Quick Tips Presented By T-Ball America

Teaching T-Ball Today
Playing Baseball and Softball for Life!

T-Ball America is the national youth sports organization dedicated to the development of the game of t-ball. T-Ball America wants to make the game of t-ball fun for the participants as well as instill an interest in both baseball and softball so kids will continue to come back to play every year. Providing the resources to put kids in a position to succeed, T-Ball America offers a variety of programs and services. It is the center for information on how to improve existing t-ball programs and establish new ones. T-Ball America is happy to work with national, regional and local youth baseball leagues, civic or community groups, parents and kids.

* T-Ball America is a Youth Sports Club company.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

T-Ball Tip: Miss The Tee

 From Marty Schupak's












A challenging exercise for young kids is for the coach or parent to tie a rope at the end of a bat or pole. The rope is then hung over the batting tee with room for a bat to pass between the tee and the end of the rope. The player must swing the bat without hitting the batting tee or the rope. As the player swings through the empty space, which promotes bat control and hand‒eye coordination, the coach will lower the rope, making the space even harder for the player to pass the bat through without touching either object. The coach can even have a player start with a big red bat and then switch bats. This is getting the batter used to the different sized bats. Coaches can even hold out a plastic bat instead of the rope contraption. This drill will condition t‒ball players to swing at the ball on top of the tee without hitting the tee over with their swing, which is common in t‒ball. It is very important to put them in a position to succeed the first few turns so make sure there is more than ample space between the rope and the batting tee.
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Thursday, March 21, 2019

The T Ball Game, Laugh It Up!

From Marty Schupak's



“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”
                                                                            ‒‒ Mark Twain
   In the course of a t‒ball season, there will be more funny things that happen during your games and practices than in any other baseball league and most other sports leagues you will ever be in. When a funny event happens as long as it doesn’t get out of hand, let it breathe and let the kids and parents enjoy it. Most of the times it is the parents who will be laughing and the kids will have no idea what the parents are laughing at. 
  When my middle son played t‒ball, I remember one player named Eric. Eric was one of the best hitters on the team and one of the few who would hit the ball solidly on his first swing usually well past the infield. The only problem was after Eric hit the ball, he would run to third, then second, then first. We would always be screaming at him to come back and go the other way. About two or three games through the season, we figured out that Eric was the only lefty hitter on the team and he thought right handed batters run to the right and left handed batters run to the left. We all got a huge kick out of this and Eric learned that all players run to the right or first base. 
  Another time I was an assistant coach and it was a really hot day. Toward the end of the game, the kids kept asking the coach when they could have snacks. Finally the coach said that after Lori hits the ball of the tee, we will all have our snacks. Lori would be our last batter in the lineup. Now at this time, the assigned parent for the snacks was setting up under a tree with drinks and something else for the kids. So Lori got up and hit the ball off the batting tee, and like everyone was under orders from a general or President, the whole team ran over toward the tree where the parent was setting up the snacks without any regard for what was happening on the field. Even more funny were the two kids on base at the time who ran off directly to the tree not even going around the bases. Lori, who hit the ball then just turned around and ran to the snacks. It was one of those true moments where all you could do was just stop and laugh.
  Another year on my oldest son’s team, we had a player named Peter. Now for whatever reason, Peter wanted to be aggressive when our team was in the field. If Peter was playing third base and the ball was hit to right field, Peter would end up there. If Peter was playing in center field and there was a short infield pop up, Peter would call for it and sprint in trying to catch it. So you see, Peter was one of those kids who had a kind of “Type A” behavior and needed a cup of decaf. You will have an endless number of humorous stories by the time the season is over. Bring your camera, cell phones, grandparents, and take notes. These are experiences you will love to remember. 
  As parents, we can be very sensitive if other kids are better than our own. T‒Ball is not the place to get caught up in this with all the competition that will follow in the years to come. And parents must remember that kids develop at differently.  Just enjoy everything that is happening on the field. 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

T-Ball Tip: Baserunning Technique That Is A Home Run!

 
From Marty Schupak's












   Baserunning is one of the most challenging and fun times in t-ball. The challenging aspect is getting the kids to run the correct way from home to first to second to third and back to home again. The fun with baserunning is that you will see kids run every which way on the field and sometimes off the field away from the bases. Here is some advice. When your kids create a different way running the bases that you never taught, especially early in the season, go with it and have a good laugh. You will see things you never imagined. Just have fun with it before you begin to over coach raising your voice at 5 and 6 years old. Trust me that t-ball frustrations turn into good laughs as your kids get older. 
   Remember that many kids take your words literally on things you say. If you tell them that we are going to practice going from “home to second.” Then guess what, you may have some kids in the front of the line that will go  directly from home to second not going near first. You have to describe the running you will practice then demonstrate it.
  I had a player once who would hit the ball and run to third base instead of first in games. We realized quickly that Andrew, our only lefty hitter thought righties ran to first and lefties ran to third after they hit the ball.
   Here is a t-ball baserunning tip that works. I put into affect the American flag technique realizing that some young kids know the color of the flag better than where each base is. I got three drop down rubber bases and keeping one white I spray painted one red and one blue. I put the red one at first, the white at second and the blue at third. I instructed the players that the running direction you want to go is: red, white and blue, just like the American flag. This worked!
  When teaching base running, utilize assistant coaches and parents directing players on the base paths. Be patient and have fun with this skill!
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Sunday, March 17, 2019

From Marty Schupak's












When my first child was born, for better or for worse I could not wait to get a bat in his hands. Looking back I was a little overzealous. But like many dads in my generation I wanted to have a ball player in the family. The positive was I knew as over excited and as much as a Little League father I was my approach would be a combination of being somewhat low keyed and I knew the importance of putting my own children in a position to succeed. Here are some hitting drills or swinging drills I did with all my kids.

1)Bubble Hit
I’ve shown this in a couple of my videos. Any bat that fits in your kids hands. Preferably one of those thick red bats. You the parent will blow bubbles. Any size! The huge ones that weren’t available when I was is a kid are fine. As you blow or produce the bubbles you will need to backpedal as your son or daughter should hit them with the bat trying to break them. A game any kid will love and succeed in.

2) Noodle Kick Ball 
Grab two of those Noodles used in the pool or at the beach. Place two light (very light) big plastic balls on the ground. You begin to hit the ball with the Noodle trying to get to the other side of your backyard. You son or daughter will copy and follow you! Both parents should be involved in this drill.

3)  A Bathroom Plunger In A Batting Tee
Turn a new bathroom plunger upside down in a batting tee. Place a light plastic kick ball on the plunger and have your child hit the ball off the batting tee.

4) On Guard 
Using two Noodles you and your son and daughter will have a dual. Don’t laugh, the kids love this. More do with eye-hand contact than hitting. But try it!

5) Steal The Bacon With A Noodle 
A take off on the game of “Steal The Bacon.” Put a ball 10-15 feet in between you and your child. When you say “Go” both of you holding a Noodle will run toward the ball. The first one to hit it wins. If you want, the first person to hit the ball beyond a line wins.

6) Newspaper Punch Ball
As a kid I loved a game called ‘Punch Ball.” Played like baseball, a Spalding or tennis ball is held and thrown up and you hit the ball with the other hand made into a fist. For the young kids, roll up one or two pages of newspaper (Mom, a little print stains are ok once in a while). Throw it up and hit it out of the air with the fist. The person who hits it has to get to first base before they are tagged out with the newspaper ball.
There you go! Get off the couch! Get off the computer and put down the iPhone down and get outside and “Play Ball.”

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For the best baseball instructional videos FREE on Amazon Prime Video!
 Keyword: Schupak Sports
Watch every Marty Schupak baseball video free in your own home with your library through Hoopla! 
Keyword: Schupak Sports
Don't wait! Change the way you coach youth
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Friday, March 15, 2019

Marty Schupak's












I’ve seen natural born coaches who garner respect as soon as they get on the playing field or arena. I’ve seen other coaches who’s knees turn into jelly when they are put in front of 12 kids five and six years old. The good news is if you fall into the latter category you can work on being an excellent t-ball or youth sports coach. When I was at Arizona State University in the 1970’s going for my Master’s in Physical Education I was fortunate to have a few great educators that I consider to this day to be mentors. Professor’s Clint Richardson and Bob Pangrazi were phenomenal teachers. It was the little tidbits and suggestions they would throw in to motivate young people and getting them to do certain things. It was amazing how both college professors maintained that it didn’t matter if the school was in the roughest inner city or in a beautiful suburb, with a little tweaking, the same teaching techniques for young students would work as long as you were also consistent and disciplined.  Traveling the country do my baseball clinic, “T-Ball And Beyond” for youth coaches I always hear the same line:


                   “Well it is different in our community.”
  
  I have seen the same parental and player issues in Newton Massachusetts as well as South Central Los Angeles. I have seen some teaching techniques that work most of the time and some that don’t.  With that said let me share some of the teaching and coaching skills I have used over my coaching career. I am still learning! Here we go:



1) 10th Player award                                                                 
Until my league stopped me, I used to give out what I called the 10th player award. I would go out and buy an extra large trophy at the beginning of the season. I’d get my team together and even show it at the parents meets. The trophy would be for the player who shows the most enthusiasm and helps the coaches with the equipment. The trophy would have nothing to do with ability, batting average etc. This worked great! In fact one year my team was so cooperative, I bought each player (twelve in all) a trophy. I’m still paying it off 20 years later. 

2) I need a Volunteer I call this one "I need a Volunteer." If you want something done, ask for a volunteer. When a player steps forward, reward him with an extra swing at batting practice. Better then saying "If someone volunteers to help carry the equipment bag, they'll get an extra swing in batting practice." See the difference! The first case they do not know the reward. Eventually volunteers will be plentiful.                                                                                                        
3) T-Ball Kneel Down                                                                 
Simply put when you are addressing your t-ball team, try kneeling down so your are at eye level with your team. The team will focus more on what you are saying.

4) Face The Sun                                                                       
When you addressing your team, always  make sure you are the one facing the sun and not the team.

5) Short Pep Talks                                                                     
Keep your pep talks short and to the point. Speak in a vernacular your team understands best and with t-ballers, assume the players know nothing about baseball.

6) T-Ball “Pep Run.”                                                                   
When you are practicing with your team and you get one of those times when it seems everything is out of control, the kids are talking, throwing or kicking dirt etc. then it is time to have a “Pep Run” led by the coaches to the outfield fence. When you get back, do another one right away. Then have a short water break. This will calm your team down a bit and they’ll be ready to go afterwards. 

7) The Whiner                                                                            
You want to do a drill or a skill and one player comes to you and tells you they can’t do the drill because “my stomach hurts.” Go right to a popular drill and when the player says his stomach is better, tell him the team rule if you sit out one drill you have to sit out the next one also. This works.

8) Mini Batting Practice                                                          
I’ve gone over this before. Once in a while start practice with the team’s most popular drill. This will make sure players get to practice on time. But don’t be too predictable with this.     
9) Have Alternate Drills                                                             
Plan your practices ahead of time but make sure you have one or two alternate drills in case some drills are not working.

10) Be Flexible                                                                           
Probably the best advice I give parents and t-ball coaches at my clinic is to be flexible. Always look at ways to improve. Some of the best drills I have is when a player says “Hey coach Schupak why don’t we do the drill this way.”


There you go.  Some small tips that may help your coaching career. You will learn over the course of a season what is working and what isn’t. Try to document everything on a computer. This is a little bit of work but if you are a “lifer” these notes will be invaluable.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

T-Ball Tip: Basic Throwing

From Marty Schupak's












When teaching throwing, coaches and parents must realize that there are different stages between the ages 3 and 8. A t‒ball player’s skill level will vary. When teaching throwing, it is imperative that throwing is the only skill being worked on and not catching. A very important aspect of throwing is called the “rule of opposition” when the player steps with the opposite foot of his throwing arm. If the player throws with his right arm, he should step with his left foot forward.
A phrase that is often used is “Step, turn, and throw.” Coaches and parents should look for that elbow to lead the arm and the bending of the arm at the elbow and a kind of wrist snap upon release of the baseball. Coaches and parents are encouraged to use different items so players will become familiar with how objects with different weights will vary.
A tip is to first have the player face the ball away from the body then turn the wrist to face where the throw is going. Another tip is for kids that have a tendency to throw side arm. Move them close to a fence and throwing from that spot will force them to come over the top.

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Newspaper Ball Catch!


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 From Marty Schupak's

Newspaper Ball Catch
Here is a great beginner catching drill that is non‒threatening to players who may have a fear of getting hurt. Roll up a few newspapers, and do it right in front of your players. They will laugh and get a kick out of this. The coach will have a catch with the newspaper ball with his players. 
Because the newspaper is light it comes down slower than a baseball. Players will have a great shot at being successful in this drill. This is one of those progression drills when introducing the skills of catching early on to your child. Remember, kids of all ages love to use props in drills. The players can help the coach roll up the newspapers.
A variation is to use the rolled up newspapers to hit with a plastic bat. The key the coach should emphasize is to just make contact with the newspaper, not concerned with where or how far it goes. The players should also help the coach pick up the newspaper in‒between rounds. This is another example of taking a common household item and creating a drill with it. The rolled up newspaper is very safe, either catching it or hitting it.
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 Keyword: Schupak Sports
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Don't wait! Change the way you coach youth
baseball & softball with Marty Schupak's videos!