Pinto baseball/8U Softball mainly need to learn the basic rules, like that you run to first after you hit the ball, and basic skills like throwing and catching. Give this age group practice:
1. catching grounders and flies
3. run through first
4. run to second and third
5. run through home
8. fielding assignment when ball not hit to you (cover a base or back up)
9. caught fly is out whether fair or foul
10. must tag up on fly
11. force out
12. tag out
13. run on anything with two outs
14. run out all hits
You probably recognize that this list is very ambitious. By the end of the season, the typical coach has not achieved numbers 3, 4, 6, 8, & 10 and his/her players are shaky on the rest. If, however, you run efficient practices, you can achieve all fourteen items on this list.
Catching grounders and flies
- ready position with weight on balls of feet
- butt down, field ball out in front (think triangle - two knees and glove out in front create a triangle)
- "Thumb by your side, hand up high, wave goodbye
Run through first
- Full speed through the bag
Run to second and third
- DO NOT over run or you can be tagged out
Run through home
- First and home are the two bases to run through
- When as a base runner at 2nd and the ball is hit to the outfield think "score!"
- Sliding has two benefits: 1) helps you go into a base at full speed; and 2) avoids a tag
- If hitting line drives, leave 'em alone.
- If not, check the following:
- Good grip "door knocking knuckles" - this improves extension and follow through and is very easy to learn
- Relax the elbows, (elbow up discourages proper grip - the only benefit of elbows up is that it gets hands up)
- get hands up by ears "Answer the phone" and back "person's yelling - move phone back a bit"
- "Belly button should face pitcher after swing" (that means the hips are driving - that's where power comes from)
Fielding assignment when ball not hit to you (cover a base or back up)
- Who covers second base when the ball is hit to third base or shortstop? (2nd basemen)
- Who covers second base when the ball is hit to second or first? (Shortstop)
- Who backs up throw to first base? (Right fielder)
- Who backs up throw from left field to second base (Right fielder)
Caught fly is out whether fair or foul
- Be aggressive and go get it!
Must tag up on fly
- When there are 0 or 1 outs
- If there's a runner behind on first or second