Looking for youth baseball practice ideas?
Today, I’m going to introduce you to 19 baseball drills to include in your training routine. The majority of them are more general-purpose baseball drills for kids, though I will also feature drills for batters.
My list is just going to scratch the surface of the wealth of drills that kids could incorporate into their routines, but it should help you get started.
12 Baseball Drills For Young Players
1. The Two Ball Game Drill
The two ball game can significantly improve hand-eye coordination, balance, and throwing accuracy.
This drill has relatively complex rules, but it is super-fun. You also may adapt the rules outlined below to your liking.
For this drill, you’ll again need two baseballs. The game begins like so:
- Have the players form a circle, with players standing 3 feet apart.
- A player should hold a ball in each hand. They should throw the balls underhanded to two different people in the circle. When there are more than four players left in the game, the thrower should NOT throw to a player next to them.
- The receiving players should throw the balls to other players.
- The throws carry on until someone fails to catch the ball.
When a catcher misses the ball, an out is called against the thrower or against the catcher, depending on the circumstances. Each player is allowed to get three outs.
Throwers receive an out when:
- The receiving player catches both balls in one hand, without using their body for the catch.
- They throw the ball to a player next to them (when there are more than four players left).
- They make a bad, uncatchable throw. For fairness, you could have the team vote whether the throw was uncatchable – the majority of votes wins.
Catchers receive an out when they drop one or both of the balls thrown to them.
When a player receives an out, they serve next. Once a player gets three outs, they leave the circle.
When four players remain in the circle, the serving becomes different. Two players across each other get a ball each, and they throw it to a player without a ball at the same time.
When three players remain, serving is the same as with more than 4 players.
When two people remain, the player with the fewest outs serves first. If the players have an equal number of outs, the winner of a best-out-of-three rock-paper-scissors (with no shoot) serves first.
The players stand 3-5 feet apart. The serving player throws both balls with one hand for the other to catch.
If the throw is uncatchable, the thrower gets an out, and the catcher becomes the thrower. Play continues until one of the players reaches their limit of 3 outs. The remaining player wins the game.
2. The Four Corner Drill
The four corner drill improves conditioning and receiving skills, as well as teaches base running and throwing progressions. You’ll need two baseballs for the drill.
- Divide players into two teams. One team is lined up at the home plate, and the other at the second base.
- Give the first player in each team a baseball.
- Have the players with baseballs run three bases so that the player starting on the home plate ends up on the third base, and the player starting at the second base ends at the first base.
- Once the players reach the target base, they should stop, set their feet, and throw the ball to the next player in their team. Players who finish should leave for a sitting area designated before the drill starts.
- The next player should catch the ball and, just like the previous kid, run three bases.
- If the player doesn’t catch the ball, they must retrieve it, touch their starting base, and only then run three bases.
The team whose all members reach the designated sitting area first wins.
3. The Relay Drill
The relay drill primarily teaches coordination and team communication.
- Divide players into two teams. Place the teams on two lines, with players at an equal distance from each other.
- Give one baseball to the players at the end of each line.
- The players with the balls should turn their backs to their line.
- At your mark, the players with the baseballs should turn around and toss the ball to the next player in line.
- Players should continue passing the ball down the line.
- Whichever team gets the ball to the other end of its line first wins.
4. The Hit And Get Drill
The hit and get drill works all fundamentals of baseball.
- Divide players into two teams. Place a defensive player in each position except for the catcher. The coach will be the one pitching.
- Once the ball is in play, have the batters run as many bases as they can. They’ll get one point for their team per base.
- While the batter runs the bases, defense should be fielding the ball by throwing it consecutively to every fielder and back to the pitcher. Fielders should stay in their positions while receiving throws and should only move to catch the batted ball or when performing offline throws.
Note that when overthrows happen, the last thrower should repeat the throw.
5. The Work-Up Drill
The work-up drill makes players more versatile by allowing them to play in different roles. It could also help coaches figure out the best position for each young player.
- Place players in the infield and outfield with their gloves.
- Bring a player forward to bat.
- The coach should pitch, with the team following standard baseball rules.
- When a batter or base runner gets an out, they should head into the field and be replaced by the next player.
- Rotate players from right field to center field and to left field. Then rotate from third base to shortstop, second base, first base, and back at the bat.
- Clear the bases and start a new inning after each third out.
6. The Lean, Look, And Stutter Drill
This drill primarily helps kids improve their speed out of the box.
- Gather your players at the home plate.
- One by one, have the players run through the first base while performing the “lean, look, and stutter” (LLS) technique. The player should:
- Lean forward at first base.
- Look to the right to check the location of the ball.
- After running through the first base, perform stuttering steps to slow down and come to rest at the foul line, positioning themselves to steal the second base. The player should be making smooth turns while running through the first base.
7. The Aggressive Turn Shuffle Drill
- Line up your players at the home plate.
- Instruct the players that to perform this drill correctly, the kids should imagine that they’ve hit a ball into the outfield.
- Have the players sprint through the first base one by one. Players should be keeping their eyes on the outfield.
- The players should get off the baseline upon approaching the first base. This way, they’ll hit the inside corner of the base when rounding it.
- The players should round the base with an aggressive turn and then shuffle back.
8. The Coach, Base, Coach Drill
When running first to the third base, inexperienced runners may often lose track of the ball. The “coach, base, coach” drill teaches the runner to keep an eye on their third base coach to know if they should keep running.
As the runner runs to the second base, they should hit the inside corner of the bag with their foot so that they get propelled toward the third base. While running, the runner should keep their eyes trained on the third-base coach.
9. The Timed Base Run Drill
In this drill, you’ll have your players run through the bases, with the goal to run home to home in a minimal amount of time. Use a stopwatch to time each player’s attempt.
An obvious benefit of this drill is conditioning – with practice, kids will improve their strength and endurance and will be able to cover the distance faster.
Furthermore, as players get better and better, they will realize that speed on the field isn’t only about physical strength. Efficient use of the bases and one’s own body are important as well. With that in mind, players should emphasize:
- Turning just before each base to preserve momentum.
- Hitting the inside corners of the bases to maintain speed and explode toward the next base.
- Running properly.
10. The Down Angle Drill
- Divide your players into three teams and line them up at the first, second, and third bases.
- A coach should position themselves on the mound with baseballs.
- The coach should throw different pitches – players should assess the balls’ direction and either 1) run toward the next base or 2) stop on their lead foot and return to their base.
Note that runners at the third base won’t be able to go on as many balls as players on other bases. Third-base players should thus work more on their ball assessment skills.
Also, when first- and second-base players can go, but the third-base player cannot, you should have the third-base player sprint back to the third base and then run to the first. This will allow you to ensure an even number of players at each base.
11. The Infield Circus Drill
- Position the players in their defensive positions.
- Have four coaches hit ground balls (grounders). The coaches should pitch at a specific position at the same time.
- The players’ goal is to get the ground ball thrown to them by the coach.
The nice thing about the infield circus drill is that it helps children maintain their focus when there’s a lot of distraction around them. And of course, this drill also improves grounder catching skills.
12. The First Baseman Pick Drill
- Position infielders in all positions. Additionally, have other players at the first base to take turns catching the ball from the infielders.
- Have the coach throw ground balls around the infield.
- The infielders should field the ball and pitch it to the first base.
- As your players become better, the infielders should start throwing more difficult balls so as to force the player at the first base to adjust their foot position to catch the ball.
7 Youth Baseball Drills For Batters
1. The Stop, Stance, And Swing Drill
This drill is aimed to help kids improve their batting skills. Among other things, you’ll have the players work on their stance, swing, and coordination. The name of the drill – “stop, stance, and swing” – reminds players of the three key steps of batting.
Here’s how to perform this drill:
- Have the players gear up for batting.
- Set up a batting tee below waist level. A batting tee, if you didn’t know, allows the hitter to practice batting without a pitcher.
- As the players practice batting, keep an eye on the following:
- The players should maintain a good stance and check their foot position after each swing.
- The players should stride before the swing.
- The players should not pause right before or as they contact the ball. They should learn to follow the swing “through” the ball while maintaining a solid grip of the bat.
- The players should keep their eyes on the ball as they swing.
2. The Fence Drill
The purpose of the fence drill is to teach batters to control their swing trajectory and avoid unintended looping swings.
Long swings can increase bat speed, but they can also make the batter miss fastballs or off-speed pitches. Therefore, in children, a looping swing is an issue that needs to be fixed.
- Place your batters about one foot away from the backstop.
- The batters should visualize the pitcher throwing a baseball.
- The batters should swing their bat. If they hit the fence, their swing is looping.
- To fix a looping swing, the batter should imagine that the knob of their bat is heading toward the ball and that their top hand palm is heading toward the pitcher. The batter should also avoid excessive head and body movement and should only stride once.
3. The Itchy Jones Drill
For the standard Itchy Jones drill, you’ll need four players, three numbered signs, and a baseball. You may change the number of players if you want.
- Place one player at the home plate to act as the batter. The other three players should be positioned in the field, with the middle player standing in front of the batter and the two remaining players 10 feet away on each side.
- Each player should stand next to a numbered sign.
- The coach should call out a number, and the batter should throw the ball to the player with the corresponding number.
4. The Short Bat Drill
This is another drill that teaches the batter to keep their swing fast and short. More specifically, the short bat drill teaches the player to keep their front arm low.
Here’s how this drill is performed:
- Stand beside a batting tee with a baseball on top of it. Optionally, there should also be a catching net in front of the batter.
- Get into batting stance, holding the bat with your lead arm. Put your other hand against your chest.
- Swing one-handed, aiming to hit the ball into the net. The main focus should be on keeping the front elbow low and in, and the bat head should be going down in the plane of the ball.
5. Heavy Bat Snaps
Heavy bat spans build strength in the hitter’s wrists and forearms. The beauty of this drill is in its simplicity – you only need your bat.
Here’s how heavy bat snaps work:
- Hold the bat out in front of you.
- Bending your wrists, bring the bat barrel toward the top of your head. The movement should be sharp, but don’t hit yourself!
- Bring the bat back toward the starting position.
- Do 10 reps.
6. Plane The Ball Drill
The “plane the ball” drill is another good drill for “loopy” hitters who tend to swing upwards.
To perform this drill, you’ll need a pitching machine and/or a training buddy. And here’s how to do the drill:
- Assume your batting stance.
- You or your training buddy should load a baseball into the pitching machine. The machine should be set up to launch the ball toward the home plate. If you don’t have a pitching machine, your training partner could pitch the ball instead.
- Take a short, quick, downward swing to meet the ball on the same plane. You should aim to minimize fouls or pop-ups.
7. Contact Point Hitting Drill
Finally, the contact point hitting drill aims to help batters improve pitch awareness and bat control.
The steps for this drill are as follows:
- Stand at the home plate with your bat. Your goal is to swing at 9 aiming zones:
- High inside.
- High middle.
- High outside.
- Middle in.
- Middle middle.
- Middle away.
- Low in.
- Low middle.
- Low away.
- Go through each aiming zone, swinging and stopping at the contact point.
- Go through the zones again, but swing through the contact points this time.
Keep your elbows in. The bat should stay behind your hands (in other words, you need to have bat lag), while the head should track the ball all the way through.
There are many more drills in baseball to try out, but these should allow young players to polish the fundamentals.
Make sure to include as many drills as you can in your routine – this will make you a more versatile player. Practice your drills often as well – repetition is your friend in baseball.