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Ultimate Guide to Coaching Little League Baseball

Coaching Defense in Little League Baseball

The two basic skills that are essential to good defensive baseball are throwing and catching. In leagues where players pitch, good pitching is key; however, in coach-pitch leagues, you'll need to focus on getting outs by fielding the ball after it's hit. Review the basic rules with players so they understand the ways they can get a runner out: by tagging them out before they reach a base, by tagging the base before they reach it and by catching the ball after it's hit and before it touches the ground [source: Youth Baseball Basics].

Provide plenty of fielding practice so players are comfortable catching pop-ups, fielding grounders and throwing to different bases. Teach your players to be in the fielding position when play starts, with knees bent, feet apart, back straight and glove down [source: Sheetz]. Teach them to recognize signs that a batter is about to bunt and emphasize the need for charging the ball when this happens [source: Suddeth].

Defensive strategy is as important as defensive skills. You'll need to communicate the possibilities of each situation to players when they're in the field, reminding them where the force-outs are and where they should throw the ball. You can quiz older players between plays. If you're not able to be in the field with the players, you may want to appoint one player in the infield and one player in the outfield to communicate the count and number of outs to the other players.

Even though having strong players at key positions is an essential part of a good defense, it's also important to make sure players have a chance to play different positions and have opportunities to grow as players. Assigning positions in the field is a balance between giving your team the best chance to win and giving each player the experience of playing a variety of positions.

However, it's impossible to play without equipment, so keep reading to learn what your team will need.