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9 Most Fun Tee Ball Drills

Tee-ball is many children’s first introduction to bat-and-ball sports, and they’re building the foundation for the skills that will help in their overall growth and development while setting the groundwork for baseball and softball skills they’ll develop as they get older.

What are the most fun tee ball drills? The nine most fun tee ball drills are variations of the basics:

  • Hitting Station
  • Throwing Station
  • The Dirty Diamond
  • Ground Ball Station
  • Defend the Castle
  • Running the Bases
  • Base Race
  • Pop Fly Station
  • Smoosh ball pop fly

With this age group, keeping them engaged is a big challenge. Setting up stations and having them run around to each station in small groups makes it more fun, reduces down time, and makes it easier for coaches to handle them.

We’ll look at basic stations with ways to make them more engaging, as well as drills to work up to as the kids get more experienced throughout the season.

1. Hitting Station

Before the kids come into the hitting station, have them grab a helmet, put it on, and make two fists. Use a washable marker to draw a line across all of their fingers.

Have them grab a bat, and show them proper grip by lining up the marker lines on their fingers. Have them aim towards the fence and hit a soft ball (such as a tennis ball) off of the tee.

Have each child show you their stance first before hitting, and go down the line to make some adjustments. Have them hit the ball on the tee and reset their stance while you and other coaches place the balls back on the tees.

Encourage them to hit the logos or numbers drawn on the ball to give them a visual reference of where they want to connect with the ball. Work with them on proper foot placement and, as they get more confident, picking up their leading foot to increase the power in their swing.

2. Throwing Station

The basic movement of any bat and ball sport is throwing. Practice this with tennis or smoosh balls, hula hoops, and balloons.

Attach the hula hoops to the fence low enough so that the kids won’t send the balls over the fence if they miss. Secure a partially inflated balloon in the center of the hula hoop.
Using paint or chalk, mark an equilateral triangle on the ground. As the kids come up to the station, have them stand sideways with their glove side towards the hula hoop.

Have them look, point, step out with the glove-side foot, and throw. Getting them to involve that lead-off foot is a big goal for this age group, as well as working with them on release and follow-through of the throw.

3. The Dirty Diamond

Once you feel the kids have a grasp of the basic movements of throwing, you can turn the throwing station into a little competition.

Split the players into two groups and place them on either side of a paint line or rope that you’ve set down. Place half of the available balls on each side of the line.

Have the kids grab the balls (tennis or smoosh) and throw them onto the other team’s side. Emphasize that they’re not trying to hit each other with the balls! It’s just an exercise to get the ball across the line.

Set a timer and have the kids throw as many balls as possible to the other side. Teams win the game by having fewer balls left on their side when the clock runs out. Not only are you working on the throwing movement, but you’re also teaching them ball awareness and helping them learn to hustle to the ball and get it out of their hands quickly.

When the timer goes off, make everyone stop throwing and have the kids help you count the balls on each side of the line to determine the winner.

4. Ground Ball Station

For this, have the kids wearing their gloves. You’ll need an assistant coach or volunteer per child, and have the kids stand in the ready position.

Roll balls towards them and encourage them to “crab” walk or side step to put their body in front of the ball.

Use a timer and see how many ground balls each kid can save and return in the time period. The assistant coach or volunteer can count for them.

Since there will be a lot of ground balls in a tee ball game, it’s critical that they learn how to scoop them up from this position. Encourage them to keep their stance low, move laterally without tripping over their feet, and use their glove to get the ball up off of the ground.

5. Defend the Castle

Again, once you learn the basics, have the kids move on to something a little more advanced and fun. Set up two buckets on top of each other. This is the kids’ “castle” that they have to defend.

Set up two cones or lines a little bit wider than the buckets. Each child will stand between the cones when it’s their turn to defend the castle. A coach or volunteer will roll ground balls towards each child with the goal of knocking down the buckets.

Again, encourage the kids to stay in their athletic position, move laterally like a crab, and scoop the ball up in their glove. This works best if you have multiple balls so that you can roll them quickly, without waiting on the castle defender to return them.

Have another coach nearby to help the kids move the balls out of the way so they don’t trip over them. Each child’s turn is up when the coach runs out of balls to roll, and then the kids rotate through.

This exercise helps you increase intensity by rolling the balls more quickly and helps the kids stay on their toes, literally and figuratively, as they defend their castle. If the castle gets knocked down, have the kids work together to set it back up as you collect the balls to begin the drill again with child who was up next.

6. Running the Bases Station

Kids this age usually love to run around, but this drill is focused on helping them get through the steps that come after they start running. Have the kids start on home plate, simulate a swing, and then run down to first base.

When they get there, have a coach or volunteer positioned to give them a high five. Guide them to return to the base and set up for their next run.

When the next child simulates the swing, have all the children run to the next base, get a high five, and return to their base. This helps to ensure that the kids know what to do in a game once they’ve gotten to the base.

Since a lot of kids may not have any experience with tee ball, just reinforcing those steps is key.

7. Base Race

Once they know what to do to once they get to the base, it’s important to focus on their speed. They’ll want to get to the base as fast as possible, so have two players line up at home plate and race each other down the base line.

Note the winner and set up two more kids. Have the two winners race to second base when the next two players start their race to first.

Alternately, you could set this up as a station. Have each child run to first base as fast as they can and note their time. At the end of practice, recognize the fastest runner.

If you track this over a few practices, you could also recognize the kids who are showing improvement or who has the fastest time of the season.

8. Pop Fly Station

While kids aren’t super likely to have to catch pop flies in a tee ball game, it’s critical to get them used to catching balls from out of the air. This is a foundational skill that they’ll utilize later on in life both on and off the diamond.

Use tennis or smoosh balls for this or larger foam or rubber balls from dollar stores. At first, have them try this with no gloves. Have an adult thrower per child, and toss the balls up into the air towards the players.

Encourage them to look up at the ball and catch it with both hands. Make sure that the kids line up with their backs to the sun or that you do this exercise in a shaded area. You can encourage them to start with their arms outstretched and bring their hands together at the same time to catch the ball.

Once they’re comfortable, have them try this exercise with their gloves to teach them to trap the ball in their glove with their open hand.

9. Smoosh Ball Pop Fly

For this, the kids will need a baseball hat. Once they get comfortable with a ball coming at them from above, you can move on to this drill.

Kids will struggle to get their bodies underneath the ball. Their inclination is to move their arms out and grab from the air. For this drill, toss some smoosh balls at each player and have them try to “catch” the ball on the brim of their hat.

You don’t want them to arch backwards or try to move their head and neck to reach it. Instead, encourage lateral movement and get them watching the ball.

Obviously with this drill, you want to make it clear that they’re only allowed to do this with those smoosh balls. Consider having a clear signal (such as a special dance or rhyme) that you only use when you start and end this drill, so that they associate that signal with permission to let the ball hit them in the head. If they haven’t gotten the signal, they need to attempt to catch it.

Conclusion

Coaches working with tee ball players have a unique challenge. They have to keep practice fun and safe while incorporating skills in a way that makes the kids want to keep learning about the sport.

Using stations and drills at practice helps kids get individualized attention and keeps them interested. Use these drills to match the kids’ skill level and ability and keep building their confidence in the game.