Here are some T-ball coaching tips that I’ve been doing with my T-ball teams. I’ve been coaching 4, 5, and 6 year olds for the last couple of years and my biggest challenge is helping my players overcome their fear of the baseball.
Fear of the Baseball
When a teammate or a coach throws the ball to them they will either step to their left or right and then they will make a stab at the ball with their glove to try and catch the ball.
Rag Ball Dodge Ball
Needless to say the vast majority of the balls wind up sailing past their glove and we spend most of the time chasing balls. To try and get them to move to a position in front of the ball and to catch the ball in front of their body I’ve resorted to using rag balls.
I raided my sock drawer and rolled up all of those old socks that don’t have a match anymore. I roll them up loosely and wrap them loosely with duct tape. At the first practice of the season, I split the team up and we play a game of dodge ball using the rag balls. This lets them know that the rag balls are not going to hurt if they get hit by it and it starts the season off on a fun note.
After that we will use these balls to teach them how to get in front of the ball and use the “pinky’s” (ball below the waist) “thumbs” (ball above the waist) method of catching the ball.
Glove has an Eye
We also try and emphasize that the glove has an “eye” and that you have to point the “eye” of the glove at the ball so that the glove can see the ball.
The younger players tend to twist their wrist right before the ball gets to the pocket of the glove and the ball usually hits the side of their glove and drops to the ground.
I purchase a large sheet of yellow felt and draw circular eyes on the felt. I cut those out and spray the back of the felt with contact glue and put them inside their glove in the pocket. I then have them go home and practice in front of the mirror showing the “eye” of the glove to the mirror.
I have them slowly make large circles in front of the mirror having them manipulate their wrists and elbows so that can always see the yellow “eye”.