Start Baseball Right
The Alternative Tee Ball Experience
Coach Baseball Right created Start Baseball Right: The Alternative Tee Ball Game to help parent-coaches make their kids' introductory experience with baseball more fun and engaging. The problem is that to most people who don’t know baseball well, all they see is a bunch of standing around and it can appear slow at times.
The truth is an incredible amount of thinking and even more exciting plays that can happen! To develop this level of an appreciation, love and understanding of the game of baseball takes a lifetime. Unfortunately, baseball faces a new challenge. Getting kids to stick around for these great moments. The key to this success is to start kids off with a great and fun experience!
Never before has life offered kids so many other alternatives to do things.
I had lunch with a mom of a 7 year old that told me, “my son loves to play baseball, when its his turn…when he’s not up to bat he’s bored out of his mind and playing in the dirt not paying any attention to what’s going on.” Our friend John O'Sullivan at Changing the Game Project writes about "Why Kids Quit Sports? on his blog here.
If you were a kid in today’s world, what would you rather do, play the newest and greatest video game in air conditioning or go to the ballpark on a 90 degree day and be uncomfortable and bored standing around waiting for ‘your turn’ as the baseball coach hits one ground ball at a time to the entire team. That’s great for the player that’s fielding the ball, but for every other kid they are just standing around not doing anything…being bored and thinking about how they would rather be playing video games or doing something else.
We have to give our kids a better first experience with the game.
Otherwise, they will get bored and move on to something else before they give the game a chance. So its our mission to give parents and coaches the ability to have fun, fast paced practice that leave kids excited to get to the next practice. This gives us the best chance at keeping kids playing baseball, and taking the love of the game to new heights.
Your entire organization should rethink this game and reimagine it so that kids are actively involved and the game is more fast paced. To help, we do have some good news! At Coach Baseball Right, we have the solution.
A New Way to Introduce 4 to 6 year olds to Baseball! It's Not Tee Ball
Start Baseball Right: The Alternative Tee Ball Game is a 60-minute experience that teaches fundamentals, allow players to play a quick paced scrimmage where they learn to hustle and start to think a play ahead. It will also teach different parts of the game by breaking the game up to “snippets” and allow them to compete and learn at the same time.
Kids will have a blast! No doubt they will want to continue to play baseball the next time! So your organizations and leagues will see kids coming back again and again.
We suggest to replace both practices and games with Start Baseball Right because as you will see in the structure below it merges both practice and games together. We recommend 8 week sessions, if your "tee ball season" is longer than that, then have multiple sessions. Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Total 8 to 10 players on a team
- Each coach would make sure that he has at least 2 helpers (i.e. older siblings of the players, parent helpers, league helpers).
- A team should host 1 Start Baseball Right! slot of 60 minutes per week.
- 8 weeks would make a session.
- Outdoor or Indoor
- The field would be the same size as the infield for a softball game.
- Bases would be 45 feet apart.
- Cones would be placed in the outfield to mark the imaginary walls of our field. To start, place the cones just outside the infield dirt in the outfield.
- The balls that should be used would be the balls that can be squeezed (i.e. “Incrediballs”, “mush” balls). If the players get hit with these types of balls, it will not hurt.
- Extras: Have an announcer for kids coming up to bat!
The coaches/helpers should have some basic knowledge of the following practice structure three 20 minute "snippets of the game": Drills, Quick Scrimmage, and Fun Games.
Start Baseball Right! Practice Structure
Part 1: First 20 minutes – Fundamental Drills
Introduce these youth baseball drills to kids and keep them moving! Quick pace! The objective is not on mastery at this point.
Start Baseball Drills videos can be found here or you can follow the outline below.
- Base Running Drills (Yes, we suggest teaching base running. Kids really think this is fun and cool to do)
- The Lead Off
- Back to Bag
- Lead After Part 1
- Lead After Part 2
- Base Running – Put a Pitcher Out There
- Stealing a Base
- Stealing a Base_4 Step and React
- Run Throughs Part 1
- Run Throughs Part 2
- Run Throughs Part 3
- Run Throughs Part 4
- Throwing and Receiving Drills
- Throwing No Ball
- Throwing with Ball
- Throwing with each other
- Throwing Long Toss
- Receiving Ball no glove
- Receiving Ball with glove
- Receiving Catch and Cover
- Infield Drills
- Ready Crossover
- Ready, Approach, Triangle
- The Infielder Approach
- Approach to Triangle
- Soft Hands
- Charge ball using cones
- Throwing from SS back hand
- Throwing from 3B
- Circle Drill
- How first baseman stands on first base
- First Base Drill, without a ball
- First Base Drill, add a ball
- Outfield Drills
- OF Drop, Cross, Run
- OF Drop, Cross, Run
- Drop & Cross with ball
- Drop, Cross, with fungo
- One Knee Tough Ground Balls
- Charging the Ball and Breaking Down, no ball and ball
- Circle up Fly Balls
- Hitting Drills
- Hinge & Dip
- Hitting Stance
- Counter Rotate/li>
- The Approach
- Work Individually
- Team Base Running Drills
- 1st to 3rd
- 1st to 3rd Part 2
- 1st to 3rd Part 3
- Pitcher Fielding Practice (PFP) Drills
- PFP Cover First Base no ball
- PFP Cover First Base with Ball
- PFP Cover First Base Delayed Ball
- PFP RH Pitcher fielding bunt
- PFP LH Pitcher fielding bunt 1B line
- PFP Run ball over
Part 2: Second 20 minutes – Scrimmage
Engage them. Keep them moving! Quick pace! Have them hustle wherever they go. No walking. Be talking with each player about what happens. The objective is not on mastery at this point.
- 8-10 people assigned to coach
- Field is size of softball field infield
- Bases are 45 feet apart
- 4-5 fielders vs. 4-5 hitters (if 10 the 5th fielder is with pitcher/coach)
- Every offensive player bats every inning plus the next 2. So bat 6 guys per inning
- Coach Pitch and coach catch - 1 knee and throw on a line underhanded, overhand to a more advanced hitter and back about 8 feet
- Hitter runs on 3rd strike and coach catcher will roll ball to fielder to simulate that player got a hit.
- Count outs. Do not count runs! Force defensive players to think a play ahead hustle in and hustle out
- 3 outs and switch - If pace is slow in recording outs, change to 1 or 2 outs per inning.
Part 3: Third 20 minutes – Fun Games for Baseball Practice
Put common, small parts of the game into competition that is fun. Get kids excited by having them cheer or embellishing calls. This is your last chance to get them to smile, laugh, and learn so they come back wanting more.
Explanatory Fun Games for Baseball Practice videos can be found here or you can follow the outline below.
Ground Ball Charge Game
- 4 runners at plate, 4 fielders at 2b
- Coach at plate and coach at 1b
- Roll ball to fielder, fielder charges ball and throws to coach for the out — fielders get point
- If runners are safe- runners get point
- Switch after all players run
Pitcher Cover 1b Game
- 4 players on mound, 4 players at plate
- Coach at 1b, coach at plate
- Coach at plate rolls ball to coach/1b and our pitchers cover 1b
- If they get an out the pitchers get a point, if not, the runners get a point
Base Hit to Left Game
- 4 runners at 2b and 4 fielders in left field
- Coach/catcher at plate and coach cut man at 3b
- Coach at plate rolls ball to left fielder and runners start running from 2nd to 3rd and will attempt to score
- Fielders will charge ball and throw thru cut/coach and he will throw to plate and have a bang-bang play point awarded to running team if they score or fielding team if runner is thrown out at plate
- Set up a goal with cones
- Each player will take turns trying to keep the ball from crossing the line
- Coach will hit a fungo that will challenge the fielder
- If ball goes between cones coach gets point
- If ball does not go between cones, players get point first one to 8 wins (coach vs the 4 fielders)
“PIG” Fly Ball Numbers Game
- Put players in circle with coach in middle
- Each player is given a number
- Coach throws a fly ball up in air and calls number
- Player must catch ball above forehead
- If player touches ball he gets 1 point
- If player catches ball he gets 2 points
- First player to 8 wins
1st to 3rd Base Running
- Coach in right field and coach at 3b
- Coach coaching in 3b box
- As player runs from 1st to 3rd the right field coach throws ball so there is a bang-bang play at 3b
- If coach at 3b stops the runner the runner rounding 2b, the runner must get back to 2b and find ball