Backyard Tip 1
Shuffling to Get in Proper Position to Field a Ground Ball (no glove necessary)
Object – The object of this drill is to teach your Little Leaguer® to improve their lateral movement in order to be in the correct position to field a ground ball. It’s important to instruct your Little Leaguer to shuffle, not cross, their feet to get in position. Your child should not field the ground ball. Instead, they should be in position to allow the ball to travel directly through their legs.
Click Here to download Backyard Tip #1 PDF.
Backyard Tip 2
Enjoy Some Bonding During the Major League Baseball Postseason
You and Your Little Leaguer® Will Learn Something, Too
Your Little Leaguer® doesn’t always need to be on the field in order to improve at baseball or softball. In October, fall ball is all but done, the days are shorter and the weather cooler, but Major League Baseball’s postseason reminds us there is still plenty of excitement on the diamond. So, grab a snack, and sit down with your Little Leaguer to enjoy some baseball bonding. Be sure, however, that the experience isn’t only for entertainment. Watching a MLB playoff game is an opportunity to learn more about the sport, gain some tips, better understand the importance of teamwork, and then using all of that knowledge next year on the field.
Whether your Little Leaguer plays baseball or softball, there is a lot to learn from the skills of Major Leaguers both in the field and at bat. You don’t need to be a baseball or softball expert to enjoy talking about aspects of the game with your Little Leaguer. Here are some age-appropriate topics to discuss during the game:
Minor League Age Topics
- Once a pitcher is removed from the game after a good performance, talk to your Little Leaguer about how his teammates congratulated him at the dugout steps.
- After an error, talk with your Little Leaguer about how important it is to support a teammate after a flub, as well as the importance of not quitting, and learning from the error.
- If a player argues with an umpire, make it a teaching moment, and explain why that is not allowed in Little League.
- Before the game starts, talk to your Little Leaguer about the benefits of watching the action on the field even when they are not in the game.
Major League and Beyond Topics
- During a replay, talk to your Little Leaguer about how the MLB player kept his glove down during a ground ball.
- Discuss how a player “ran through” first base as opposed to stopping at the bag.
- Explain the importance and safety of sliding feet first when going into a base.
- During a slow motion replay, talk about how the batter kept his eyes on the ball until contact.
- If there’s a debatable call, discuss the outcome along with the commentators, and why the call on the field was right or wrong.
- Discuss how a pitcher approaches a batter the next time after getting a hit.
- Make a note how many times in a row the pitcher throws to the correct spot and hits the catcher’s glove.
- Talk strategy – Bunt to sacrifice? Hit and run or not?
- Notice the alignment of the infield and outfield defense and how it changes depending on the batter, the count, and the number of outs.
- Explain the importance of knowing the defensive situation (number of outs and runners on base) so your Little Leaguer can recognize what plays/options are available to get an out.