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How to teach baseball rules to kids?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My son is turning 6 in the spring, and is about to start playing in the little league in my town. Basically kindergarteners having fun. Actually I'm not even sure if it's baseball. I just might as well be T-ball.

Anyway, he doesn't know the rules very well, and I realized it's not so easy teaching the rules to young kids. I take a lot of things for granted, but there is a lot to keep track on the field, such as when to throw to a base or not, when to run to the next base or not, etc. Again, these are kindergarteners, so having fun is the most important thing, but my son being who he is, unless he feels he knows the rules (basically have control of the situation), he won't engage easily.

Does anyone have a good suggestion on how to teach the basics of baseball? I actually thought of getting him a baseball videogame, but I'm sure how effective it'll be. I'm also afraid I'll playing it in the wee hours of the night.

Thank you!
post #2 of 10

you're right that it's all about fun right now and, hopefully, will continue to be. trust that the jist (gist?) of the basics of the rules will sink in from trial and error.
get him running to first base, rather than third, out of the batter's box, and you're off to a good start.
soon enough he'll get the hang of it being three outs rather than two or four, that balls in the air are to be caught, etc.
personally, i'd focus more on introducing him to the basics of holding and swinging a bat at a moving ball. start with tennis balls, stay with tennis balls, they will prove handy at every level. he'll learn to to not be as afraid of the ball as he might otherwise be and, when he's 15 and lining bullets back at dad who's throwing BP, you will yourself be saved from undue pain and bloodletting. tennis balls off the shins are much less painful than baseballs.
start with the hand-eye coordination stuff - playing catch, rolling grounders at him - and, last for now, encourage rather than discourage. this is an age when there are no mistakes, it's all learning. the lower the pressure to "get it right," the better, and along the way you'll get a better sense of whether or not your son actually likes the game.

and DON'T FORGET TO TEACH HIM THAT THE YANKEES ARE EVIL AND THAT the red sox are...ahem - God's Team.

that is all.

(nomar will win the MVP this year. you heard ir here first.)

post #3 of 10

I've been coaching baseball for around 20 years now and my experience has spanned from coaching tee-ball and Little League, with my own kids, to coaching High School and College age kids. The question you've put forth is actually quite broad. Learning the rules of the game is important, but I've found that even young kids pick up the more common rules very easily and that's what I would concentrate on with your son at his age. This assumes of course that they have a competent adult to learn from, but most adults who've played the game know the general rules that are important at your sons age.

When you get into the fundamentals of the game, such as throwing to the correct base, hitting cutoffs, and advancing runners it becomes slightly more complex, but again the kids pick it up pretty well. This comes from experience and again, adequate instruction.

I have two kids (ages 9 & 11) who both play LL baseball. Other than through my coaching, I'd say they learned the game by chasing me around as toddlers, watching games with me, asking lots of questions, making mistakes on the field and getting alot of positive feedback.

If you or anyone else is serious about their kids becoming sound players who enjoy the game, the best advice I can give you is work with them regularly on their basic skills (hitting, throwing, catching) and make it fun for them. Just like in skiing, repetition of sound skills is the name of the game, and their enjoyment of such will make it "play" as opposed to work. My kids work on their skills constantly because they love to play and getter better. The rest will come with time.

I hope this helps. If you have specific questions regarding rules or fundamentals you can pm me.

ps. Skip the video game idea at least as a training aid. No one has ever gotten better at any sport by sitting on their butt. Now, if you're talking instructional videos that's different, but probably not worth it for your son's age bracket.
post #4 of 10
Clearly in light of today's game, the first step is to start your kid on steroids. Unfortuantely, it might already be too late. Then, teach him how to properly cork a bat and, in case it breaks, to have a lame excuse ready. Finally, he should always bet against his own team and lie about for the rest of life.

[Sorry. Make sure you distinguish between the rules and fundamentals. At your kid's age, I would focus on getting the ball to the closest base, not the most strategic. The best way to introduce the rules is through a real game situation and over time. They don't have to know all the rules to have a blast playing the game, just a bare few of them. Add the other rules gradually and as the need and occasion arises.]
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. All good suggestions. Especially steroids. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Yeah, we need to do more throwing and catching. It's been hard with cold days up here.

Using tennis balls sounds like a good idea. As long as he doesn't wanna play tennis instead. (Which he might, and that's ok, too. I just want him to play some team sports for a change. So far, he's only showing interest in individual sports, e.g., skiing, swimming, tennis, golf...)
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by ryan:

and DON'T FORGET TO TEACH HIM THAT THE YANKEES ARE EVIL AND THAT the red sox are...ahem - God's Team.

Oh yes. He's already got the Sox hat.
post #7 of 10
"Brick," I hope that name didn't follow you around from basketball. If so, YES, let's focus on baseball.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
ryan -

'Brick' is from Swedish Brick, as in 'Volvo'. We have a few different Volvos in the family. Had a few more that we sold/crashed/got sick of, etc....

And, no, I don't have any Swedish blood in me. If I did, I'd be a much better skier.
post #9 of 10
One of the hardest things to teach at that age is to catch the ball with the tip glove pointing up, as opposed to the palm facing up (the basket catch). Rather than use a tennis ball for practice, I would use a soft t-ball and have the kids wear their batting helmets (which includes a full face mask). This helps them get over the fear of being beaned. The tennis ball could teach some bad habits (you know like PMTS in skiing [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] ) if they get use to catching a ball that a fraction of the weight of the ball they'll be playing with. I'd rather they get the feel for the real ball.
post #10 of 10
You can teach a young kid to catch with just about anything that's weighted and soft. I taught both my kids to catch using rubber baseballs when they were toddlers. Also start them learning to catch with their bare hands and teach them early to use both hands when they are making a catch. Teach pinkys together for catching below the waist and thumbs together for catching above the waist. Kids catch (no pun intended) on to this real quick. Start with short, easy throws in different locations. When they've mastered this, move onto the glove and a harder ball. Remember, a glove is a foreign object to a kid. If they can catch with their bare hands the glove development will go easier. We do bare hand catching drills even for High School age kids.
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