Catching the Fun of Throwing a Baseball

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It does not take long for kids to get bored with a game of catch, whether it is with mom or dad in the back yard or at baseball practice. Often, players get bored quickly with playing catch and want to move on to fielding or hitting right away. The problem is that many kids do not throw enough and when they become bored right away, that inhibits their ability to develop good fundamentals, build arm strength and throwing accuracy. A fun throwing routine is necessary to help kids develop the throwing habits needed to improve.

Following is a number of throwing drills that will help kids remain interested in playing catch. Using a softer ball with inexperienced, young ball players is best so good catching technique and confidence can be developed without the fear of getting hurt.

1. Point Game – The point game promotes accuracy and makes for a fun contest.

How to play: The thrower gets 2 points when the opposing player catches the ball directly in front of his face and 1 point when caught from their waste to their shoulders, between their arms. Player catching the ball does not move in front of balls but remains standing in a set position. Players begin at a short distance and every time a player gets to 5 points (winner), players back up a few feet and play again. The matches obviously get tougher as players get farther apart.

2. Back of Glove Drill – This practice drill promotes catching the ball with two hands on good throws and with their glove only on inaccurate throws. This drill is only done with a soft ball.

How to play: Players squeeze their glove together and practice catching good throws on the back of the glove using two hands of course (only way to catch it). Throwers are instructed to throw the ball firmly but not at top speed. Players are to catch good accurate throws this way (2 hands) and open their glove and catch with glove only on off target throws.

3. Quick hands catch – This catch drill promotes quick feet and hands.

How to Play:  Players get a designated time (one minute, for example) to see how many throws they make with their throwing partner. Players work as one unit adding their number of completed throws. Players should try to beat the other players or try to achieve their personal best in the allotted time.

4. Long toss catch: This catch practice builds up arm strength.

How to Play: Players start at a relatively short distance and every time they complete a throw and catch, each player backs up one-step. Players see how far apart they can go without missing a ball. After an incomplete throw and catch, players start at the short distance again.

5. Around the horn drill – This drill helps players develop good footwork on different throws and turns.

How to play – When four players are available, players get an equal distance apart in a box formation. One player starts the ball in one direction and players see how fast they can get the ball around the box. Coaches can vary the number of times the ball is thrown around the horn and the direction of the ball. Players work on footwork on all types of turns, inside and outside, including tag plays. With only two players, they can still practice the footwork while turning different directions.

6. Relay throwing drill. This drill promotes the correct footwork and technique for relay throws.

How to Play: When four or more players are involved, players get in one line at an equal distance and work on throwing the ball to the player directly ahead of them until the ball goes to the last player and back. Coaches can determine how many times the ball should go up and back while working on the correct relay throw technique. When just playing catch with one person, players can still work on their relay throw footwork and mimic throwing the ball to an imaginary player or into a screen, of course.

Finally, it is very easy to turn this playing catch practice into individual, small group or team contests, which really perk players’ interests.

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