Coaching Offense in Little League Baseball
Of the four basic skills, two are needed for an effective offense: hitting and base running. Together, solid hitting and alert base running give the greatest chance of scoring runs, and scoring runs greatly increases your chance of winning.
Hitting well takes time and plenty of practice -- batters will need individual instruction to find the batting stance and swing that works best for them. If players are having difficulty hitting the ball, check to make sure their knees aren't locked and that they have a fairly level swing. You may want to make a video recording for players and analyze their swing with them [source: QC Baseball]. In addition, confidence plays a big part in the mental game for batters, so it's important to encourage your batters, praising them when they do well and gently correcting them when necessary. Try not to group all of your poor hitters at the bottom of the lineup -- this creates a weak point in your lineup and does little to improve the confidence of your players.
Regarding base running, make sure your players know how to run through first base. Players shouldn't slow down to stop on the base, and they shouldn't time their run to land on the base with both feet. Emphasize that first base is simply a point they need to cross on their way to another destination [source: Suddeth]. Once safely on first base, runners need to know how to react to different situations. What should runners do when the ball is a pop fly? When do players have to run regardless of where and how the ball is hit? If you have parents who know the game, place them as base coaches -- this can go a long way in teaching the players.
Now that you know about coaching offense, it's time to discuss how to teach players about catching and throwing, the two main components of defensive playing. Check out the next page to learn more.