14-U Practice Plan 3

Practice Length: 2 1/2 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

Structured Warm-Ups: 10 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Select a few players each practice to run this routine—rotate it, so each player gets the feeling of a leadership role.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Structured Catch: 15 minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Again, it’s the coaches’ duty to communicate with the players—is there is ANY arm soreness?.

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

Stations: Groundball Short hops: Backhand/Glove-side + Bunt Situations/Outfield Target Practice/Catchers Conditioning: 30 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: This station work should reiterate the drills from the first practices, but now will incorporate more game-like scenarios.

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

Infielding

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate 

Third and First w/ Pitchers Rotate

Short and Second

Outfielding

Note: Work on developing accuracy—hit the cirlce/cone/etc—and have a little fun by making it a competition.

Catching

Full Infield/Outfield: 15 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Again, once the station work is completed, move to a full round of Infield/Outfield—just like a pregame routine!

Note: Pull pitchers who will throw first during the scrimmage.

Offense: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Cage Work/Tee Work: 20 Minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Progress with the hitter’s mechanics and focus on developing bat speed. Continue to work on the details, in the cage, and off the tee—this week, also work on the basis of reading the pitch.

For the Pitchers and Catchers: Scrimmage today, so treat this time like it was a pregame/appearance routine.  

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Hitting

Pitchers

Scrimmage: 1 hour

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: This is a great way to finish practice—you’ve put in the work, now see what’s there!

Note: Pitch limits should be applied. As the practice sessions progress, increase the counts, as needed. NO INJURIES!

Use Arizona Diamondbacks Director of Sports Medicine and Performance, Ken Crenshaw’s chart

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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