exciting game for youth baseball players. The flat design of the pancake glove forces players to use hand positioning and quick footwork to field the rapid and unpredictable bounces of tennis balls. This drill not only ramps up the intensity of ground ball practice but also encourages improvisation and adaptability. Young players with get quality defensive repetitions in a fun and engaging way.
4. Fly Ball Box Baseball Drill
Fly balls can be intimidating for young players, but turning the practice into a fun environment can alleviate that anxiety.
To set it up, place four cones in a square formation around 10 feet apart. A player stands in the center while the coach lobs shallow pop-ups toward each corner of the box. Initially, the coach can call out the corner to which the ball will be tossed, and as players become more adept, the tosses can become random.
This drill is excellent for improving players’ ability to track the ball and refine their footwork simultaneously.
5. Relay Base Running Drill
Base running is an essential skill that can be improved with relay races. These races can be a great way to end a practice session on a high note, with players cheering on their teammates and learning the importance of quick turns and efficient running.
To set the stage, split the players evenly into two teams. One team lines up at home plate, and the other at second base. Then, each team member takes turns sprinting around the bases, tagging their teammate to continue the relay. The first team to have all their players finish wins.
Furthermore, with these base running drills, players learn the importance of quick takeoffs and sharp turns around the bases. To add an extra layer of fun, use a baseball for the kids to pass to the next runner, making it feel like a real relay race.
6. Home Run Derby
The dream of hitting a home run is what drives many young players to pick up a bat. While not every player will be a power hitter, a drill that celebrates the long ball can be a highlight of practice.
In a home run derby, players take turns trying to hit a ball as far as they can, with the longest hits earning points or prizes. If kids aren’t strong enough yet, set up cones to act as a shorter makeshift fence.
If you want to make it really exciting, use tennis balls and have the kids hit with either their bat or a tennis racket. This has to be the most fun youth baseball drill.
7. Batting Tee Drills
A batting tee is a fundamental tool for developing hitting skills. It allows players to focus on their swing without worrying about the timing of a pitch. By turning tee work into a game, players can enjoy the process of refining their swing.
To ensure young players hit off a tee correctly, it’s important to avoid over-striding. Doing so can cause over-rotation and reinforce poor swing habits. A practical tip is to place a cone or helmet as a marker to provide external feedback on their setup and stride length. The best stride should bring them directly up to the tee, positioning them to hit the ball up the middle.
8. Rapid Fire Goalie Baseball Drill
The Rapid-Fire Goalie Drill is a fun exercise for infielders, similar to an intensified game of wall ball. Players work on their reflexes and ground ball fielding skills within a makeshift ‘goalie box’ marked by cones or hats.
The coach, armed with a bucket of balls and a fungo bat, delivers a quick succession of grounders from about 40-60 feet away, challenging the player to block and field each ball without letting any pass by.
Additionally, coaches should aim for variety, avoiding any set patterns that players might anticipate, to truly enhance the infielders’ ability to handle everything from routine stops to those spectacular, game-changing plays.
9. Knock Over Scooby Target Toss
One of the most engaging throwing drills my son’s coach has incorporated into practice is the “Knock over Scooby” target drill.
He places a bucket about 25 feet away from the kids and balances a Scooby Doo stuffed animal right on top. As each player fields a grounder, their mission is to throw with enough accuracy to knock Scooby off of the bucket. It’s surprisingly tricky, but it’s a hit with the kids.
They get a real sense of achievement when they manage to knock Scooby off, and it’s a fantastic way to keep their throwing arms accurate and their focus sharp. Plus, the fun of seeing Scooby Doo flying off the bucket adds a layer of lightheartedness to our practice sessions.
10. Stride, Pause, Stride, Swing Drill
The Stride, Pause, Stride, Swing drill is a practical exercise for teaching young players the basics of batting, helping to establish good form early on and prevent the onset of bad habits. It’s a straightforward yet effective way to reinforce the key components of a proper swing.
11. Baseball Field Obstacle Course
The entire baseball field offers a space for creative drills that engage youth players. Utilizing the full field, coaches can design drills that mimic the excitement of a real baseball game.
Moreover, a baseball field obstacle course could involve a scavenger hunt where players must complete different baseball tasks at various stations around the field. This could include hitting, fielding, throwing, and base running challenges, all designed to be fun and instructive.
Additionally, you could even have a station with two sets of catcher equipment and players have to race to see who can put the gear on the quickest.
12. Beat The Ball To The Spot Baseball Drill
Turn this fly ball drill into a fun and active challenge for kids, focusing on enhancing their footwork and catching abilities. Players start in an athletic stance, ready to spring into action. The excitement begins when a coach or teammate hits a ball, varying the direction and height to replicate different fly ball scenarios.
Players must quickly judge its flight path and sprint to the catch point, practicing their ability to track and adjust to the ball in motion. After each catch, they transition into a throw, mimicking a real game’s quick play.
Keep the energy high by incorporating a variety of catches. Be sure to also include line drives and trickier over-the-shoulder and diving catches. You could team kids up and create a contest where certain parts of the drill result in points.
13. Batting Practice Games
Batting practice is essential, but it can become tedious. By turning it into a series of games, players can stay focused and motivated throughout the session.
Batting practice games can include hitting targets, competing for the longest hit, or playing a modified version of baseball where points are scored based on the type of hit.
Oftentimes, my son’s team will do a batting contest at the end of practice. They create teams of three and the coach will set a timer for five minutes. He then proceeds to rapid fire pitch to the kids, where each kid in the group gets one swing per plate appearance. The group of three keeps rotating for the entire five minutes and the goal is to hit balls to the outfield. Each ball hit to the outfield counts as a point.
They’ve done many different variations of this game but that’s the general idea.
14. PVC Hitting Drills
Using a PVC pipe in hitting drills is another innovative and effective way to teach young baseball players about the mechanics of a powerful swing. The lightweight PVC pipe allows players to focus on their swing rotation without the distraction of weight, leading to a better understanding of how their body should move.
The length of the pipe also mimics the reach of a bat, ensuring that players maintain the correct form throughout the drill. This method is particularly effective in reinforcing the importance of hip and shoulder alignment and in developing the muscle memory needed for a consistent and powerful swing.
15. Hula Hoop Throwing Drill
Incorporating hula hoops into youth baseball throwing drills can add an element of fun and challenge. For instance, set up a hula hoop as a target for players to aim their throws through, either hanging it up or propping it against a fence. Players can field a ground ball and then focus on making an accurate throw through the hoop.
To keep things interesting, you can move the hoop to different heights or distances, or even have it swing slightly to mimic a moving target. This drill not only makes practice enjoyable but also sharpens players’ throwing accuracy and quickness in transitioning from fielding to throwing.
16. Bunting Challenge
Bunting is a skillful part of baseball that can also be turned into a fun drill for kids. Set up a series of targets between the first and third-base lines about half the distance between home plate and the pitcher. These can be anything from cones or even player’s gloves.
Players take turns executing bunts, aiming to tap the ball as close to the targets as possible. To ramp up the excitement, assign points for accuracy, with the closest bunts scoring higher. This playful competition not only teaches the ballplayers the finesse required for successful bunting but also keeps them engaged and eager to improve their technique.
17. Line Drive League
Hitting a line drive is one of the most satisfying feelings in baseball. Creating a drill that focuses on hitting line drives can be another great way to develop young players’ batting skills. A fun game that rewards line drives can encourage players to focus on their swing mechanics and follow through.
Players receive points for hitting line drives into designated areas of the field. Coaches can also set up targets for players to aim at, adding an element of challenge and fun to the drill.
For this drill, the coach could either pitch or do soft toss.
Fun Youth Baseball Drills – Structuring Practice
It’s important for coaches to recognize the varying skill levels within a youth baseball team. Drills should be adaptable to cater to each player’s abilities, ensuring that everyone is challenged appropriately and remains engaged.
The skill development series consists of drills that are modified based on age group and ability. For example, younger players may focus on basic throwing and catching, while older players work on more advanced techniques like turning double plays.
Season Practice Planner
A well-planned season of practices can ensure that players develop their skills consistently. Incorporating a variety of drills that focus on different aspects of the game can also keep practices fresh and engaging.
The season practice planner involves mapping out practices with a mix of drills that cover all the fundamentals of baseball. By planning ahead, coaches can ensure that each practice includes drills that players look forward to, keeping them engaged and improving throughout the season.
Final Thoughts On Fun Youth Baseball Drills
Wrapping up, these 17 drills are all about making sure that learning baseball is as much fun as playing it. They’re a hit with youth coaches because they get the job done without making it feel like work. Players get to sharpen their hand-eye coordination and baseball skills while having a good time.
It’s all about the love of the game and learning to play it well, with a bit of friendly competition thrown in. So, next time you’re out on the field, remember it’s not just about winning or losing, but how you play and enjoy the game of baseball.