Youth Baseball Advice — How To Run A Great Practice

Apr 15, 2019 by Nick Rotola CEO of American Baseball Camps in  baseball camps Uncategorized Youth Baseball Advice

How To Run A Great Practice

On our trek across the country with American Baseball Camps we have learned that many kids aren’t getting any better at their practices. Smart baseball parents are seeking out teams that run legitimate practices where their kid can actually get better, and I don’t blame them.

One of the worst practice stories we heard was in Tahlequah Oklahoma. A dad told me that at his kid’s practices the coach would put everyone in a group in the outfield and hit fly-balls and whoever catches it, catches it. This is similar to a game we used to play as kids called “500” but it certainly isn’t an entire practice!

This how-to guide on running a great practice is based on 20 years of good baseball experience, extensive research, and being a veteran player at one of the top D1 Baseball Programs in the country.

The Warmup

About ten years ago sports scientists realized that there is a more efficient way to warm-up than to just static stretch and count to ten. It is recommended to run kids through a “dynamic warmup” before practice and that “static stretch,” that you may be familiar with, after practice.



Here’s a quick example of a good dynamic warmup, it works best in two lines starting on the outfield foul line:

  • jog 45 feet, jog back
  • shuffle 45 feet, shuffle back
  • karaoke 45 feet, karaoke back
  • high knees 45 feet, high knees back
  • butt kicks 45 feet, butt kicks back
  • walking quad stretch 45 feet, walking quad stretch back
  • leg swings 45 feet, leg swings back
  • skipping leg swings 45 feet, skipping leg swings back
  • lunges, side lunges 45 feet, jog back
  • sprint 45 feet, sprint back

Upper Body Stretch:

  • small arm circles forward, big arm circles forward
  • small arm circles backwards, big arm circles backwards
  • shoulder stretch across
  • tricep stretch
  • arm swings high to behind you (bicep stretch)
  • rotator cuff stretch on the ground (lay on your throwing arm side put arm at 90 degree angle and push hand down towards the ground).

Play Catch

When they play catch remind them to take it seriously. You cannot win in baseball if you can’t play catch. Teach them the catch game to keep them locked in. If you hit them in the chest 3 points, hit them in the face 2 points, hit them in the arms or legs 1 point. Front elbow should be up and pointing towards where you want to throw it when you are playing catch.

*Water break*

On Field BP with the Rest of The Teams Taking Live Reps

BP on the field is a great way to see the results of your batting practice. It also gives the fielders a chance to take live reps off the bat if you do it right. Split your team into 4 groups of 3 (lets say you have 12 for the example). When 1 group hits, the other 9 players are in the field taking live reps off their teammates hitting, or fungos from a coach. Coaches stand adjacent to home plate. The coach on the 3rd base side hits fungos to the first baseman and the shortstop. The coach on the 1st base side hits fungos to the 3rd baseman and 2nd baseman. You need to wait and hit them in between pitches so that kids don’t have to field the fungo and the live grounder at the same time. Mix in some fly balls for the outfielders if they aren’t getting much action live off the bat.



*Water break*

Drill Circuit

Don’t have the whole team running one drill at one time, try to have coaches running simultaneous drills and just have the players rotate. It’s important to be efficient with your practice time. Below we have listed some drills to choose from that we like that we think could make young players a lot better:

  • Rundown drill with a baserunner
  • Pitcher fielding practice
  • Double plays
  • Short hops drill for infielders
  • Quarterback drill (over the shoulder catches)
  • 4 corners drill
  • Around the bucket drill (for infielders to take the right path to the ball)
  • Blocking drill
  • Bare handed ground balls
  • Bare handed receiving practice (catchers)
  • Pickoffs
  • Up the middle drill
  • Soft toss
  • Bunt defense
  • Throwing to second (catcher and middle infielders)
  • ESPN top ten drill
  • Double cuts drill
  • Robbing home runs drill

A good practice is all about getting the player a lot of good reps in a short amount of time. Players will get burnt out if they are out there all day so try to keep a practice around an hour and a half to two hours.

Make everything a game – I was doing a hitting lesson with a kid and was telling him to try to hit the back net of the cage and drive the ball up the middle. He kept pulling everything, he didn’t hit the back net once. Then when I created a game where hitting the L-Screen was 1 point and the back net was 2 points – he took off. Next thing I knew he was saying “I’m gonna get to 20”. Kids respond well to games and challenges, so try to use those to your advantage. If anything they just promote focus and induce competition.

Treat them like studs and they’ll start acting like it – My career took off when I found a coach that treated me like I was better than I really was. You’d be surprised, treat a player like he’s better than he’s playing and he’ll rise to the occasion

Encourage & support – This generation can’t be coached the same way that you were coached growing up. The drill sergeant makes them run till they puke stuff just isn’t needed. These kids are smart and if you treat them with respect, they’ll treat you with it in return. Every player isn’t created equal — you have to coach to your team. Know your players and coach them accordingly.

– Blog was written by a group of older D1 Baseball Players that have chosen to remain anonymous for NCAA reasons.




American Baseball Camps

American Baseball Camps Reviews

Sep 13, 2019

American Baseball Camps Receives a 99% Satisfaction Rating

 

American Baseball Camps (Founded in 2016) issues random surveys to randomly selected parents after camps in 2017 & 2018 and finds that 99% of parents found their camp extremely rewarding for their ballplayers’ ages 6-12.

 

American Baseball Camps Featured Review

 

“Dear American Baseball Camps, you saved my kid’s baseball career!! He’s an 8 year old ballplayer who comes from a baseball family and he just grew tired of the game. When I asked him why he didn’t want to play anymore, he said that its no longer fun (he would rather play Fortnite!). Anyways, it was sad for our family because we’re a family of ballplayers and the game means a lot to my wife, brothers, father, and I. Long story short, when I saw a video of your camp I thought, let’s give it one more try.

My boy came with a frown on his face, expecting American Baseball Camps to be a huge let down. Boy was he wrong! The next morning I woke up at 7:30AM to find him fully dress in his American Baseball Camps shirt and hat eating breakfast, he couldn’t wait to get to camp!! After camp he asked me to play catch in the back yard and we even set up slip n’ slide wiffle ball to play on Sundays.

When I asked if he wanted to play fall-ball he said yes and was very excited. Whatever it is thats causing kids to want to quit baseball whether its the pressure, or its not fun anymore, or video games just seem more interesting, just give American Baseball Camps a shot. Their whole purpose is to make baseball fun again, and to make kids better ballplayers by helping them fall in love, or deeper in love with the game. Thank you American Baseball Camps, you made my kid’s summer, and you made my year!” – Dalton B.

 

American Baseball Camps 2019 Reviews (Just Some Of Our Favorite)

 

“Hey American Baseball Camps, my name is Susan Combs and my son Cruze Combs attended your KC Baseball Camp this week. I wanted to let you know that he had a really great time, and we really appreciate you coming through KC!! He’s already asking to go back next year!” – Susan C.

“American Baseball Camps, if you haven’t been yet, your ballplayer is missing out!” – Amanda S.

“We were excited to attend an American Baseball Camps camp because we had been referred by my cousin and boy were we impressed. They helped my boy more in one week than his coaches could help him in a life time! (Don’t show his coach this)! – Gina F.

“This is our (I think) fourth year of attending American Baseball Camps and they just keep improving the dang thing.” – Sally P.

“I was excited for my boy to attend camp because after he attended last year he took off at the plate. This year, he’s 11, and he just absolutely loved it. Made great friends at camp and memories that’ll last a lifetime.” – Coach Kevin O.

“American Baseball Camps transformed my kid’s game in a way I couldn’t have dreamed. I wish they came to my city more than once per summer, I’d send him every time!” – Paul D.

“One of the best things I get from parents is how impressed they are with the improvements their kid makes over the 4 days. What I tell them is that in the course of a season you may only have 20-40 hours of practice. Out of those 30 hours, your kid may only get 15-20 quality hours of work, the coaches just aren’t big time college and pro coaches, they are coaches of 6-12 year olds. Any ways, what I tell parents is that our camp which is about 26 hours is about as much baseball repitition as your kid gets in an entire spring/summer of practices. Its no wonder he improves that wild amount, we just get to work and work them, and we make it so fun, they don’t even realize they are working so hard!” – Coach Rob R. (One Of Our Camp Directors)

 

American Baseball Camps 2018 Reviews (A Select Few)

 

“Finally found a good baseball camp that’s all day with early drop off! If you can’t drop your kid off, you can’t go to work… Thank you American Baseball Camps!” – Grace S.

“What a great experience for my boy! Memories made that will last a lifetime!” – Aubrey L.

“Drove my kids 2 1/2 hours for this camp and I’d do it again!” – Katie T.

“Great camp! My boys learned a lot and they had a great time! Thank you American Baseball Camps, we will be back!” – Kaycee D.

“Can’t say enough good things about American Baseball Camps. Great coaching and SO much fun.” – Sarah S.

“As a Baseball Coach that knows enough to get by, its nice to send my boy to a camp where he can get the cutting edge instruction, and receive coaching from someone other than his dad. Great value of a camp, we will be back. Ps. My boy Buddy caught smoking fire at the plate after camp! Thank you American Baseball Camps” – Coach Kevin O.

“The highlight of Zeke’s summer! Can’t wait for the next one!” – Susannah S.

“Would definitely recommend! My son begged to go back again… Even though it was his third straight year of American Baseball Camps! These guys are doing it right.” – Lindsay S.

“Much more personal instruction than the College Camps! We appreciate it and will definitely come again. Thanks!” – Amanda S.

 

Want To Try American Baseball Camps? Select A State To Find A Camp Near You!

 

3 Things To Look For In A Youth Baseball Camp-min

3 Things To Look For In A Youth Baseball Camp

Apr 01, 2019

Kids don’t get better unless they play a lot of baseball. A great source of baseball during the summertime are youth baseball camps.

They break up the monotony of baseball games and practices and they are usually designed to quickly and effectively make your kid a better baseball player. But what makes a great youth baseball camp?

What should you look for when signing your kid up for one? We list our top three things to look for in a youth baseball camp.



#1 Relevancy

The things learned at a baseball camp have to be relevant to a kid’s baseball life.

Camp coaches need to be clear with your kid in how the things learned at camp can actually be applied in a game. If camp coaches are just discussion theories with your kids and tweaking mechanics your kids aren’t going to take anything away from the camp.

A good camp gives a kid tangible adjustments and teaches the kid how to apply them. Find an instructional youth baseball camp that is delivering relevant information!

#2 Fun

Youth Baseball Camps should be mostly about having fun. Why? Baseball players perform best when they are having fun. This doesn’t mean picking daisies and playing with bubbles.

What we are talking about here is finding a camp that the kid’s not going to hate. So many of the youth baseball camps we have researched have the kids bouncing around from drill to drill going through the motions and grinding it out.



This can hurt a kid’s motivation and drive for the game of baseball. Instead, put him in a camp where he is having the time of his life & getting a lot better. Why are MLB guys always joking around and having fun in the dugout?

The game is supposed to be fun, and players perform the best when they are having fun.

#3 Affordable

Youth baseball camps are huge in the development of young ballplayers, but that doesn’t mean you should have to refinance your house to pay for them. Find a quality youth baseball camp that costs around $50-$75 a day.

Anything higher than that and you’re looking at greedy camp coaches/owners. There is no reason to be paying $400 for a 3 day camp just because it’s led by an ex-Major Leaguer. Quality instruction can be found for much less.

Youth baseball camps are about giving back to the next generation of young baseball players, not about profits. So, find a camp that meets all of your baseball camp needs, and is affordable too.

– Blog written by ABC Founder Nick Rotola. American Baseball Camps offers baseball camps all across the US. View their Baseball Camps Page, or visit their American Baseball Camps Home Page.




American Baseball Camps — Three Reasons Hitters Must Make Adjustments

Apr 01, 2019

Why should baseball players make adjustments?

Let’s start with a story, because stories help people remember things.

Let’s take Jose Bautista for example, he’s not the only one that made a crucial adjustment, but lets just use him as our example.

#3 Jose Bautista’s career changing adjustment



This picture was taken during Joey Batts’ infamous home run and bat flip in game 5 of the ALDS. Now let’s talk about his journey and the adjustments that got him to where he is now.

Between 2004 & 2009 Jose Bautista was traded and moved around and never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. He was never a special player.

Until 2011.

When Jose Bautista went from dud to stud hitting 54 home runs when the next highest in the league was 40. He followed this up the next year by hitting 43 in 2011.

So what was the switch? What did he do to as the New York times put it “start putting up Babe Ruth numbers circa 1927.”

His adjustment was to start his swing earlier and easier. He made a conscious decision to relax more and start his leg kick earlier. He was starting so late that in order for him to be on time he had to be quick. Starting earlier and easier helped him to relax his hands and pick up off speed pitches better. Being quick and late with your swing makes you tend to tense up and struggle picking up off-speed.

He had heard coaches tell him this adjustment lots of times during his career but he said it wants until he actually practically made changes and watched video that he was able to make the change.

#2 Hall-of-Fame advice



Check out this video of three great hitters talking hitting and the importance of adjustments in baseball:

#3 A bad plan/approach will always be a bad plan/approach

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That is kind of how hitting without adjustments can be. If you are a young player, and you don’t make adjustments to your approach or swing, you just may drive yourself nuts in this game.

It’s not fair to yourself in a game dictated by numbers to not give yourself the best chance for success every time you step up to the plate. There is no reason to just keep going to the plate with the same plan that has been giving you frustrating results.

Your ability to make adjustments can make or break you in this game. And you’ll have a lot more fun playing this beautiful game if you can do it.

 

– Author Anonymous (The NCAA doesn’t allow me to disclose which historic baseball program I play for)

 

Blog posts provided by American Baseball Camps – the first camp with primary instruction from active D1 players. ABC’s mission is to make baseball fun again! They do this by providing the most fun baseball camp in America where they encourage players to have fun and help them to play their best. Summer fun camps are coed, and for kids ages 12 and under. They feature slip n’ slide wiffle ball, pitching dunk tanks, and many many more fun baseball games and drills.

 

 

 




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