Teaching young players to throw the baseball effectively is probably the single most important aspect of coaching T-ball. In many ways, it is also the simplest as well. Throwing does not require the hand-eye coordination needed for hitting or catching, and it is certainly not as complex as learning the rules of the game.Throwing is nothing more than getting the ball from Point A to Point B as quickly and as accurately as possible. The following instructions and three T-Ball throwing drills are a great place to begin when teaching mdfallbaseball to beginners.
Easy as 1-2-3-4
T-Ball players are typically six years old or younger and will have had little or no experience. Therefore, good coaching must start with the very basics. Before players can throw the ball, they must become comfortable with the proper grip.
Players should rest the tips of their index and middle fingers across (perpendicular to) a seam of the ball, with the thumb underneath the ball. With these three fingers mainly supporting the ball, the player will be able to hold it firmly, while being less likely to squeeze too hard, which can cost accuracy.
The throwing motion is a four-step process:
- With non-throwing (glove) shoulder facing the target, lower the ball and throwing hand down toward the knee, fully extending the arm.
- Bring the ball up and back, so that the throwing arm is extended and an imaginary line can be drawn from the ball, through the player’s shoulders to the target.
- Begin to shift body weight toward the target and continue the ball’s upward path, bringing the ball behind the head while keeping the elbow at shoulder height.
- Continue arm’s motion and weight shift toward target and release ball with snap of the wrist, keeping eyes on the target.
Don’t get ahead of yourself by having your young players throw to each other at first. Since early throws will be inaccurate and catching skill levels will be low, your players will spend a lot of practice time chasing errant balls instead of throwing.
Attach a target (start with a hula hoop and work your way down to a paper plate) to the backstop and have players throw at it. T-Ball aged players should begin no more than 15 feet away from the target and should start the drill by picking the ball up off the ground to help reinforce the step of starting the ball low.
Many young players make the mistake of dropping their elbows below their shoulder as they throw, which results in a “pushing” motion. If your players are doing this, stand behind them and raise your hand to the appropriate level above and behind the player’s throwing shoulder. As they reach back to throw, have them “high-five” you with the ball to make sure their elbows are staying up.
Follow that Ball!
To reinforce the forward weight shift and momentum required for a proper throw, have the players throw, then continue running in the same direction. Two coaches will face each other with a single-file line of players behind each of them (keep the lines short, T-Ball players are not known for their attention spans). One coach will drop a ball and step aside as the first player in line behind him picks up the ball, throws to the opposite coach, then follows his throw by running to join the back of the opposite line. Once the player has passed by, the coach with the ball will drop it to repeat the process.