Welcome to Discuss Fastpitch

Your FREE Account is waiting to the Best Softball Community on the Web.

Register Log in

New 6u Coach

Apr 18, 2019
5
3
Hey yall, so this coming season will be my first one coaching. My girls started out in tball a couple years ago and moved to 6u softball when we found out they had it. I usually warm up their team before games: simple grounder drills, attack the ball, and throwing. Im no guru by any means. Any team drills or practice ideas yall have used or any info would be most appreciated. Other than workin with just my 2 and few fielding drills with their team my experience is limited but an empty glass is easiest filled lol. Thank yall.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
 
Nov 18, 2015
514
18
StuntWelder - Welcome to the forum!

Sounds like you're already on the right track - keep it simple, and focus on the fundamentals.

I'll just start with my thoughts on what you're already doing:
Grounders
  • Leave the bat in the dugout (which you may already be doing) - just roll them the ball. It's more accurate, and you'll get through more reps
  • Don't have more than 5 girls in a line - recruit another parent or two
  • Don't be afraid to separate throwing from fielding - let them just field it, then run the ball to a bucket
  • Teach angles - if the ball isn't directly at them, they'll run to where the ball IS, not where the ball is GOING TO BE, which resulted in them chasing the ball. I saw this several times in the first few games when my daughter was in Kindergarten. So we worked during practice on running more sideways to the ball vs. charging at too much of an angle. I think the cue I used was something like "getting ahead of the ball", or "beat the ball to the spot", in order to "stop chasing the ball". The issue went away for almost all of them. Quicker than I expected. To this day, I'm not sure if it was a self-adjustment, or my actual coaching that did it - between you, me, and this board, I'm allowing myself a mini ego trip on this one. Because I definitely can't brag about the backwards K's in our scorebook 5 years later!
Throwing
  • Teach them to throw as a continuous motion - beware the teaching trap of having them standing still, pointing their glove, and then throwing. Because they'll do that on EVERY throw, and never learn or understand the importance of momentum.
  • If you start them sideways to the target, start their throws with their hands together, in the center of their body - this helps reinforce the continuous motion of bring the arm back and then forward - there's no "pause" at that "L" shape - you want them to move THROUGH that position, not TO that position.
  • If they start facing the target, start with their hands apart, and then bring their hands together when their throwing-side foot (right foot for most) hits the ground. I believe this helps with timing the arm action. I was trying to figure out how to help my daughter, and only recently realized that every time I threw a ball "for real" (i.e. as if you were throwing with another adult), I would always tap the ball into my glove as my right foot landed. If there's no timing mechanism involved with the throw, then you start seeing the ball stuck behind them - they bring the ball back so early, they can't figure out when to actually start throwing, so it looks like they're walking around the infield stuck in that "L" position.
Well, hope I didn't ramble too much - good luck this season.

Oh - best coaching move I ever made - ask a parent to set up the sign-up genius for bringing snacks. I stressed enough about setting a position lineup that equalized IF, OF, and that prized "pitcher" position. NEVER having to worry about who was bringing what snack was a godsend!
 
May 6, 2015
696
28
P position needs to be someone who will stay somewhat focused (as much as 6u players can), just for safety. Even in Tball, I had kids I would not play there, when parent asked, I told them why, and they seemed OK with it.

other than that, keep them moving, keep them focused. are coaches allowed to be in the field with them (we were in 8u which is all we had, had K-3rd graders on that team, talk about a wide range)? If so, do it, and keep talking to all the girls, just to try and keep focus.

pregame, I would have three stations, t work or soft toss, grounders, popups (assuming no pitchers to warmup). easy, simple, and with three, they will keep moving and gets lots of reps. draft parents to help, not hard to toss a pop fly or grounder for 6 year olds.

KISS - when IF fields ball, tag nearest base if there is a force, throw to 1B otherwise. when OF fields ball, throw to 2B. especially since it sounds like you are (correctly) rotating them through all positions, it needs to be simple. and remind them all the time what they are doing if the ball is hit to them. pay a lot of attention to OF, get them moving on every hit to do backups (assuming there is no stealing etc. yet) since so few hits will make OF. praise a lot on OF doing proper backups, since OF will get little recognition otherwise.
 
Feb 8, 2019
14
3
Thanks for posting this- at my daughters insistence, i have returned to coaching the young’uns in the 6-8 age group. I have forgotten a lot, but from what i have read here I know i am on the right track!
In the short time since we started practicing, there have been many precious moments. My favorite was when I was talking to a parent and the kid jumped out of the car and ran up to me and gave me a big hug around the legs..
 
Oct 4, 2018
362
28
It sure can be rewarding.

Make sure they have fun, but make sure you're having fun too. I love doing contests with prizes. I get a little less time to do them as the kids age, but I still try to have a contest at the end of practice every once in a while.
 

sluggers

Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
5,794
48
Dallas, Texas
StuntWelder - Welcome to the forum!

  • Leave the bat in the dugout (which you may already be doing) - just roll them the ball. It's more accurate, and you'll get through more reps
I disagree. I know a lot of coaches do it, but it is still wrong.

Kids must learn to read the ball off the bat. They have to learn to watch the bat hit the ball. They are not going to do that as long as coaches roll the ball to them.

Get a light bat, choke up and tap balls to them. With a little practice, you can hit ground balls as fast as you can roll them.
 
Nov 26, 2010
4,037
48
Michigan
I disagree. I know a lot of coaches do it, but it is still wrong.

Kids must learn to read the ball off the bat. They have to learn to watch the bat hit the ball. They are not going to do that as long as coaches roll the ball to them.

Get a light bat, choke up and tap balls to them. With a little practice, you can hit ground balls as fast as you can roll them.
At that age you can use one hand and swat the ball with the bat like a tennis racquet
 
Nov 18, 2015
514
18
I agree that they need to learn to read the ball off the bat. And I do use a bat more frequently with my 8-10 YOs.

But for the age range we're talking about, I think rolling helps build confidence and will be more consistent (we can't all have Ron Washington on our coaching staffs!). They can work on mechanics without the "intimidation" factor of having to first watch adult swing a bat 15/30/x feet away from them.

If you do use a bat, consider doing it from one knee for a more realistic contact point (and helps keep the hits softer by avoiding unintentionally using your hips or weight shift if you were standing).
 

Latest threads

Forum statistics

Threads
33,380
Messages
482,575
Members
15,116
Latest member
Magicmariah
Top