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Three Mistakes to Avoid in Youth Sports Practices

By:  Gary Stocker

1. One Coach Ė One Drill

No matter what the sport, young athletes are there for the activity, time with other kids, and to learn sport skills.  Whether it is 15 players on a baseball team or 8 players on a basketball team, the best approach is to have more than one drill or multiple stations of the same drill going on concurrently.

For example, when we do the ĎUp and Iní shooting drill in basketball, we have lines going on both sides.  We divide the players up by position and then have volunteer moms and dads do the drill.  For those moms and dads who are uncomfortable with running a drill, we teach them with great patience so that they can continue to come and add value to their childís team.

If I donít have parents to help, and donít see any opportunity to get them, I start teaching the children the drills as they get older.  I have seen many 10, 11, and 12 year olds take great pride and responsibility for running a drill with their teammates.

Another trick Iíve developed is to create something called Ďdepth repetitioní.  For example, when teaching baseball players how to lead off of first base -  donít just have one player at a time at first base.  Instead, line the players up from first base outward along the right field line.  Have them put their gloves down on the right field line.  The glove becomes their first base for the purpose of teaching lead offs, tag ups, steals, etc.  I have had more than 10 players at a time doing this.  You get lots of repetitions and everyone of the children is involved.


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