14-U Practice Plan 1

Practice Length: 2 Hours

Best Practices for Long-term Development:

  • Coaches should always focus on teaching the framework for sportsmanship, being a good teammate, and how much FUN baseball is—regardless of the age group.  Strict accountability should be enforced, ie: Early vs. Not on time.
  • Increase the prep for high school ball: assign more responsibility to individuals for things like field prep, pre-practice warm-ups, post-practice breakdowns, etc.
  • Challenge your players – Stations should have strict timeframes with work expected to be accomplished with energy and focus within specified timeframe.The pace will increase, so it’s important to stress more focus during drills, and will hopefully equate to second nature during the game.
  • Team Defense Vs. Team Offense in a highly competitive environment should be established from Day 1. Competition is about the individual giving the best effort; it’s not “who is in the other dugout.”
  • Mental and more philosophical approaches can be introduced in heavier, more complicated amounts with this age group. Learning vs. Results are huge here. Teenagers come with all sorts of insecurities. Focusing on learning and growing daily helps resolve performance anxiety and self-judging: batting averages and ERA.
  • Keep the game fun: this age group starts to find themselves more easily susceptible to performance pressures.  Growth vs. Results
  • Remember to create an effort-based environment: focus on the journey.

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: 45 Minutes

Groundball/Fly Ball Technique/Catchers Conditioning: 25 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: 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: Rotate/mix in the players who will be in the infield, outfield, and/or catching.

Infielding

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate 

Outfielding

Catching

Full Infield/Outfield: 20 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Start the competition early. Once the station work is completed, move to a full round of Infield/Outfield—just like a pregame routine!

Offense: 45 Minutes

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

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Start with early swing mechanics and issues that can happen from not playing for a lenghty period of time—something that can happen during the first few practices. Work on details, in the cage and off the tee.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Hitting

Pitching/Catching

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

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Home to First: 10 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: This is a great way to finish practice with some cardio, but also an opportunity to revisit/train the proper running techniques out of the box (that are 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 will continue to play a huge role at this age. This group, again, will experience different pressures than previous years, so it’s important to keep the message about fun, that failure happens (and is OK), and that the game is only a small piece of what is the bigger picture: being a good person!

Because players are different, sometimes it is good to make “Practice Notes” which might be specific certain players, and then break them down to give more of a team-learning message.

Lastly, connecting individually with players can have a dramatic impact on these kids. They are looking to you for information, support and help as they work toward their goal of playing high school baseball. The more you can provide them, the greater lifelong impact you’ll make on them. They are all ears at this age if you earn their trust.

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