Tee Ball Fundamentals and DrillsUpdatedWednesday March 18, 2020 byJeff Cassens.
Baseball relies on 4 fundamental skills: Running, Fielding, Throwing, and Hitting. In Tee Ball we focus on each of these fundamentals skills separately with fun drills and activities. As players advance through the program skills will be combined in different drills as baseball rules and strategies are introduced.
As we await the start of the season, here are some resources for Tee Ball Players that want to get started.
Fielding is a particularly challenging for this age group. If you think about it, as a fielder a ball is coming at us so our natural tendency is to get out of harms way. Building a trust in the players ability to put the glove on the ball is a key outcome to focus on. Using a softer ball such as a tennis ball removes the fear of getting hurt as a player builds their confidence. Whether fielding a ground ball or pop-up, the key is to move to get in front of the ball, position both hands to receive it while maintaining an athletic posture, and then covering the ball with the non-gloved hand to secure the catch while preparing to transition to the throw.
Approach + Ground Balls: https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/tee-ball-fielding-tee-ball/
Pop-Ups and Fly Ball (Using a Tennis Ball or Wiffle Ball helps): https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/tee-ball-catching-ball/
Practicing the proper grip early helps players to develop accuracy, and as their capabilities mature to naturally transition to the proper grip without thinking about it. The keys are to turn such that a line through the shoulders will be towards the target, look at the spot on the target we want to deliver the ball to, stride with the "glove side" foot toward the target, release the ball with an elbow at or above the shoulder, and follow-through.
The Grip: https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/tee-ball-throwing-grips/
This age group loves to hit. If you don't have a tee, softly toss the ball to the player. I recommend that adults throw underhand or from a kneeling posture so players eyes are at the right level as they progress to Coach Pitch. To prepare to hit, the player should "measure up" such that the barrell or sweet spot of the bat covers the strike zone, the grip should be relaxed so as to release the wrists, and the bat points to the sky with their hands in front of the back shoulder. From there, swing and hit!
Additional Information For Parent and Coaches
Little League has assembled a curriculum and Tee Ball Program that is a great starting point for our coaches. It can be accessed online. It includes drills and weekly practice plans.
Tee Ball Curriculum: https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/little-league-tee-ball-program/
Tee Ball Program: https://www.littleleague.org/university/articles/the-complete-little-league-tee-ball-program/