Parents often argue whether this age group should be playing coach or player’s pitch. Many believe their athletes are ready for a more competitive level and choose to play them in older age groups, while others prefer to nurture them and ride a more natural development.
No matter the skill level of your team, remember to start with the basics and build from there. Fundamentals are key to building a 5-tool player, which any young athlete desires to be as they move onto higher age groups and skill levels. Between throwing, batting techniques, and all other aspects of the game, here are our favorite drills for 7-8 year olds.
Start with a line of players behind the mound to practice accuracy and the proper throwing motion. With yourself at home plate, start with each player throwing one pitch to you. If the pitch is a strike, the player is safe and continues to the back of the line. If the player misses the zone, that player is out. This drill moves quickly, so players won’t be out for long and can jump back in the game for the next round.
Throwing: Extreme catch
This drill is fundamental for players at all levels. For young teams, this means pairing players and setting cones about 20 feet apart. Players will start warming up for a few minutes with 20 feet between them. At the coach’s whistle, they will move to the second set of cones about 5 feet behind the first set, giving them practice throwing longer distances. For a progression of drills similar to this, check out the full range of throwing drills from Mojo here.
Hitting: High tee, low tee
This drill is for helping kids hit different areas of the strike zone. Start with an adjustable tee, and work on hitting the highest point. Make sure you show your players how to make proper contact, keeping their heads down at all times and focusing on hitting line drives. Most players will want to pull up during their swing, but this teaches bad habits and often turns into a pop-out. Next, lower the tee to the shortest possible level. Focus on the same mechanics and powering through contact with the ball at a different angle. This progression is sure to give any player a more confident approach next time they’re up to bat.
Hitting: Soft toss
Progressing from hitting a still ball to soft toss is the next best step. In this drill, you’ll want to position yourself about 4 feet away from the hitter, opposite the side they’re hitting. Throw the ball underhand towards the plate and allow them to swing through the ball. This enhances hand-eye coordination, ball contact, and swing mechanics. Remind them to watch the ball into the bat and keep their head down throughout. For the full list of drills from Mojo, check it out here.
Fielding: Mind the gap
With two cones set about 30 feet apart, split the team into equal halves and line them up behind the cones. You’ll then be lined up about 20 feet from each cone (creating a triangle) and will throw the ball in between both cones to mimic a pop fly. Let the players know which line will be receiving the ball and which line will be covering, providing backup in case the ball is missed. Repeat this motion for all players and let them switch from one line to the next after completing their turn. For more
Fielding: Goalie Drill
This next drill combines strong footwork with covering ground and space. Set up the cones about 3-5 yards apart, depending on age and skill level. Start with one player between the cones and throw or hit ground balls at them. Like a goalie in other sports, each player is looking to prevent the ball from getting past them. Once they field the ball, have another individual to relay it to complete the play. Begin with easy plays and progress as the team’s skill level increases. Let each player make one play at a time, then funnel in line with the others behind the cones. This makes for a quick-moving drill and can easily be turned into a competition if you choose to split into teams for more fun. For progression drills and a helpful visual aid, check out the full video from Ultimate Baseball Training here.
These are our favorite drills that offer a wide variety of skill-building. Our last recommendation is to begin reviewing game-film. Any athlete enjoys watching themselves, especially their best plays, and with Trace, you can automatically receive the best moments from every game. From our self-recording camera system to automatic editing, you won’t need to manually record or edit again. We provide a personalized playlist for every gameplay so that you won’t miss out on any special moments again. If you’re looking for a few reasons why this age group should start reviewing film, here’s Why Short-Form Video Works for youth sports.
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