For this young and impressionable age group, you could run into the slim possibility that some of your pupils have never even seen a baseball diamond on TV, much less seen one in person. Practices should be lots of fun, and not too long, we recommend thirty to forty five minutes. You also don’t want to bog them down with too many rules, because sheesh, these kids are just learning to read. They are just learning to listen, so count yourself lucky if you can get them to throw and catch a baseball. To help you out, here’s a list of basic learning objectives for ages 4 to 6 young beginners.
Where Do You Go?
When the ball has been hit, did you do the hitting? Or are you thinking about ice cream sandwiches in the outfield? Make sure players know their places when at bat or playing defense. They need to know the right direction to throw the ball, and where to run.
Hit the Bags: ALL of ‘Em if you Can!
All players must understand that your foot MUST touch a base for it to count! Sometimes this rule is learned because your players listened to your incredibly wise words and stellar leadership. Other times this rule is learned with protests and tears out on the field with umpires and the other team. Either way, it shall be acknowledged.
What Makes an Out?
Show the kids how catching fly balls, tagging runners, and throwing to your fellow basemen is the way to get some of those outs. Learning to strive for definite, bona fide outs is imperative, and learning how to be on both the giving and receiving end of outs with style is also good to learn.
You Can Run Past the First Bag
The only base you can overrun is first. It’s not always the best idea, but sometimes it is, especially for youngsters! If that’s not a totally nebulous rule for a 4 to 6 year old player, I don’t know what is. Have fun with this one! Put an assistant coach behind the first bag and ask the kids to run past the bag and give the coach High Fives when they get there. They will love it! Guaranteed.
Three Outs Make an Inning
As much as you might want to give someone a fourth out, it’s impossible. You’re either trying to prevent another out, or you are determined to get someone out, but no matter how it’s done or how long it takes, three outs is it. After the kids learn what makes an out, repeatedly ask them how many outs they have got so far. It will drive the concept home pretty fast.
All things must come to an end, including innings, and this article. Don’t teach too much and keep it fun. We hope you get started on a great season. Good luck!