While coaching 9 & 10 year old little league baseball, many of my 11-players had not had much prior hitting instruction. To get a “bang for the buck” with our limited 1 1/2 hour practice sessions, we used a 4-station approach to keep them active and get a lot of repetition.
- It does require 3-4 adults (we used 2 baseball coaches and 1 or 2 parent volunteers), and often in our case, 2 hitting “nets”.
- Each station runs for 5 minutes.
- As players come in at different times to start practice, they are matched up with a “buddy” or two for stretching and throwing. 1st group to finish stretching/throwing goes to 1st hitting station, and so on.
Station 1: 2 or 3 players with a coach. Simply work on basic hitting mechanics such as stance, bat position, and 3-step “pop-torque-swing” for lead leg stride (or replace), rotation, and swing with a balanced follow-through. After 5 minutes group 1 goes to station 2 (2nd group comes in ; coach stays to get consistent instruction to all players) and 2nd group comes in.
Station 2: hitting from the tee. Each player takes 5 swings from the tee hitting into net. We have parent volunteer observing the player’s hitting techniques which they’ve observed at station 1. Players rotate after 5 swings. After 5 minutes group 1 goes to station 3 and is replaced by group 2.
Station 3: soft toss hitting. Each player takes 5 swings into net. We have a parent volunteer toss (angled from side & behind) with mix of tosses (inside toss = pull ; middle toss = up the middle ; outside toss = opposite field). Players rotate after 5 swings. After 5 minutes, to to station 4.
Station 4: coach pitch. Each player takes 5 swings from home plate at normal pitching distance. We have 2nd baseball coach pitch and observe the swing for any needed instruction learned at station 1 and developed through stations 2 and 3. Players rotate after 5 swings. (we have the 1st group players that have already hit “retrieve” their balls).
As the early groups complete, we’ll have the coach from station 1 get them ready for [tag]baseball fielding drills[/tag] while the later groups complete station 4 (or we’ll have them do live fielding with station 4). We try to rotate our small groups from practice-to-practice as to who goes into station 1 first.
This keeps all players active for a 20 minute session with a good number of swings from the tee, from soft toss, and from live pitching.
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