12-U Practice Plan 2

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Practice Length: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

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 “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 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.


Leads and Breaks: 10 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Use this early on as a way to lay the groundwork for leading off, the first movement out of the break, and throw in some general info about reading the pitcher—the last part will take time, though, so really just focus on the movements from the base.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Warm-up Throwing Progression: 10 minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Focus on a good core turn and make sure their grips are correct. Talk about a good weight distribution—rocking to the back foot during the Feet in Concrete progression—and make sure the follow-through is loose.

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


Defense: 35 Minutes

Team Defense – Infield/Outfield: 35 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Break the infield up into two parts—with the left side working on backhands and glove-side grounders, and the right side working on throws to first (the first baseman will make the putout and throw to the catcher/coach at home). Switch at the halfway mark.

Outfielders work on communication—”I got it!” or “You take it!”—while fielding fly balls.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate 

For Infielders:

For Outfielders:

Offense (with Pitcher-Catcher Side-Work): 35 Minutes

Hitting Stations: Front Toss BP/Tee Work. Pitchers and Catchers Sides – 35 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Have everyone take a turn pitching—you never know. Work on simple fundamentals: foot placement on the rubber; leg lift; and easing into learning command.  

For the catchers, begin to introduce more technical aspects of receiving.

For the hitters, work on fundamentals of Gathering to Power (see the Mike Bard Series) during tee work. Reiterate those fundamentals during the Front Toss.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate



Post-Practice Mentoring/Leadership: 10 Minutes

Discussion: 10 Minutes

  • What did they learn?
  • Talk about expectations: Journey vs. Process.
  • Talk about the next practice: what to expect.
  • Next practice, make the team responsible for checking the schedule.
  • 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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