Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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Instructional Guidelines



Instructional is played by 5 and 6 year olds.  For most, it is their first time picking up a baseball and first time participating in a team sport.  As we all know this can pose some “challenges” but at the same time be extremely fun and rewarding.

We know each child is different and some are more “coachable” than others but as part of the Instructional Division we want each coach to keep these set of goals in mind during the course of the season.  Because we have these players at such a young age we have the advantage of being able to have an influence on them being that they won’t have any “bad habits” yet.  We are not enforcing these rules as an strict requirement as we know each coach has different styles.  They are meant as a guideline. Even though everyone loves to bat, it is more important at this age to learn solid fundamentals of the defensive game.  Fielding, catching and throwing are what we want to stress – believe me, the hitting will come.  We divided the goals into 3 categories:

1.    Specific Baseball Skills

2.    General Athletic Skills

3.  Soft "Team / Social" Skills

Specific Baseball Skills

  • How to properly grip a baseball
  • How to throw to a target
  • How to put on and use a glove
  • How to get in front of and field a ground ball
  • How to protect themselves from a fly ball / line drive (“thumb to thumb / pinky to pinky”)
  • How to properly close their glove and use 2 hands
  • How to properly run the bases and know what each base is called
  • How to make a banana turn
  • How to listen to a base coach
  • Where most of the defensive positions on the diamond are
  • How to hold a bat the proper way
  • How to position their feet at home plate
  • How to properly swing (from a tee and eventually from live pitching)
  • How to “drop” the bat and not throw it when running to first base


General Athletic Skills

  • How to “warm-up” their bodies with some stretches / active dynamics.  Even though these little guys don’t need much stretching and warm-ups it is good to get them in the habit of a warm-up before playing any sport.
  • How to get in a good athletic position – “ready position” in baseball terms.
  • How to properly run – form running
  • How to shuffle their feet side-to-side


Soft “Team / Social” Skills

  • How to properly wear a uniform – shirt tucked in, hat on straight.
  • How to be part of a team – what it means to have a specific role and responsibility
  • How to be a good teammate
  • How to be a good sport
  • How to listen to and respect authority (coaches and then eventually umpires and other officials)
  • How to respect and care for sports equipment
  • How to be patient when it is not their turn both on the field and up at bat
  • How and why they should give 100% effort
  • How it is okay and normal to “fail or make a mistake” at something.  That is how they learn.  It is okay to do something wrong or miss the ball but that they can take that and learn from it.


Two Most Important Rules:

1.    No one talks when a Coach is talking – everyone is listening and looking at Coach.  They should respect you similar to a teacher.

2.    No one picks up a bat until told to do so by a Coach


This all sounds good on paper until your first practice when you have 10 out of control kids spinning in circles with gloves on their heads.  Just take a deep breath and relax – remember to enjoy these times and have fun with the kids.  When in doubt – give them a water break and re-group.  If you are having fun, they will have fun.  The ultimate goal of the Instructional program is for the kids to have fun and enjoy the game.  We want them to become passionate about the game of baseball so they are excited and enthusiastic to come back every week and that they want to play next year.


Sample Practice Schedule

This is meant to be a guideline.  Please adjust as you see fit during the course of the season.  Keep in mind that we are stressing defense so we don’t want to see a team just hit for 90 minutes. Basic philosophy – minimize down / wait time.  Get them constantly moving with many reps / stations.  Water break, water breaks, water breaks….can’t give them enough of them especially when it is hot.



12:30 – 12:35

Active warm-up / stretching

12:35 – 12:40

Proper grip of the ball

12:40 – 12:55

Grounders (alligator) – also incorporate proper throwing technique back to coach.  As the season progresses, incorporate pop-ups / line drives.

12:55 – 1:00

Water Break

1:00 – 1:15

Base Running – make them call out the base number each time they hit the base.  Work on banana turns.  Always use a base coach at first.

1:15 – 1:25

Open – use this time to work on whatever you like.  Your kids might need extra work on pop-ups or grounders.  One week you might want to do some more base running.  You can also have a little competition – see who can throw the ball into the bucket – kids love competition.

1:25 – 1:30

Water Break

1:30 – 2:00

Hitting / simulated game.  Try to work on group hitting first before you put everyone in the field.  Remember, minimize down time. 


Starting at approximately week 7 we will have “games” against each other.  We will still go through our drills and then leave approximately 1 hour for the game.  We will discuss more as the time gets closer.


All updates & cancellations will be posted on the Shrub Oak web site.  Please notify your parents that they should check the site regularly-




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