Practical Practice Tips
Marty Schupak Though he received a Bachelor's degree from Boston University in 1975, and in 1978 received a Masters degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University. he first got involved in youth sports by coaching both of his sons' youth baseball teams.
In addition to coaching baseball he has coached children in basketball and soccer. In the past 14 years Coach Marty has managed or coached over 1,200 kids in youth athletics.
Marty takes a proactive approach to coaching youth sports by observing as many practices as he can on the youth level all the way up to high school kids. He is an active member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and the New York Alliance For Youth Sports. He is of course also the well-known producer of the best selling baseball video 'The 59 Minute Baseball Practice' and is president of the Youth Sports Club. We thank Marty for granting us for permission to reprint a collection of his essays from the Youth Sports Club. (Click to close.)
Two brief essays that can help your practices happen as they should...
Getting Kids to Practice on Time
As the season starts, we want to get off to a good start with our team and what is expected of them. Of course, youth baseball is unlike a school team sport and you cannot force a player to practice or even force them to be on time. However, there are certain things you can do as a coach to ensure your
team develops good habits.
My own personal pet peeve was having the players arrive late for practices. My practices usually run no longer than one hour and if a player is fifteen minutes late, he misses a full quarter of a practice. I have tried a number different tactics.
The first one is, I give each player a number as they arrive at practice and they keep that number throughout the practice. Whoever arrives first is number one and when it comes to batting practice he or she goes first. The players remember this and after a couple of practices, you will notice the difference with players arriving early to get a good number.
Another technique I use is to start practice with a mini batting practice even before warm ups. After you do
this a few times, you'll notice the players arriving early and telling you that they go first. Do not do this technique every practice but every once in a while. Practices, especially early in the season, will set the tone for a successful and fun season.The kids take notice when the coach arrives early and organized. Use these two techniques to get your players to arrive on time.
How to Practice when No Field is Available
How many times do we as coaches call for a practice, meet the team at the field, only to find one team practicing and two other teams waiting to practice. When I first started coaching, this dilemma always seemed to happen to me. I would feel sought of helpless and once even took everyone to another field with my two coaches only to find the same situation there.
I made up my mind to be prepared and plan two practices. One for a field and one without a field. The biggest difference is, having a few soft covered balls available and some planned drills for a hard service.
When there is no field available our practices are usually in a parking lot.There are certain things you can and cannot do. Obviously no sliding.
Regular batting practice with even soft covered balls is difficult in a parking lot.You can set up some great bunting competition games. We would divide the team in half, set up two cones and each team goes through the batting order and sees how many can bunt between the cones.
The main idea is to be creative. You can have a lot of different base-running drills and throwing drills. Some of my best practices have taken place in parking lots and backyards. Don't call off practice just because someone is using the field. Come repared and have a few extra props.
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George Navadel says:
Jan 23, 2009 at 11:38 AM
Good article… I have run into the problem a number of times myself – coming prepared and being able to adapt is part of the lesson we teach for success on the field. I always carry the following to practice in my team bag:
• A set of throw down rubber bases
• Two “Hitting Disks” I bought at the ABC baseball camps
• A bag of whiffle balls
• A dozen baseballs
• Several bats
• Velocity Socks (for the NPA towel Drill for pitchers)
• Fold-up pitching target/net
• Catchers mitt with a Glove Radar
• Several orange safety cones (in my car)
Using my bag of goodies and a little creativity, the players are able to work all the core skills they need to hone. So, with the field or without it, practice goes off without a hitch…players learn, stay active, and enjoy the practice.