While [tag]coaching youth baseball[/tag], I’ve noticed that if they get behind in the game it is sometimes hard to keep them focused on the game. Here is a drill I like to do to work on just this situation.
The drill I like to do is have a runner at first and a runner at third. I have the runner attempt to steal second trying to get the pitcher or catcher to throw the ball down to get them caught in a pickle, this allows the third base runner to advance to home. This really works well at this age if the other team is not disciplined enough to not throw the ball.
I challenge the players to score before the player gets out between second. If he can get home before he gets out they do not have to run fences. If he does not score before he gets out they both run.
I have the player start in between first and second with the [tag]baseball[/tag] on first base or second base. Or I have them start running from home on a hit or walk and instruct them to keep running to second trying to bait them into making a play at second to create the pickle.
This drill teaches the runner on third to stay in the game and not to daydream and to run hard for home. It helps teach him to be more focused on what his responsibility is to score.
There are times that they watch the pickle instead of running home; it also teaches them that anytime a pickle is on if they can to advance bases, good drill. It teaches the runner in the pickle how to slide if he gets the chance and to be quick on his feet. It also teaches the other players how to perform the squeeze to get some one out.
The pressure for them to score gives them real game time pressure so they do not have to run. It also helps explain the look back rule if the runner is coming from home plate to first and the pitcher has the ball.