Many people have said that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in sports. I’m pretty sure these people never taught throwing in t-ball. Teaching the correct way of throwing can be one of the more frustrating things to do as coaches and parents. Some kids get it naturally, but others need to be coached. Throwing is a skill that whole books can be written on alone. Young kids improvement will vary as kids develop differently. In fact, over the course of a four to five month t-ball season, if you have a keen eye you will see some incredible development by some of the players on your team. Some kids will get the throwing motion quicker than others. The one thing I want to stress and will be repeating it throughout this book is when teaching t-ball or baseball to young players, especially at the beginning of the season, make sure you separate skills. If you are teaching throwing the ball, don’t teach catching the ball in the same drill. If you are teaching catching don’t teach throwing. Separating skills for young kids is extremely important.Once the season moves forward, you as the coach or parent can determine when to combine the skills. You should to do it at some point. Another hint when teaching throwing: spreading the kids out is another important thing you can do. If you have use of a full or half a field, utilize as much space as you can.
The motion of throwing the ball can be somewhat complicated for kids. Keep in mind that some kids will learn it quicker than others. One thing you will notice is the players who have older brothers or sisters who are good baseball or softball players will be the kids that will usually pick up throwing the ball quicker than his or her teammates.You will see that the initial attempts for kids when throwing the ball is an amazing adventure. Make sure you use soft covered balls or even sponge balls to begin with. Many in your local league will frown upon using sponge balls, but safety is the main concern, and I promise t-ball players throwing with sponge balls or bean bags for a week will not affect their MLB free agent baseball contract status in twenty years. When young t-ballers do start to throw, pay attention to the movement of their heads. One of the best indicators of balls flying all over the place are the players who do not keep their heads and eyes focused on the target. Another common mistake by t-ball players is to throw the ball from their ear, not bringing their arm all the way back. This has been called short arming the ball. Many young t-ball players are under the assumption that throwing is 100% arm and have to be taught to use their legs.
When teaching throwing to young players, coaches and parents should stress a few things:
1. Bring the arm all the way back behind the head rather starting to throw the ball from the ear.
2. Use the whole body, including the legs and arms and stepping with the opposite foot of the throwing hand.
3. Players should be taught to hold the ball on top with their
fingers. This is not as important when they are of t-ball age,
but will become more important as they get older.
I like to incorporate pitching drills for young players learning how to throw. Even using the pitcher’s mound can beneficial for players. Give parents some handouts on throwing. It can be helpful. It should also be explained to parents how players develop at different paces and try not to compare how their child throws to “Billie” next door.
One of the more interesting things I have noticed over the years when trying to develop a skill set for a young athlete is that if you correct one mistake, this will somehow take care of other mistakes automatically. If you are a first year t-ball coach or parent please do not be intimidated into not making basic corrections. There is a lot of common sense involved and I am a great believer of the theory that many times kids are over coached and under taught. Keep it simple! If you are one who is really devoted and wants to do something extra for your league consider having a short basic written journal or manifesto that has the basic fundamentals of throwing a baseball. Recommend to your board to keep this journal on file as a baseline for coaches and parents when it comes to teaching throwing. You may not ever get credit for doing this but it is a great thing to do. Some of the throwing drills I start with are so basic you will think they are ridiculous. If you think they are, just skip them. The book in total has 110 drills so I am giving coaches and parents a choice to cherry pick which ones they want to use. If you are on the bubble about doing a drill, try it! If some on your team are too advanced then separate them.
"T-Ball Drills is without a doubt the most content filled drill book I have ever seen"
-Bobby Woods, Former Pro Player & Coach
-Bobby Woods, Former Pro Player & Coach
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