12-U Practice Plan 1

Practice Length: 1 Hour

Best Practices for Long-term Development:

  • Continue to focus on teaching the framework for sportsmanship, being a good teammate, and how much FUN baseball is—regardless of the age group.
  • Your overall developmental goal as a coach should be instilling Effort-based Feedback vs. Results-based Feedback. This game is about “Journey” and not the “Results.”
  • Players of all ages who focus on the results of their efforts oftentimes learn to base their confidence and self-esteem on whether or not their input is positive or negative. This mindset creates insecure inconsistent athletes. Learning/Growth vs. Results/Stats is a critical philosophy that needs to be integrated into their daily life at this point. Failure & struggles are opportunities to grow.
  • 12-U is further up the maturity scale, which means that the retention of information will be more prevalent, but patience is still the key when it comes to the athletic development.
  • Teach responsibility, prepping for High School: check the practice schedule and plans, understand where they need to be and when. Less handholding.
  • The growth within this age group, much like the 10-U, is anything but uniform; so remember to focus on one-on-one mentoring and teaching. Help them grow toward being “their” best!
  • Back parents off! The players are ultimately responsible for having their equipment, snacks, water, etc. The player should also carry their own equipment from the car to the field. Sounds simple, but it’s shocking how many parents do everything for their children. We need to place that responsibility on the athlete. They’ll survive if they forget their water. But they’re also more apt not to forget it next time so long as mom or dad doesn’t go buy it for them.

Pre-Practice/Warm-Up

Warm-Up Wiffle Circle: 10 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Build camaraderie and break the ice (and a sweat) by using something fun and simple as the first part of the practice.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Structured Catch: 10 minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Take this time to “catch” up on the mechanics: grips, proper footwork and core turn, follow-through, and talk about overuse and injury prevention.

Note: Reiterate the importance of stretching. This age group should be able to lead their own routines, so implement some of the basics early on.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Practice

Defense: 25 Minutes

Groundball/Fly Ball Technique: 25 (split) Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Rotate at the halfway mark. Start with the fundamentals at each station. Work on receiving the groundball as well as the fly ball. Mix the groups up to include outfielders and infielder in each.

Note: This will give you an idea of arm strengths and abilities while keeping things loose.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate 

Offense: 25 Minutes

Cage Work/Tee Work/Pitchers & Catchers Report: 25 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Take the opportunity of waiting time at the cage to add in a pitching and catching station to the mix. Go over mechanics, foot placement on the rubber, with the pitchers; talk about proper setup for the catchers. Have each pitcher throw 10-15 pitches MAX—at about 60 percent.  

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Hitting:

Pitching/Catching:

Home to First: 10 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: This is a great way to finish practice with some cardio, but also an opportunity to teach running techniques out of the box that is usually overlooked. Have a coach down at first base too, and work on running through the bag for the first round, and taking the turn during the second round.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Post-Practice Mentoring/Leadership: 5 Minutes

Discussion: 5 Minutes

  • What was their favorite part of the day—what did they learn?
  • Talk about expectations: being a good teammate, being focused while having FUN.
  • Talk about the next practice: what to expect.
  • Remember: End the practice with a High Five Line—“Good Game!”

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Life lessons and Mentoring Dialogue, again as with all levels of competition, will play a role at this age, but shouldn’t be something that you’d equate to a college Psych professor’s thesis. Use simple building blocks of knowledge for this group—again, they are more likely to retain at this age—with things like “Being ready to go when practice starts,” or “Don’t forget: this is a game!”

Providing opportunities for responsibility and accountability pave the path for self-sufficient youngsters. That ability alone creates a tremendous amount of confidence in a young person.

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