Here’s a baseball practice plan template that’s focused on hitting fundamentals for kids age 8-12. It runs roughly 60-90 minutes, but you can adjust the individual drill times to meet the needs of your team. We’ll starts off with a warmup, then rotate the kids through four different hitting stations. Let’s get started!
Phase 1: Warmup
1st Base Relay (5-10 mins)
- The coach will yell ‘Go!” and the first player in line will sprint hard to 1st base.
- Once the player is about halfway down to 1st, send the next player in line
- To give players a sense of their progress and to make the drill more competitive, you can time players trips down and see who can take the crown!
Players should be focusing on overunning 1st base – not leaping on the base and staying there.
It can also be a good wrinkle for older players to get them used to looking over their right shoulder after hitting the bag, looking for the wild throw and seeing if they should continue onto 2nd base.
Relay Throwing (5-10 mins)
Split the team into 2-3 lines, spread out so that they have enough distance between them to safely throw to each other. Each player will need their glove, and the first player in each line will have a ball as well.
- The first player in line will throw down to the next player in his line, continuing on like this down to the end of the line and back.
- Players will receive the throw with their glove ready and their weight on their back foot, ready to receive the throw, pivot and throw to the next player in one motion.
- Make it a race! First team to get the ball down and back is your winner!
The player receiving the throw should be showing a target for the thrower that’s out toward the glove side.
With younger kids, it can be helpful the thrower to call out the receiver’s name as they make the throw
Phase 2: Station Block 1 (20-30 Mins)
For the second block of this practice, we'll split the team into two groups and rotate through teach drill for 10-15 minutes.
Soft Toss (10-15 Mins - Infield)
- The coach will loft balls underhand to the batter, who will hit them out to the fielders.
- The fielders will catch the balls and throw them to the catcher.
- The players will rotate as follows – outfield to catcher, catch to batter, batter to outfield.
The coach/soft-tosser should loft the ball so it lands in the dirt at the batter’s feet. You can practice different pitch locations by aiming for the front foot or back foot, or tossing with more speed and less arc
For extra difficulty, you can substitute whiffle golf balls
To add an extra element, have players automatically get to swap in to batter if they can shag a fly ball off the batter.
Players will spread out and form a circle with a coach in the middle. Players will get into their hitting stance, pretending that they have a bat in hand. It’s a good idea to have them wear their helmets as well during this drill, as while there are no live ball, they should be getting used to visualizing with their helmet on.
- The coach will begin by going into the wind up and beginning their pitching motion.
- The coach will say something about the placement of the pitch as they mimic the throwing motion – like ‘low outside strike’, ‘ball inside’
- The batters will visualize the pitch that the coach has named, stride, load and swing – or take the pitch if it’s a ball.
Once players have gotten the hang of the drill, you can turn it into a competition by eliminating any player who swings at a ball, or the last player to swing at a strike.
Phase 3: Station Block 2 (20-30 Minutes)
For the final block of this practice, we'll create two additional hitting stations, and rotate the kids through them for 10 minutes each.
Partner Bunting (10-15 Mins - Infield)
Players will partner off, all wearing helmets, and with one bat per pair. The batter will stand, ready to bunt, while his partner kneels about 15 feet in front of him with a couple baseballs. Players should spread out in the outfield so that they have enough room to safely toss and bunt.
- The player kneeling will pitch soft, hittable strikes, allowing the batter to bunt back the pitched ball.
- After a couple minutes have the players rotate pitcher to bunter.
- To keep their focus levels up, you can also have the batter switch to pitcher if the batter misses or fouls a pitch thrown in the strike zone.
Make it a game by placing hula hoops as bunting targets. Earn a point for each bunt that stops inside the hoop!
Make sure the batter is using the correct form when attempting to bunt the pitch – you can use the above diagram as a reference point.
Batters will find a piece of fence and stand close enough that bat would touch the fence if their arms were fully straight and extended.
- Players will begin practicing their swing in slow motion, focusing on keeping it tight and short and not touching the fence with their bat.
- As they get more comfortable, they can progress up to a full speed swing
- Have players see who can take the consecutive good swings without touching the fence!
The worst thing a player can do is use a long, loopy swing – we want them to focus on keeping it as short and tight as possible, bringing their hands straight down to the ball.