“Mom, can we go play some baseball together?” This question was posed to me recently by my six year-old daughter. My initial response was, well, no because two people do not make a team and it’s hard to play ball with just two people. But that’s not necessarily true. If you both have gloves, you can play catch. If you have gloves and a bat you can practice hitting. So it’s doable – but unfortunately for my daughter, I’m terrible at throwing. But what the heck, let’s give it a shot anyway. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking to organize some kids for some little league or shortie-pie baseball or whatever they call it in your area, here are some ideas.
Tips for Kids (and Parents!)
First things first, don’t assume that kids have any idea what they are doing. Some parents probably don’t know. There’s a big difference between watching the game on television and coaching kids to play it.
First and foremost, teach the kids about what a baseball diamond is. Show them where 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base and home are. Remind them about this repeatedly. I don’t know how many games I’ve seen where 2nd base stole 1st base because the kid didn’t know.
Also, another good tip, be sure to teach the kids how to run. Running should seem natural, but there are a lot of kids who have no idea how to run from point A to point B and this can be hard on them. So teach them to sprint from a stop to a stop.
One great way to get kids going is to set them up on the baseball diamond and use red light/green light as a way to get them moving. Anyone not on a base at a red light is out. Be sure to make it fun, it doesn’t matter if they win the game or they lose the game, it’s how they play that matters.
Too many parents get caught up in the winning mentality and forget that sports aren’t about winning – they’re about the game!
Baseballs are hard. They should never be thrown to hit someone, yet in baseball, we’re throwing that ball right at another person who’s going to whack it with a bat. You want to teach the kids how to throw it. You also want to teach them how to catch it. Practices should always include lots of throwing and catching. You may want to start with a target for them to throw it at first (instead of another kid or you) because until they get the motion down, you don’t really want to get hurt.
We hung a couple of baskets on our fence so our daughter could learn to throw underhand at them. We’re working on her wind up right now and my husband can attest to the idea that it’s not wise to get in front of that ball.
Until kids master the previous step, you want to be the one throwing for batting practice. You have a better chance of catching the ball when it comes flying back at you. Also, teach the batter to extend the bat around in a circle to make sure no one is next to them BEFORE they swing.
Bloody noses are never fun.
Finally, remember to have fun with the game. My daughter isn’t very good at sports. It’s not her fault; I was never very good at them. But if we focus on the fun that can be had, even the poor players are going to give it their best and hopefully they will get more out of it and that’s what kid fitness should be about.
What do you think?
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