Baseball: Fundamentals Skills for Young Players
... let's not forget that.
Square up to the ball- Get their shoulders square to the incoming ball from the first day of practice.
Fingers up/Fingers down- balls below the waist should be caught with the fingers facing down,
while balls above; fingers up.
Two handed catch- Teach them to follow the ball into the glove with their throwing hand right from
Crossover step- Are you coaching baseball, not softball? Then have them run like a baseball
player. Teach the crossover step not a sprinters take off that is used in softball but often seen on
the baseball diamond if leads off are not allowed. If your player is on first, facing the batter, on
contact their first step should be with the left foot crossing over the right. On a fly ball, teach shuffle,
shuffle, cross-over to go and cross-over to come back.
This is just a short list of fundamentals that all kids should be introduce to from the start. Do you
have others you would like to add? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Baseball is all about technique, execution and precision and it starts with fundamentals. Some of the
fundamentals will be too hard for young players to master but there are many that they can achieve and
should be introduced from the beginning. A perfect example of this would be how to hold a bat
correctly. Can you think of anything more fundamental? Most coaches however never teach this. Maybe
it gets over looked because it seems so simple. Check your kids, you’ll be surprised at how many are
doing it fundamentally incorrect. Below are some baseball fundamentals that can taught from the
beginning to any age player.
Ball contact- Are you a t-ball coach? Please put the tee in the
proper place. Too many tees are manufactured with a home plate
attached to the base to help them stand upright. And too often the
young player steps up to the plate and the ball is right inline with the
batters bell button. If you use a tee like this, spray paint a strip right
inline with the tee and have your player place their front foot across
from that line when setting up at the tee. This will have them
making contact with the ball at the proper place in the swing and
avoid all sorts of other problems.
Hand position on contact- Holding the bat correctly will help with
this but it is a good thing to show the kids from the start as it is not
intuitive for many of them. Assuming we have a right-handed batter,
on contact with the ball, the left hand should have the palm facing
down and the right hand should be facing up; not palms pointing to
catcher and pitcher.
Stance- Jump on your skateboard is all you have to
say and most kids these days knows what that stance
looks and feels like.
Ball position- The ball needs to be held in the proper
position in the back before the forward motion can
begin. To get the ball in the proper position, have the
child hold it down by their body so their thumb is to
their thigh and then with a full extend arm take it back
with the knuckles to the sky. Starting knuckles to the
sky will create the right forward motion. Try it. Teach
yourself to throw with your opposite hand and feel the
difference in your motion when you start knuckles to
the sky versus knuckles facing down.
Gripping the ball- The size of a child’s hand may effect their ability to do this, but it is still important
that the player knows what the fundamentally correct way is to hold a ball. The thumb goes under the
ball (inline with the first finger), the first 2 fingers on top and the last 2 fingers and curled and on the
side of the ball. Most important is that the ball is not sitting back deep in the palm, but is being held in
the fingers. Smaller hands may need to use 3 or maybe all fingers on top, but still try to keep the ball
of the palm.
Gripping the bat- The bat should be held in the fingers (like a golf grip) versus back deep in the palms.
Have the player pick up the bat and “chop” with it like they are chopping wood. When the bat is gripped
correctly the knuckles on your hand that you knock with (not the ones you punch with), should be lined
up from one hand to the other.
Batting stance- The feet should be slightly more than shoulder width apart with the front foot set slightly
pigeon-toed in order to make sure the front knee points to the plate not to the first base.