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Welcome to the Coach's Corner!

The WYBA is very thankful for our volunteers, especially our coaches!  We're all set for the 2024 Spring Season, but if you're interested in coaching with us in any capacity in the future, or simply want to learn more - please see the link below for all the great benefits & further information on coaching in the WYBA!

And for the parents & players out there - take a look below as well, there are great resources for everyone involved!

PRACTICE PLAN

 A practice plan is a written plan that outlines your practice; reminding you what you want to do and when you want to do it. You may be the type of coach that can organize a practice off the top of your head and accomplish what you want in the desired time. For the other 99.8% of us a practice plan is a critical part of a successful practice. It may be written out on a napkin or your work stationary, it really doesn't matter as long as it gives you enough detail to allow you to move through your practice in a structured and organized manner.

Visit this link to learn more on creating a good practice plan for your team!  -  LINK


PARENT MEETING

The very first practice of every season should start off with a Parent Meeting. We recommend you let the parents know about your coaching philosophy and plans for the season, and find out if there are any concerns. This is the single most important step you can take to avoid parent problems during the season.  Make sure to include the following information:  Welcome and introduction of yourself, team rules, playing time/playing position philosophy, practice schedule & important dates, division rules.


BASEBALL GLOSSARY, TERMS, & MORE RESOURCES!

Here's a great link for everyone who loves the game of baseball - CLICK HERE for a baseball glossary & terms list, as well as plenty more links for all things baseball!  Shoutout to Jordan for passing this along to us!


DRILLS

See below for great drills you can use to work through with your team!

PITCHING

Skill Elements League Points of Emphasis Links to Drills
Grip (s) Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Proper pitching starts with the right grip on the baseball. Alderwood Little Leaguer recommends the following: Ages 9 and younger - four seam fast ball; Age 10 two and four seam fast ball; ages 11-12, two seam and four seam fastball and changeup. Pitching Grips Demonstrated Click Here
Stance Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's The stretch position is recommended for teaching you pitchers just starting out. The player should start with their back foot against and parallel with the rubber. Feet should be approximately shoulder width apart with most of your weight toward the back leg. Hands should be together in the center of the body. Stretch Explained Click Here
Mechanics Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's 3 steps – starting from the stretch (1) balance: glove side knee up with top of leg parallel to ground, lower leg at right angle; (2) stride: move to the “T” stance. Throwing hand comes down out of the glove, circle arm back, with ball facing 2nd base. Glove arm points towards home plate and is “pulled back” to side as throwing arm comes forward. Glove side foot slides towards home plate (toes land pointing forward). Stride at least as long as the height of the players body; (3) Follow through with the throwing hand Pitching Drills Click Here
Pitch count Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Little League imposes a pitch count limit on a pitcher, varied by League Age. Please see the Little League rule book for details. Managers are expected to develop 5-7 pitchers/team to provide sufficient pitching depth for the team and allow compliance with pitch count rules over the season.
Pitcher Cover Home/passed balls Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Devise a simple plan of communication between the pitcher and catcher, wherein the pitcher lets the catcher know where the ball is as she approaches home plate for a tag play on the advancing runner. Communication Drill Click Here
Location/Pitching strategy Majors - Jr's - Sr's Keep these elements in mind when a player is on the mound. (1) Get ahead of the hitters. (2) Change speeds often, but don't fall into a pattern. (3) Vary pitch location. (4) Pitch inside with your fastball. This is a difficult pitch for most hitters to handle. (5) Throw your fastball with different grips. Pitching Accuracy/Strategy Drill Click Here
Off-speed Majors - Jr's - Sr's WYBA recommends pitchers throw only a change up as an off speed pitch for ages 12 and below. Keep the following in mind when considering use of an off speed pitch (1) vary location to keep the hitter guessing. This will be just as effective as a change of speed for most little league hitters (2) stick with the fast ball at the bottom of the batting order. Players bat 7-8-9 for a reason, don't give them an advantage by throwing a slower pitch and speeding up their bat. Developing a Pitching Strategy / When to throw the off-speed pitch Click Here
Taking a sign Jr's - Sr's The pitcher should take the sign before becoming set and ready to start their motion. How to receive a sign / types of signs Click Here

THROWING

Skill Elements League Points of Emphasis Links to Drills
Grip the ball All 2 or 3 finger grip depending on hand size Click Here
"T" stance All Glove side of the body faces the target (feet, hips and shoulder perpendicular to target line); glove arm elbow is bent and pointed at the target (use this arm as a “gun sight” to help the player stay perpendicular); throwing arm is extended back in the opposite direct of the target in a slightly expanded “L” with the elbow shoulder high with hand positioned so that the fingers are on top of the ball and the thumb on the bottom. Click Here
Step to Target All Eyes on the target; glove side foot strides toward the target, as the throwing arm comes forward, pivoting on the back foot. The throwing elbow comes up to shoulder height with the arm in an L shape, ball now facing the target with the wrist cocked, chest now facing the target with the glove side elbow still tucked. The ball is released out in front of the head, when the nose is over the toes. Click Here
Follow-through All Eyes on the target; the throwing arm comes down across the body, snap the wrist as the ball is released, the hand coming below the knee, glove arm stays tucked, back leg swinging forward and landing about even or slightly in front of the front leg, eyes still on the target. At the end of the motion, the back of the throwing shoulder faces the target. Click Here
Receiving a Relay Throw Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Emphasize players moving their feet to the baseball, not reaching. Players should raise both hands and yell "hit me" so the outfielder can listen for the direction to throw the ball. Emphasize catching the ball on their glove side by moving their feet to get in position - DO NOT REACH FOR THE BALL. Catch the ball with two hands Turing to the glove side as they make the catch. This will result in a quicker catch and throw. Click Here
Long Toss Majors - Jr's - Sr's Emphasizes building arm strength. Have players warm up their arms at normal distance and every 5-10 throws increase their distance five yards Click Here
Run Downs Major's - Jr's - Sr's The person with the ball runs directly toward the runner with the ball held high in the bare hand. There is no pump-faking. The receiver should present a target outside of the runners baseline. The player receiving the throw calls for the ball when the runner is at full speed. The throw is a quick toss or flip, much like throwing a dart. After the throw is made, the player making the throw gets out of the baseline and runs around to the end of the next line. A perfect rundown consists of only one throw. Click Here
Underhand Throws Major's - Jr's - Sr's Player with the ball starts by running toward the player he intends to toss to. Player tosses the ball by making a quick, but hard underhand toss to the player (push the ball DO NOT flip the wrist). The goal is to have the ball hit the target between the center of the chest and the eyes and the follow through should consist of the tosses hand being extended high toward the target (around eye height). The player tossing the ball should follow his toss by holding his hand out at eye height toward his target and running toward his target. Click Here

BASE RUNNING

Skill Elements League Points of Emphasis Links to Drills
Which way is first base? All Run hard from base to base. Emphasize touching each base. Stress staying in the baseline and avoiding running into fielders. Click Here
Run through 1st base All The concept that you must teach is that first base is simply a checkpoint over which the runner passes. In no circumstance should a batter ever simply stop on first base. They should always be charging at full speed, ready to make the turn to second if the ball is in a gap, or simply run down the line otherwise. Click Here
Stance - One foot on base/One foot off Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Baseball Stance-Left foot resting against the outside edge of base (not on top), right foot away from base, feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, hands off knees.
Sliding Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's With the player standing have him stand on one leg and bend the other leg at the knee, bringing it behind the other leg. Have the player raise both hands over his head. Have the player start to squat, while he keeps his bent leg up, then sit down. The player will naturally roll back on his back and his feet will come up in the air. Although this won't happen when he slides, it will during this stage. When he has rolled back to a seated position, he should still have their hands up and his front leg should be bent not straight Click Here
Hit the inside corner of the base Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Players have to learn the correct line to take as they ago around the bases to give themselves an opportunity to get that extra base by limiting the time and distance you are running. You do this by hitting the inside corner of every base. Click Here
Stealing Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's With the player standing have him stand on one leg and bend the other leg at the knee, bringing it behind the other leg. Have the player raise both hands over his head. Have the player start to squat, while he keeps his bent leg up, then sit down. The player will naturally roll back on his back and his feet will come up in the air. Although this won't happen when he slides, it will during this stage. When he has rolled back to a seated position, he should still have their hands up and his front leg should be bent not straight Click Here
Rounding 1st Base on base hit Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's The player needs to find the right place to begin your turn. Angle the running path out 5 to 7 feet from the baseline when making the turn at first (the turn should be shaped like a banana). Hit first on the infield corner then push towards second. This enables the runner to steer in a more straight manner towards second base at full speed. Click Here
Pick up the base coach Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's The batter should be in communication with the first base coach from the second they leave the batter box. The first-base coach will help the hitter find the baseball and guide him to first base. The base coach should also help the runner find balls hit and pinpoint (1) ground balls that have gone through the infield, prompting the hitter to round the bag, and (2) ground balls on which a play will be made, so that the hitter can run through the base and properly "break down." The runner should look and listen for verbal and physical signs such as “turn and look” or “run through the bag”. Once a runner reaches first base safely, it's essential that the runner pickup the third basecoach once before touching second base and once immediately after touching second base. Click Here
Little League lead off Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's As the pitcher begins to release his pitch, the runner should switch attention from the pitcher to home plate and prepare to lead off. After the pitch reaches the plate, the runner should ruffle their feet toward second base 2 times.
Alertness on the bases. Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's When a runner arrives at a base, the player needs to work with their base coach to help them concentrate on the task of base running. The base coach should quickly recap the game situation aloud-- the inning, score, number of outs, who else is on base and where, and bring the pertinent points to the forefront of the runner's mind. The base runner should also be made aware of a checklist of the runner's possible responses to the very next play. Click Here
1st to 3rd Majors - Jr's - Sr's It's essential that the runner pick up the third base coach once beforetouching secondbase and once immediately after touching second base. Click Here
Dive back to base Jr's - Sr's As the pitcher begins to release his pitch, the runner should switch attention from the pitcher to home plate and prepare to lead off. After the pitch reaches the plate, the runner should ruffle their feet toward second base 2 times. If a pick-off is initiated the runner should take a step and then dive back to the back side of first base reaching for the base with their right hand and head turned towards the outfield and away from the throw. The base coach will let the runner know when it is safe to stand up on the base. Click Here

FIELDING

Skill Elements League Points of Emphasis Links to Drills
Two hands All Always emphasize that two hands MUST be used to catch a fly ball or ground ball. Fundamentals Click Here - More Fundamentals Click Here
Fingers Up/Fingers Down All Glove fingers pointed up for ball above the waste, glove fingers pointed down for ball below the waist.
Positioning in front of the ball All Get in position in front of the ball. If the ball is close enough, move the feet without crossing them to get into position. Once in front of a ground ball, head up, knees bent, rear end down. The player must move the body so that the belly button is squarely in front of the arriving ground ball. Cross Fire Drill Click Here - Side to Side Drill Click Here
Fly balls All Emphasize follow the ball with and move so that your body is directly under the ball as it begins to descend. The glove should be raised directly below the fly ball. Keep the glove slightly in front of your face and a little higher than the head. Fingers “Thumb to Thumb” Outfield Fundamentals Click Here
Ground balls All The glove must be on the ground. Emphasize that the player catches the ball with two hands ' for a ground ball "PINKIE TO PINKIE". AND from the ground up. Team Ground Ball Drill Click Here
Infield/Outfield positions Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's There are four types of positions: pitcher, catcher, infield and outfield. In the infield, there is a first baseman, second baseman, third baseman and shortstop. In the outfield, there is a left fielder, right fielder and center fielder. Follow this link for a list of drills applicable to each infield/outfield position Click Here
Who covers what base Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's A team may be very talented, but if they can't play team defense they will be exploited by a good offense. Player's must know their role and the objective of each play. Since each play called relies on more than one player for proper execution, timing is essential. As a coach you want your team prepared for every situation. Situational Baseball Click Here
Force vs. Tag Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Two runners of the batting team can not occupy a base at the same time. This means that if there is a runner on 1st base and the current batter hits a fair ball, the runner on first must advance to at least second base. This is known as a force out situation. If a runner is already at 2nd base with 1st base empty and the ball is hit, the 2nd base runner trying to reach 3rd may only be tagged out by actually tagging with the ball (as opposed to simply tagging base). This last case is a tag out situation. To summarize, if a runner is forced to advance, a force out is possible. If a runner is not forced to advance, they must be tagged out. Situational Baseball Click Here
"Ready position" Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's The body should be in a balanced athletic position, feet slightly wider that the shoulders with the weight on the balls of the feet, with the knees and waist slightly bent with the head up, arms down and palms out. Ready Position Demonstrated & Drill Click Here
Backhand Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Position glove with the thumb facing down, fingers pointing outward, glove open toward ball. Forehand: Position glove with the thumb facing up, fingers pointing outward, glove open toward ball. Backhand Drill Click Here
Backup Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Emphasize that every player on the field has a responsibility on every pitched ball. If not fielding a hit ball, or catching a thrown ball, every player should be covering a base or backing up a base. Emphasize TEAMWORK! Various Situations Demonstrated Click Here
Lead runner/Situation Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Emphasize that the objective should be to retire the lead runner with less than 2 outs. Set up situations to work on getting the lead runner out. Situational Baseball Click Here
Cross-over/crow hop Majors - Jr's - Sr's To gain momentum for an accurate throw. Upon catching a fly ball/ground ball, the throwing foot crosses behind the glove side foot before striding with the glove side foot. Cross Over Description Drill Click Here
Outfield footwork Majors - Jr's - Sr's First step back on all fly balls. On all ground balls, fly balls, the player wants to be moving towards the infield as they catch the ball and into the cross-over step. Footwork Drill Click Here - Outfield Drills: Click Here

HITTING

Skill Elements League Points of Emphasis Links to Drills
Gripping the bat All With young players show them to put hands together, near the bat knob. As they get older, players should align hands with the middle knuckles lining up. Hitting Drip Demonstrated Click Here
Stance All Stand with front even with foot corner of plate. Feet shoulder width apart, and hands even with back shoulder. Determine distance from the plate by placing the tip of the bat on the outside edge of the plate. Fundamentals of the Batting Stance Click Here
Swing All Eyes focused on the ball, swing level through the ball; hands come through first, follow through. Eyes stay on the tee where the ball was to emphasize keeping the head on the ball and not spinning the head with the swing. General Swing Click Here
Focus on the ball All Eyes focused on the ball. Eyes stay focused at the point of contact to emphasize keeping the head on the ball and not spinning the head with the swing Advanced Tee Drill Click Here
Stride All A small stride toward the pitcher with the front foot at the ball approaches the plate. The stride is for timing the pitch reaching the plate. Emphasize the front foot moves only and should be planted before the rest of the swing rotations. Stride Click Here
Hip rotation Instructional - Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Rotate, or turn on the ball. After the hands come through, the bat continues over the front shoulder, the back foot pivots in place “turning the hips”. Very important not to pick up the back foot. By pivoting the back foot, the hips will turn creating power. Hip Rotation Drill Click Here
Watch the ball leave pitchers hand Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Concentrate on the pitcher. Watch the ball leave the pitchers hand to contact with the bat. Eye on the Ball Click Here
Strike Zone judgement Minors - Majors - Jr's - Sr's Know the strike zone. Bottom of knees to shoulders and one ball on either side of the plate. Strike Zone Drill (Advanced ages 10 and up) Click Here
Know the count/situation Majors - Jr's - Sr's Know your pitch count. With two strikes, choke up on the bat and foul off any pitch that is close. Simulate Pitch Count Click Here
Bunting Majors - Jr's - Sr's As the pitcher picks up their leg “square to bunt” (twist feet so toes are pointed towards the mound, left hand on the handle, bat resting on the right hand (thumb and index finger) on the barrel. Bat at an angle and extended across and in front of home plate. Let the ball hit the bat. Team Bunting Drill (AAA and Majors Only) Click Here
Situational bunting Majors - Jr's - Sr's Emphasize the psychological part of the hitting game. When is a good time to bunt? Less than 2 outs? Third baseman/first baseman playing behind the base? Slow catcher? Bunting Execution Drill Click Here
Pitch location & speed Jr's - Sr's Babe Ruth pitchers are the top shelf of WYBA hurlers. They will typically not throw two pitches to the same location (intentionally) two times in a row. They know how to change speeds. Emphasize the mental aspect of hitting. Know your count. With two strikes will the pitcher throw down the middle or out of the zone? Fastball or change/curve? Outside or inside? Pitch Location Drill Click Here

HITTING ADVICE

Hitting a baseball seems complicated when you're trying to do too many things.  All the guys on the team can hit, but I've noticed many of the boys have a couple things in common that can be fixed easily.  

1.  Set up in the box:  

a.  Back Foot:  A lot of guys get lazy with their back foot.  It should never point towards the back of the box/catcher, it should be straight or slightly turned in, this helps with allowing the turn of back foot and getting that back hip to open toward the pitcher.

b.  Hands:  Hands can start where comfortable, but must get to the launch point, which is around that back shoulder/armpit.

c.  Bat angle: Many of the guys have had a flat bat or wrap around their neck area, the bat should be around 45 degrees or upright in some cases to emphasize that it shouldn't be flowing back around the neck. (I usually say get the tip up!)

d.  Knees should have flex/bend and ready to load.

e.  Every pitch is a strike in your mind until you recognize that it isn't, will talk more about this next...

2.  Load and Launch:

a.  Every batter should anticipate the pitch coming is a strike, and thus load their swings as such.  This can be a rocking motion combined with hands getting to the launch point (shoulder/armpit), a lift of the foot, or some sort of leg kick/land.  The load should get weight back somewhat on back leg.  

b.  The focus is where the pitcher's hand releases the ball, this will allow the hitter to identify what type of pitch that is coming and where its going.

c.  The load of their swing will be made and adjusted for timing based on the speed and the pitchers motion, loading every pitch no matter what and having hands ready to come thru.

d.  Since we're stepping and bringing our back hip through, the hands will follow naturally if the pitch is identified as a strike.

3.  Swing:

a.  head stays on the ball, seeing the ball to the bat slightly in front of where the ball is to be struck.

b.  Back should be slightly bent over the plate, this allows for the elbow to stay in the slot and head to remain on a level plane throughout the swing.  No popping the hips out and no back arch backward through the swing.

c.  Hands stay inside the ball.  This is done by having the back elbow in the slot, which is basically having your back elbow next to your ribs/side abs.  The top hand stays on the bat through the zone and makes a punching motion through the swing toward the pitcher/pitched ball.  This allows the barrel of the bat to whip through the zone using the wrists.

d.  Step toward the pitcher and let the hips explode and bring the hands through the zone. Hips will open more on an inside pitch and slightly less on an outside pitch.  The front foot should plant somewhere around 45 degrees, slightly open to allow for hips to open through the swing.  Weight shouldn't be totally forward on front foot, more even 

e.  Finish the swing!  bring the hands through and top hand should stay on through the zone, can release if wanted after through zone, typically finishing high, not even with hips.

A lot of these things can be managed by hitting off a tee before taking live BP, grove the swing and put it into action!  See pics below, Cabrera and Trout, I think they're pretty good.