The best time to teach the basic fundamentals of [tag]baseball[/tag] is when your child is still young, especially if they already demonstrate a natural flair and talent for the sport. Young children’s minds are like a sponge in that they have an astounding ability to absorb and retain knowledge. Start practicing these baseball fundamental drills with your children when they are as young as 5 and you might have discovered the next Babe Ruth or Joe DiMaggio.
Two of the most basic [tag]fundamentals[/tag] of baseball are hand-eye coordination and correct [tag]throwing[/tag] skills. While sometimes these skills are innate and come naturally, they also can be taught using a series of [tag]baseball fundamental drills[/tag] when your children are as young as 5. Start with a plastic ball and make sure to emphasize the following 3 fundamentals of good throwing:
- using an overhand motion
- keeping the shoulders perpendicular to the target
- stepping forward with the correct foot (opposite foot to throwing hand)
As your child ages, the baseball fundamentals [tag]drills[/tag] can become a little more complex and focus more intensely on specific aspects of the game. As your child hits 7 years of age, start incorporating games into your throwing practice to emphasize a sense of progress and keeping the focus on having fun. There is a wide array of fun games to improve your child’s throwing arm. Consider holding “longest throw” competitions, holding “hit the target” games, and seeing how many consecutive catches in a row your child can make. By adding a competitive aspect, it will keep your child motivated to succeed and better their previous record. They’ll be having so much fun they won’t even notice they are improving their skills and building precious muscle memory that will be crucial in the years to come.
While throwing skills are essential in playing a good game of baseball, don’t negate the importance of [tag]catching[/tag] skills as well. Along with hitting and throwing, catching is one of those fundamental skills that every baseball player must posses. Again, these skills can be instilled in your child’s head while they are young and they will carry the abilities with them throughout the rest of their baseball playing days.
Start by running a series of baseball fundamental drills focused on catching when your child is nearing 5 years old. Don’t start them off with a glove right away—instead have your child catch a plastic ball with their bare hands. This will develop the vital hand-eye coordination skills required of a good baseball player. To keep things fresh, use a selection of different-sized balls during your catch games.
Once your children are a little older (7 years old and up) you can start them off with a small baseball glove and teach them the fundamentals of [tag]fielding[/tag] the ball. Make sure to start off with a small glove that your child can sufficiently control. This way they will develop the sensation of the glove as an extension of their hand, allowing them to better learn the fundamentals involved in catching the ball with a glove. A good way to get children started in the field with a glove is to roll slow grounders towards them and have them stop the balls using the alligator technique which involves them throwing their gloved hand over the ball and their throwing hand over top of the gloved one.