Catching and throwing are obviously the two most important basic skills ball players need to learn. Even if the player only manages to be marginally average at both, it’s imperative that coaches and parents practice these skills consistently with children.
When kids develop incorrect throwing habits at a young age, it’s hard to reverse the course and change their abilities for the better. Below we’ll look at some basic throwing tips that will be used to develop arm strength and control. To prevent fatigue from setting in from repetitive throwing drills, it’s advised that coaches and parents use lightweight balls (tennis balls and softballs for example).
All coaches have their own methods to teach kids how to throw. Usually they base their drills for tee ball players off of drills they did themselves as kids. Either way, here are a few basic drills you can consider the next time you hit the practice fields.
The best way to grip the ball is across the seams. Keeping the ball out on the fingertips and not the palm of the hand allows for control and firm grip. Correct grip is important in order to maintain maximum air time as the ball is thrown. Children often struggle to keep the ball at their fingertips, but it’s still an important concept for them to understand as they progress.
If you give a youngster a ball and tell them to show you how they throw, you’ll find it common that most of them fail to flick their wrist when throwing the ball. Their wrists are stiff and stone like. As a coach, you need to spot this on the practice field if it somehow slipped under the radar of the parents.
The most common wrist flick drill involves giving the player a ball and teaching them to aim their throwing elbow at the direction they desire to throw, extending the arm out and flicking the wrist upon release. Combining this tactic with the correct seam grip on the ball and your players will be on the right track. Inexperienced children should develop proper arm position and finger push through this method.
As successes increase, the coach should increase the challenge level by adding a greater distance between catcher and the thrower.
The motion the arm makes when throwing is circular. The longer the throw, the bigger the circle. Like a catapult, this circular motion aids the child’s throw by providing more natural momentum. The circle motion with the throwing arm should begin when pulling the ball from the glove. It’s important to make sure kids have their hand on top of the ball as it’s pulled back for throwing.
The front shoulder should point in the direction of where the ball is intended to be thrown. This is a skill that will be honed as the player ages, but the point is for them to learn how to throw with their body sideways after catching the ball with their chest facing the ball.
When they have their front shoulder facing the target, make sure their lower body lined is up in the same manner. The back foot should be perpendicular to the target and their hips should be closed and also pointing in the direction of the target.
Once you have everything lined up, you’ll want to step toward the target with your lead foot, push off the back leg, and throw the ball using your entire body.
Depending on the talent and skill level of the player, there’s no way of knowing if every player on the tee ball team will progress equally. The player that wants to learn the most will practice on their own time. Parents help make the coach’s job easier if they take time to teach their child the correct tossing methods. The kids aren’t likely to master their throwing in tee ball due to their size and lack of physical strength, but the pieces are put in place for the mental understanding of basic baseball concepts at this early stage.
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