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6U T-Ball Help

Dec 20, 2012
A friend asked me to help out and coach a t-ball team, and I decided to accept the challenge. My goals are for them to have fun and want to keep playing in the future, but I want to be able to teach them the fundamentals while doing that. I'm trying to think of different things to do, so it's not always the same thing over and over, but could always use help with different ideas. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Mar 22, 2016
Southern California
Get as many parents as you can to help and work in stations of 3-4 girls per station when possible. Lots of groundball repetitions (you can roll them, no need to hit at this age). Running bases (after teaching fundamentals, do relay races/competitions).

When I coached t-ball in baseball, I had a throwing contest where players would start off in a line and whoever hit the fence would scoot back. Eventually one player was left standing and considered winner. Goal was to get the kids learning to throw their hardest.

Don't be afraid to pull aside a player who is a safety concern or too large of a distraction - don't want one player ruining it for 11 others.
May 6, 2015
-get rid of the basket catch, get them catching with glove oriented the correct way.
-overhand throwing with decent form. do not get too worried about mechanics, as long as there is nothing too atrocious
-if you can have enough parents, less girls per station the better. for throwing and catching, one on work is best, even if it means a line waiting, rather than having them play catch together, as this ends up being chase the ball all over
Apr 17, 2019
Be silly, don't be afraid to make a spectacle of yourself. Some of my favorites are:
  • Teaching overhand throwing load position -- Spread your wings like a mighty eagle! Go Ka-Kaw! (I still have 8u girls that go Ka-Kaw when I remind them to load big for big throws)
  • From there, let your elbow lead, make a rainbow over your head (in my experience far easier to correct from this than to try to fix shotputters), throw, then try to slap your butt. (the more you say butt, the more fun the kids have.)
  • After fielding a grounder, bring the ball in and give it a little snuggle by your cheek like it's a fluffy kitten (teaching soft hands, funneling)
  • I'm a martial artist too, so I like to teach my girls how to throw a good punch. I have an assistant/parent hold a pancake glove like a sparring pad. Then I show the girls that you don't get much power out of a jab because there is no rotation. But a cross with hip rotation and pivoting the back foot is a lot more powerful. They love this and it teaches hip rotation which translates almost 1:1 into batting. (I might get away with this because I'm a girl, not sure how this would play coming from a man. )
Nov 18, 2015
1. Use smaller balls. 10" should be easy to find - I think you may even be able to find 9" softballs. 6U is K and 1st grade - even an 11" softball for them could be like us trying to learn the sport with something the size of a grapefruit or melon.

2. Show them how to get ahead of the ball. They will want to run at right angles to a hit ball. Show them how to run to where the ball will be, so there will be more missing, and less chasing.

3. I've coached girls, and helped with my sons team as well. I found there was much less "swarming" with the girls than the boys (the 1B didn't chase every ball to LF). It made games a little more bearable.
Jun 11, 2013
From my experience at that age many are too young to really be able to catch. I'm a big believer in teaching them to be ready for the play to start. Being in ready position, watching the game.,etc. Outside of that proper throwing mechanics and how to get in front and field a ground ball is a big deal.
Apr 17, 2019
From my experience at that age many are too young to really be able to catch. I'm a big believer in teaching them to be ready for the play to start. Being in ready position, watching the game.,etc. Outside of that proper throwing mechanics and how to get in front and field a ground ball is a big deal.
That reminded me of another mini-game I play. I call it "Knights and Wizards". The kids are knights, coaches are wizards. The wizards are shooting "fireballs" (tennis balls, foam balls, soft toss, whatever you've got) at the castle (the backstop or fence or whatever is behind them) and the knights have to use their shields (pancake gloves) to protect the castle. You can add points into this game. What it looks like less imaginatively is you chucking balls at a kid standing in ready position in front of a fence and them trying to block the balls. This game really helps the ball-shy kids build confidence and helps all the kids learn to get in front of the ball. (note, I suggest for this to always throw underhand or kneel and dart throw. It's easier to read for beginners.)

As an aside, this year I started the kids on pancake gloves the first few practices, not even letting them put on their "real" glove. It's amazing, but they all do fingers up or down the appropriate way when they're using a pancake glove, but for whatever reason, stick a fielding glove on their hand and over half try to basket catch. If nothing else, you can say "Why are you doing that? You didn't do that with the pancake glove on! Pretend it's the pancake glove. It's okay if the ball falls out for now." I also teach the kids that the purpose of the glove isn't to catch the ball, it's to protect your hand. The goal is to get it into your throwing hand as fast as you can.
May 29, 2015
From the perspective of somebody who created a local t-ball program from scratch ... RUN.

Seriously though:

*Keep your expectations in check.
*Keep parents’ expectations in check.
*Gamify everything. The attention span is short, you must keep them engaged.
*^that one goes for the parents too. Engage the parents as much as you can, because you will need help just keeping kids corralled.
*Make it clear to parents what their role is — YOU are not a babysitter and do not need to deal with discipline issues. The parents are expected to be there.

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