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Not enough coaches: JV and varsity practice together?

Nov 26, 2019
32
8
This is year one for me I am going to take over a very fledgling program. I only have one assistant coach, and on occasion may have two others, but that is going to be about one day a week. Additionally, my assistant is not very knowledgeable about the game, but has great heart. Very few of our kids have any experience playing, and to me, the emphasis almost has to be on development of newbies and getting the old guard through. Thoughts on having us practice together (28 we will keep)? I know that means even less adults per kid, but in thinking about the great need for development and this being a long game situation, what would you do?
 
Oct 26, 2019
53
18
You can practice with that many on defense if you are really smart about how you plan it out. I have practiced JV and Varsity baseball kids together for years and we are talking about 30-34 kids. Hitting that many kids is difficult and hitting them for on the field BP is nearly impossible. I would practice the whole group for an hour or so and then focus on the varsity kids who you need this year to be competitive in games for the last 30 minutes or so and let the other kids go home. You could even rotate that last group some so that different kids are getting the “late” work in a smaller group based on need.
 
Nov 26, 2019
32
8
You can practice with that many on defense if you are really smart about how you plan it out. I have practiced JV and Varsity baseball kids together for years and we are talking about 30-34 kids. Hitting that many kids is difficult and hitting them for on the field BP is nearly impossible. I would practice the whole group for an hour or so and then focus on the varsity kids who you need this year to be competitive in games for the last 30 minutes or so and let the other kids go home. You could even rotate that last group some so that different kids are getting the “late” work in a smaller group based on need.
Thanks. Can you help me picture how you do split it up with that many kids? Obviously lots of stations and position work, but what might a typical practice for you look like with that many bodies?
 
Oct 26, 2019
53
18
If you are going to do mass infield you may have to have 3 or 4 kids at each position and have one of those kids at each spot rotate as the fungo hitter (I personally believe this is a good exercise for kids to do anyway). Have one group throw is across to first and the other groups field and place in a bucket at their position. After 1 bucket have the next position throw it across to first and the others bucket, etc.. Have your assistant coach run through outfield drills and since you don’t have to hit the ground balls to the infielders - that frees you up to oversee both infield and outfield and teach/correct both.

That’s just one example that will get your whole defense plenty of reps with a big group. If you have an idea of what you want to work on let me know and I’ll take a shot at thinking how I would organize it.

The biggest thing to avoid is one kid working while the other kids stand around and wait there turn.
 
May 6, 2015
1,308
83
The biggest thing to avoid is one kid working while the other kids stand around and wait there turn.
this, keep them engaged and moving. use what experienced girls you have to help explain drills. they need lots of reps on the basics it seems (field the ball, transition, throw the ball, catch the ball), I would not worry about too much situational stuff just yet, you need funadmentals to get the outs you absolutely need to make.
 

Cannonball

Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
4,024
83
We always practice JV and Varsity together. However, we keep 22-24. It helps to have a knowledgeable assistant coach but this way, you can train the coach the way you want. Do you have any facilities? For example what is your cage situation? Do you have the equipment? We use a lot of softballs in practice. In fact, we have several bins and then buckets that we use in a typical practice. Keep in mind that there will come a time as you head toward that first game where you are going to have to focus on those first 11 more. You want your varsity to have their best chance to win. Have you thought about who is going to keep the scorebook? I'd recommend finding a colleague if possible who might want to do it. I was fortunate to find a teacher who was a stats freak who loved baseball/softball and so, he jumped in to help out. From there, he became another coach and a valuable one at that.
 
Sep 17, 2009
1,453
63
I thought of this old Candrea video.
What I like is groups moving quickly and rolling balls rather than fungoes for better control. If you get enough balls I've even had girls make (short) throws into bownets and then hustle and collect the balls and get them back tot he coach. If you keep things moving fast you'll even wear kids out. One coach infield like this another one doing something similar with outfielders and pitchers/catchers getting their work in would be a nice breakdown doable with two coaches. Another thing to look for might be a student assistant or two?
 

Cannonball

Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
4,024
83
Rich, we do that drill a lot. We call it the "Arizona Drill." It is a good way to get people active in practice. That drill is the perfect example of where we need the bins. Also, if you haven't done this drill, when you first start, slow the process down some so that the 1st baseman or 2nd baseman can catch on to the routine. We go 3 catches and rotate to the next 1B or 2B.
 
Oct 14, 2016
31
18
Can you stagger practices? I was in a similar situation a few years back. I scheduled practice so I had smaller groups. I always did JV practice first and Varsity after. Varsity went second because most of them could drive, and most were better at taking care of homework and stuff. Also allowed them to visit teachers after school so they could do well on State exams and ACT/SAT.

Typical Practice Plan:
JV:
Warm-up Jog - Dynamic Stretch - Throw Routine - Everydays
Infield Fundamentals - Outfield Tee Work
Outfield Fundamentals - Infield Tee Work
Combined Team Work - Varsity arrives and begins their Warm-ups.
Combined Situationals with JV Running Bases
Varsity:
Infield Fundamentals - Outfield Tee Work - JV goes home
Outfield Fundamentals - Infield Tee Work
Live Hitting on the Field/Base Running

This makes for a long day for you, but it is, IMO, less stressful and I think more productive, not to mention, safer. The real struggle is time with your pitchers and catchers. They need their work every day, and it should be monitored.
 
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