6-U Practice Plan 1

Practice Length: 1 Hour

Best Practices for Long-term Development:

  • Introducing basic fundamentals at this age should be the focus.  Most kids—and we say “most” because there are always exceptions—won’t take well to “mechanical” instruction. They simply aren’t there yet. But teaching easy concepts, like which foot to step with when throwing or how to grip a bat properly, will work!
  • Focus on foundational ideas that do not require fine motor skills.
  • Build the framework for sportsmanship, being a good teammate!
  • Be patient.

Pre-Practice Warm-Up

Wiffle Home Run Derby: 10 minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Break the ice and get the players interacting with this fun warm-up routine. Get all the coaches involved too, allowing each player to get more comfortable with the staff.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Practice

Defense/Throwing: 20 Minutes

Catch/Into Hula-Hoop Throwing: 10 minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Spread out—no black eyes! Start with a few fun warm-ups, like the shoulder exercises in the video below, and then move to the grips—which will allow you to see what information (if any) the kids retained.

Note: Remember to start close and go slowly—and pair up the kids who are like skilled. As the players begin to get loose, add in the Hula Hoop game.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Defense: 25 Minutes

Groundball/Fly Ball Intro: 20 Minutes (Split)

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Start from the beginning, fundamentally: roll grounders during the infield and lob the fly balls in the outfield. As it progresses, fungos or tennis rackets (one of the best fly-ball machines ever invented) may be used.

Note: Pay attention to ability during this drill—it will help you get a better idea of who can play where.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

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Offense: 30 Minutes

Hitting Stations: Dry Swings/Tee Work/Soft Toss: 30 Minutes (Split)

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Like the previous section, start from the beginning, fundamentally. Athletes at this age are more susceptible to bad information and developing bad habits, especially from the plate. Take the first few practices to go over proper grips and swing mechanics, but also take the individual tee time and soft toss to begin to understand each hitter’s skillset (including capabilities) based on their strength and what’s comfortable to them.

Note: Rotate at the halfway point.

YSPN360/Dugout Captain Video(s) to Incorporate

Baserunning: Arm Swing Intro: 10 minutes

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Keep the cardio fun! Incorporate teaching the Arm Swing Cycle, while working on building camaraderie by having the players cheer on their teammates as the run down to first base!

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.
  • Get a show of hands: Who wants to pitch?
  • Remember: End the practice with a High Five Line—“Good Game!”

YSPN360 Coaching Tip: Again, life lessons and mentoring dialogue will probably not stick with 6-U—so take this time to discuss the positions on the field: Who likes what best, and why. Talk about being prepared—simplify this: keeping your shoelaces tied; not drawing stick figures in the dirt during a 3-2 pitch.

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