Introducing the Skills that Scale

Beneath is an excerpt from our upcoming e-book: Youth Baseball Video games: Expertise that Scale

On its floor, making a apply plan appears fairly fundamental. Select the issues that you simply wish to work on, carve up the out there time, then execute. 

Easy proper? 

Sure, and no.

Efficient youth baseball practices each have interaction the gamers within the exercise and drive growth of what are pretty complicated actions, all throughout the constraint of a comparatively quick period of time.

Instructing the mandatory technical experience and elementary guidelines of the sport whereas nonetheless having enjoyable isn’t any small activity. To realize this we wish to keep some form of stability in our coaching between technical understanding and athletic ability growth—which requires construction and consideration for the way we create our apply plans.

Youth athletes are much less coordinated than older athletes and sometimes battle to focus, which might make making a enjoyable and productive apply plan appear overwhelming. Additional, hitting, pitching and fielding totally different positions all carry distinctive units of expectations, roles and obligations, so the overall variety of expertise and skills that must be developed are usually not small in quantity.

In an ideal world, we’d have the ability to develop competent athletes who’ve each the abilities and the understanding to be practical baseball gamers. We don’t want perfection, nonetheless. Gamers are going to make errors and it’s our job as coaches to search out instances to push them past their consolation zone in apply. We will assist and cheer them on once they succeed and assist them be taught from their errors once they fail.

Introduce success, then introduce a problem. 

This e-book goals that will help you do each by figuring out the important thing expertise that can profit gamers in the long term and creating video games to coach these expertise.

Alongside the way in which please simply be sure to maintain it enjoyable. Children like enjoyable. And enjoyable is nice.

Develop the Expertise that Scale

1. The abilities you utilize extra often are extra essential than the abilities you utilize much less often;

2. Placing a majority of our focus into the event of those expertise will compound their worth over time.

We name them Expertise that Scale as a result of they’re the basic skills that ought to assist a participant transition from the small 60’ baseball subject to the large 90’ subject. That transition is extra daunting if gamers are usually not coaching in a means that prepares them for this huge change, as a result of the large subject calls for vital ability and motor output.

We additionally wish to think about the organic and psychological actuality of working with younger kids. Youth gamers are merely not small adults—however on a baseball subject they’re typically handled as such.

All too typically our expectations of what kids must be able to understanding and executing, along with the emotional local weather we create for them to carry out in, are considerably out of step with something that will be tolerated of their classroom or different studying surroundings. 

These out of step expectations can take the type of extreme strain and penalties, however they may also be present in how we anticipate kids to bodily carry out. One of many issues that usually differentiates kids from adults, and one youngster from one other, is their ranges of coordination and motor management, along with sheer power and the power to use that power throughout the context of a sport particular activity.

Hitting a spherical ball with a spherical bat is troublesome. So is throwing a ball from 46’+ ft away to a plate that’s 17” large.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that baseball is one in every of, if not probably the most, troublesome and sophisticated sports activities that kids take part in—and that’s solely contemplating the first ability duties, earlier than you even get into the mechanics of truly taking part in the sport.

Our response to this analysis of the youth baseball panorama is to prioritize the event of the first instruments for fulfillment within the recreation—hitting and throwing—relative to their significance, which suggests making their growth a major coaching focus. Actually it’s true that there are different pathways to creating younger gamers for future success, however based mostly on a first-principles analysis of what issues most for younger gamers, we select to focus totally on the event of hitting and throwing, as these are merely the issues that gamers do probably the most on a baseball subject, now and later.

Having this focus doesn’t imply that we ignore different features of participant growth or that we in any other case neglect educating gamers the sport of baseball. A greatest case situation implementation of Expertise that Scale doesn’t deal with baseball like a carnival recreation. As an alternative it merely means you allocate apply time to the issues that can take advantage of affect on a participant’s means to compete within the recreation at this time, tomorrow and all the times that comply with.

Youth baseball must be enjoyable, and enjoyable is nice, so our want is for coaches who learn this e-book to grasp that in creating these Expertise that Scale your gamers ought to have enjoyable practices, doing the funnest issues on a baseball subject, which interprets to enjoyable in competitors. 

The Expertise that Scale

At Driveline we orient our coaching round ‘The Massive 3’ of each hitting and pitching. 

These are:

The Massive 3 of Hitting

  • Bat velocity—how briskly you possibly can swing the bat
  • Contact high quality—how typically and good you’re at making onerous contact
  • Swing choices—how good you’re at swinging at hitters’ pitches

The Massive 3 of Pitching

  • Stuff—how onerous you throw and the motion of your pitches
  • Command—your means to throw the ball the place you need
  • Sturdiness – how lengthy and often are you able to carry out

To maintain issues even easier, we filter these right down to what we name the Expertise that Scale for youth gamers in each hitting and throwing:


Bat velocity—how onerous you possibly can swing the bat

Exit velocity—are you able to swing onerous and make sq. contact to generate onerous hit balls

Most of our coaching is oriented round bat velocity and exit velocity for the next causes: youth pitchers aren’t good at throwing strikes and if you happen to deal with ‘constructing the engine’ of bat velocity and exit velocity, gamers will begin to determine what pitches they hit the toughest and which they don’t, not directly engaged on swing choices.


Throwing velocity—how onerous you possibly can throw
Hitting a goal (Command)—throwing the ball over the plate and throwing it to your teammate within the subject

We consider that almost all youth gamers must work on throwing more durable to a goal with out worrying a lot about offspeed pitches. Gamers ought to play a number of positions, so that they don’t get burnt out on the mound of pigeonholed in a single place.

The very best youth gamers will showcase all 4 of those skills. Hitters that swing quick and hit the ball sq., leading to a excessive exit velocity, will carry out the perfect. Pitchers and fielders who can throw onerous at a goal will pitch probably the most and be put in defensive positions the place they’re extra prone to make performs.

Make Youth Baseball Apply Enjoyable

Coaches can create extra partaking practices by studying into gamification of items of apply.


We wish to make apply and ability growth extra partaking by introducing guidelines, level methods and competitors across the Expertise that Scale. This allows coaches to create engaged and motivated athletes in apply.

We’re going to take the Expertise that Scale and create video games with scoring methods so we will introduce competitors amongst our gamers—not solely with teammates but in addition with themselves over time.

Progress over Good + Take a look at & Retest

If we will flip essential expertise into video games, we will observe outcomes and measure progress over time. Attempting to unravel for ‘excellent’ for a complete workforce of gamers—on the leisure journey/choose stage—is probably going out of attain. What we will resolve for is progress over a particular time frame.

The important thing piece to grasp is that making an attempt to enhance at baseball, or the rest in life, can by no means be placed on cruise management. 

A elementary piece of Driveline’s coaching is to trace as a lot data as we will in order that we will see how expertise are creating. This is applicable to youth baseball as a result of you possibly can evaluate gamers’ skills over an extended time-frame, and we will hold them engaged within the exercise alongside the way in which as they see their progress enhance.

Whereas all of our video games can simply be performed as soon as, coaches can even ‘retest’ a participant’s ability growth by replaying a recreation a couple of weeks after the primary time to see how a ability has developed (or not).

In the event you’re feeling overwhelmed with find out how to observe these video games, it’s okay. A lot of them will be performed in apply with out scoring as coaches and gamers get comfy with them. This e-book isn’t supposed to create one other set of jobs for coaches, however to determine a strategy to hold youngsters engaged so that they hold coming again. As youngsters play, they be taught what expertise get factors. They then naturally wish to know who ‘gained’ the sport, making a extra productive surroundings to attain and observe.

So, whereas we encourage coaches to strive quite a lot of video games on this e-book, be at liberty to make use of your workforce as suggestions and convey again a few of the extra partaking video games a couple of weeks after introducing them. You’ll have the ability to see progress that some athletes have made and/or reaffirm areas that also must be improved

Youth Apply Video games: Expertise that Scale

47 video games using expertise we’ve recognized to assist youth baseball gamers enhance.


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