If you’re a baseball enthusiast who has recently taken up baseball coaching, you must be wondering what exactly you are supposed to do with the players on the first day of baseball practice. From bonding with the teammates and establishing a friendly environment to practicing and performing drills to preparing for a proper game, there are a lot of activities that you can put the players through on the first day of baseball practice.
So, what do you do on the first day of baseball practice? The first day of baseball practice is all about getting to know your players, running through some basic drills, and beginning to understand where all of your players will end up playing. The first day of baseball practice should be a light and fun day for players.
To walk you through everything in this article, we’re going to talk about what to do on the first coaching day of baseball practice. We’re also going to discuss getting started with baseball coaching and choosing player roles and how you can perform different drills with the players to warm them up before the baseball season starts.
So, sit back, relax, and read this article till the end.
Getting Started with Baseball Coaching
Baseball is one of the most popular sports and it is watched professionally by millions of viewers all around the world. It is a sport filled with skill, precision, technique, and fast-paced action.
Whether you’re a batter or a pitcher, you must bring your A-game in order to truly dominate the opposition and win the game. If you’ve lived through the wonders of the game and want to spend your energy teaching others, you must be thinking about how to get started with baseball coaching.
Getting started with baseball coaching can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be too complicated. All you need is to put all of your experience in the minds of the players you’re coaching, but at a slow and steady pace.
You can choose to start coaching for your school or college or you could go to the nearby youth baseball league and coach the neighborhood kids. Even though there are some different rules between the leagues, the same set standard rules of baseball apply to all baseball leagues so don’t stress too much about the rules of the league you’d like to coach.
As is the case with most skills, the skills you develop as a baseball coach will get better with time and effort. Each time you coach you’ll get better and more professional when it comes to coaching baseball. For some people, the initial experiences of baseball coaching might be the starting block to turning baseball coaching into a viable career.
Understand Why Your Players Chose Baseball as a Sport
A key competent to coaching is getting inside the minds of your players. This means understanding why your players are choosing baseball over other sports. The more you understand why your players have chosen baseball the more you can tailor baseball practices to appeal to players.
Baseball is a Fun Experience
Baseball is an extremely fun and exciting game. Everything from the pitcher throwing the ball to the batter swinging for the fences and to the fielders running around to get as many runs as possible. Due to the quick bursts of fast-paced action, the entire game is just an adrenaline booster and is a top reason that players enjoy the sport.
Some Players Want to Play Professionally
Baseball is a sport with an incredibly large following around the world, including the players who are on your team.
With major and minor leagues taking place all over the world throughout the year, there are many amazing professional opportunities for good baseball players to earn a lot of money and be set for the rest of their lives. So, some of your players may enjoy the game of baseball so much that they would love to turn baseball into their career.
Baseball Allows Players to Stay Fit and Sharp
Baseball is a game of agility, fitness, and quick and instantaneous decisions, which is why it’s considered a highly mental game.
The pitchers are strategizing with their catchers to pitch the ball in the correct spot and to get the right amount of curve on the pitch. On the other hand, batters need to anticipate and understand where the ball is going to end up so they can decide whether or not to swing.
Some would argue that these critical thinking skills will help players learn to deal with daily problems more effectively.
Coaches Decide Their Players’ Positions and Batting Order
Before we get into the first game of the season, we need coaches to choose a playing position and set the initial batting lineup for their players.
Coaches will be making a lot of decisions during the season and a lot of those decisions will revolve around what the batting order will be and what positions their players are playing. Let’s talk about each of them individually.
Coaches Decide the Batting Order of the Team
If one of your players is a hard hitter, has good hand-eye coordination, and is someone who knows where to hit the ball to get the perfect base hit, then chances are you want this player higher up in the batting order.
Batters are responsible for scoring runs by putting the ball into play, getting on base, and running across home plate for a run. The stronger and harder a player can hit, the better the chances are that they will get on base and score a run.
The need for stronger and harder hits is why batters in the major league are usually built really well – because they use their strength and power to force the ball out of the park whenever they hit the ball correctly.
So if you choose to make a player a batter, you’ll have to coach that player with timing the pitch perfectly and with recognizing different pitch movements in order to make contact.
Coaches Select Pitchers for the Team
If you see a good arm and someone who’s great at throwing a ball, you can improve on that skill by making them a full-time pitcher. If you notice a player is good at throwing and gets winded easily, then that player might be better off as a relief pitcher.
Remember, pitchers will be the asset that your team is going to use to get strikes. The pitcher is responsible for throwing the pitches towards the catcher in an attempt to make the hitter miss the ball or make the hitters hit into an easy out. The quicker a pitcher can help their team get three outs, the quicker their team is up to bat.
There are different kinds of ball grips, throwing styles, and pitch types that you can choose to teach from, so if you choose to make a player a pitcher, make sure you familiarize them with each of the pitches they are most comfortable with using.
Pitchers will need to have the correct speed on the pitch and they’ll need to throw the ball within the strike zone in order to avoid bad pitches.
Coaches Decide on Fielding Positions for the Team
Fielding is an important aspect for any baseball coach. The better your team is at fielding, the fewer runs you will give up. So it is important to learn about which players are best at the different fielding positions and then coach up those players to be the best fielders they can be.
Coaches tend to focus a lot of time on fielding because it is the core part of the game. Everything from the mechanics of fielding a ground ball or fly ball, to throwing the ball, to the dozens of situations that players can find themselves in – fielding is a crucial aspect of the game for your players to understand.
So devote some time to finding out what roles your players are comfortable playing and then hone-in on improving their skills at that position.
What Do you Do on the First Day of Baseball Coaching?
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics of baseball coaching and you know what role you’ll be playing in the lives of your players, it is time to test out your skills as a baseball coach.
As a baseball coach, you’ll be scheduling regular practice throughout the season, but how do you coach your first day of baseball practice? Let’s dive into some of the things you’re going to experience on the first day of baseball practice.
Getting to Know Your Players
The first thing you’ll want to do is get to know all of your players.
No matter whether you’ve known some of your players from the season before or they’re complete strangers, after the first day of baseball practice you’ll be playing together for a long time to come so it’s important to know who all of your players are.
Take the first day to introduce yourself to all your players. Let your players introduce themselves to you, bond with them, joke around with them, and create a comfortable and fun environment. You’ll want to build trust with your players from the beginning because you’ll need that trust later in the season when your team is having a tough game.
The key to successful teams in baseball is the unity and amazing teamwork that players are able to achieve. This teamwork comes from compatibility and that compatibility comes from bonding with each other.
If you end up being a difficult coach and don’t communicate with all of your players, you’ll find it difficult to work with them when the game is on the line. So, make sure the first day of baseball practice is productive when it comes to creating friendships and building bonds.
Choosing a Team Leader
Depending on the type of team you’d like to run, you may be thinking about choosing a team leader. A team leader is not a necessity for every team, but it could be beneficial if one of your players is very knowledgeable about baseball and is a great communicator with their teammates.
The leader of the team can be the chain that holds the team together. From providing insight to giving instructions and dealing with the offensive and defensive decisions, the team leader would be responsible for every team decision that takes place.
The team leader is usually chosen by the coach and the mutual agreement of the team members. If you see the leadership qualities of a captain in a player and you think they’ll be able to lead your baseball team to glory, you can pick your liking and get the agreement of the other players.
Understanding Your Role as a Coach
Whether we talk about baseball or any other sport, the coach should have respect from their team. The coach is going to be responsible for selecting the right players and assigning them the roles that each player will be capable of performing to their fullest potential.
Every coach has a different way of coaching their team. Some players might think that their coach is very strict or very uptight, but in reality, they only want what is best for the team. Coaches will earn respect from their players when those players achieve victory due to the decisions coaches make – during both games and practices.
That is why you need to create a solid bond with your team on the first day of baseball practice. This bond will motivate players to seek your advice to polish their skills so you can make them a better player.
Practice Baseball Drills for Upcoming Games
After the introductions, the practice drills are going to start. To ensure complete mental and physical fitness for upcoming games, you’re going to put the players through a series of multiple exercises and practice drills that will increase their baseball skills.
Different coaches use different drills to get their players ready for the games and you can choose your own. However, the drills below are a few examples of drills that you can use for your first day of baseball practice.
Practice Drills for Batters
When it comes to practice drills for batters, the main focus is on timing the pitch, placing the barrel of the bat on the ball, and judging the pitch correctly. Here are some of the practice hitting drills that you might put the batters through on the first day of baseball practice.
Top-Hand Batting Drill for Strength and Hitting Speed
The top-hand drill uses only the top hand of the batter. The batter grips the ball and uses the bat to strike the ball as hard as they can. This drill is used to increase strength and hitting speed, which truly defines the skills and abilities of a hitter in any situation.
This drill is typically done as a soft-toss drill, with the coach off to the side of the batter and underhanding the ball into the strike zone.
Eyes Closed Batting Drill for Reaction Time
This is one of the best reaction drills for hitters. The entire drill is based on verbal communication and quick-time response.
The hitter will close their eyes and the ball will be thrown underhand, towards the strike zone at different angles. Only at the very last moment, the coach will provide some kind of instruction (for example, call “high” or “low” pitch), so the hitter can open their eyes and hit the ball wherever it is located.
Step-In Hitting Drill for Good Swing Mechanics
This drill is meant to counteract the stepping-out problem that many amateur hitters have when they start playing and can be performed with a tee or with soft-toss.
The drill begins with the batter standing one step behind the plate. Then the batter moves towards the plate with the back foot and then the front foot.
This is a very helpful drill and can be started from the very first day of practice. See the quick video below for a great example of the step-in hitting drill.
Practice Drills for Baseball Pitchers
Drills that are used on the first day of baseball practice are generally generic drills, but you can still teach your players new throwing styles and techniques by using different pitch-focused drills.
These drills will help develop new skills in the pitchers of the team, especially those who are new to pitching. Let’s take a look at some of the drills for pitchers that we can use on the first day of baseball practice.
Balancing Drill for Baseball Pitchers
The most common drill that coaches usually start with is the balancing drill. Appropriately named, the balancing drill is meant to improve the balance of the pitcher as they wind up and deliver the pitch.
While in the middle of their throwing motion, pitchers will temporarily pause by holding their glove-side leg up for 10 seconds and then unwind to deliver the pitch. This process is repeated in order to improve the balance of the pitcher.
Speed Drill for Baseball Pitchers
In this drill, pitchers are going to use multiple baseballs and throw them with the proper wind up and release. This drill is all about how fast pitchers can throw so pitchers want to make sure they’re throwing each pitch at the highest speed they can.
Since this is the first day of baseball practice, keep the pitch count to a minimum in order to avoid injuries. Later in the season we can increase the pitch count when the pitcher’s arms have more stamina. Over time, this speed drill will increase throwing speed and help develop arm muscles to ensure better and more consistent throws.
The first day of baseball practice could be a very fun and exciting experience if you’re looking for an adventure. Meeting new people, learning new things, and starting an amazing baseball journey is everything a baseball enthusiast dreams of.
By introducing yourself to your new team, getting to know your players, and following the practice drills perfectly, you can succeed gracefully on the first day of practice.