From playing kindergarten softball to playing in college baseball – I have been through it all.
I know firsthand that nothing beats the cheers and adoration of the crowd when you hit a home run. But once I retired and started coaching little league baseball, I felt like I finally found my true calling.
What I realized when coaching though is that natural talent meant very little. Sure, it could give the players a good boost, but without a proper practice plan, and hard work, it is impossible to become a star. Even though I had talented players on my little league team, getting them to their peak performance was quite challenging.
But once I figured out which drills worked the best, it was like adding oil to a burning flame. They became much more motivated and I could practically see them getting better every day.
And I figured that if at least one coach could benefit from my experience, it would be selfish of me not to share my guide on favorite baseball drills for 13 Year Olds. Well, pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee, because this one is going to take a while.
My Favorite Baseball Drills for 13-Year-Olds and Above
At the age of 13, your kids are ready to step into the real world of baseball. This is the age when stars are made. And if you know how to push your players the right way and motivate them when needed, they will become great players. Choosing the right baseball drills to further their skill is essential for kids of this age.
I like to split up my drills into four different sections to focus on different elements of the game. These are my personal favorites that I think can help you plan out your exercises better.
Baseball Hitting Drills for 13-Year-Olds
Hitting drills are extremely important to develop good strike power, practice proper stance, and fine-tuning the reflexes of a young batter. These are the drills that I use to focus on these elements.
1. Front Toss
The front toss is a simple yet effective hitting drill for teenagers. By this age, most kids have already had a year or two of playing experience. So, their fundamentals are a bit more developed compared to younger players. However, their reactions are often not as keen as a more mature player.
In this drill, the coach will stand behind a screen and toss the baseball towards the hitter. You want to mix up your pitching and aim at different positions both inside the strike zone and the outside. The goal of the hitter is to anticipate and react to the position of the ball and hit it towards the net.
2. Off-Speed Toss with Tee
Front toss is a fun drill and all, but sometimes I like to add a different twist to it to make things more interesting. Nearly everything about this drill is identical to the front toss except that you need an extra element,
a batting tee. You want to position the batting tee in front of the hitter.
Stand behind the screen, the same as before, and toss a couple of balls towards the hitter that the player needs to hit. However, during some pitches, you want to fake the throw. The player needs to quickly respond to the fake pitch by striking the baseball sitting on top of the batting tee.
3. Sled Pulls
Sled pulls are an essential hitting drill designed to train the muscle of the player and improve his power. With regular sled pull drills, your 13-year-old youngster will be able to hit the ball harder and more efficiently. It is an extremely effective drill that even professional players do for better power.
For this drill, you simply attach a weight to the knob end of the baseball bat. This makes it a lot harder to swing the bat as the extra weight is constantly pulling it down. The goal of the player is to overcome the opposing resistance and swing with as much strength as possible. This is one of the best indoor hitting drills out there since you do not necessarily need a baseball for it to work.
4. Bryce Harper Drill
The Bryce Harper Drill is a personal favorite of mine because it teaches proper posture and stride without making it too hard for the player to follow. If you have ever seen Bryce Harper playing on the field, you have already no doubt seen his weird batting stance.
The idea of the drill is to replicate that similar stance when practicing. That way, the players will learn to generate power from the hips and let it out when they swing. As the coach, you will have to instruct your players to lift their lead foot as they swing the bat. The whole goal of the drill is to improve strike power and posture.
Baseball Pitching Drills for 13-Year-Olds
Pitching is a skill that is a bit more challenging to master because of the high amounts of technique involved in this role. The following drills are most effective if your players have the basics covered. However, you want to start with a few warm-up drills before diving headfirst into more advanced exercises.
1. Rocker Drill
I like to start off my pitches with a healthy dose of rocker drill at the start of each training session. Even if they are already a decent pitcher, a basic review of the fundamentals never hurts. And when it comes to tuning basic stance and postures while pitching, it is hard to beat rocker drills.
Instruct your pitcher to stand tall with two legs stretched out as he would stand on a pitching plate. Then have him rock between two legs transferring the center of balance from one leg to another. After two steps, he will assume the pitching position and throw the ball towards the net.
2. Accuracy Drills
For teenage pitchers, a critical element you want to focus on is their accuracy. Missing their pitch might be acceptable if they were younger. However, now that they are starting to play in high school baseball, it is much more important to focus on their pitching accuracy.
The thing about accuracy is that drills cannot simply improve your accuracy. You need to teach them about deeper mechanics that will enable them to get more accurate in their throws. Consistency, conviction, visualization, and body control; there are the four pillars of accurate pitching.
So, you want them to consistently focus on a single pitching drill on a target. Teach them to believe in themselves and that their throws will meet the mark, and instruct them to visualize their target in their mind. In addition, you need to work on their posture and make sure they are fully in control of their body as they pitch.
3. The Broomstick Curveball Drills
Pitching curveballs and sliders are not easy, especially for a young player. Their techniques need to be impeccable and they need a lot of practice to pull off fantastic curveballs. Their pitcher’s gloves need to be perfect, and the drills need to be just right. This one is a good drill to help them learn curveball arm motion.
You, the coach, will take a small broomstick and hold it at the eye level of the pitcher. The goal of the pitcher is to start the pitch and let go of the ball above the broomstick. At that moment, the coach drops the stick and the pitcher needs to follow through with the motion of their hand.
I learned this particular drill from my own coach back in high school. And it greatly improved my curveballs. Even after all these years of doing different drills under different coaches, I still go back to that old one when I want to teach my youngsters the basics of curveballs.
Baseball Fielding Drills for 13-Year-Olds
Your fielders are your main line of defense against the enemy team scoring points. And without focusing on some critical fielding drills, you will not be able to teach them about teamwork and communication.
1. Left or Right
The left or right drill is a simple exercise to work on one of the key fundamentals of fielding, reflexes. I like to do this drill personally with a fielder who needs help with the basics. But if you like, you can pair up your players and have them practice it with each other.
In this drill, you stand in front of your partner, or player who is ready with his baseball gloves in the correct posture. When he is ready, you will throw the ball either to his left or his right. His job is to catch the ball. Remember to switch up the direction of your throw to train his reflexes.
The best thing about this drill is that it is equally effective whether the player is left-handed or right-handed.
Even professional players make mistakes. There is no shame in it, and if your player fumbles the ball, they need to learn how to recover from the mistake. That is where the revive drill shines. I like to do this drill with three players at a time. Two of them are throwers, and the other one is a catcher.
The first thrower starts with a ball in his hand. His job is to roll the ball, essentially replicating an error, while the other thrower needs to scoop it up and throw it towards the catcher in the base. Instruct your players to switch roles every once in a while so that everybody can gain from this drill.
3. Grounder T-Ball
The job of the defense is to learn to communicate and react to the situation. And the best way to replicate a real-game scenario is to play the game for real. Grounder T-Ball drill is a great way to get your fielders in shape and teach them the basics of teamwork and communication.
Instruct your fielders to spread out across the field in their proper positions. Then you take your position on the home plate with a batting tee ready to strike. Your job is to hit ground balls in different directions which the fielders have to scoop up and throw to the catchers on different bases.
Baseball Conditioning Drills for 13-Year-Olds
Conditioning drills are an essential part of becoming a good baseball player whether you are a pitcher, a hitter, or a fielder. You need to build up the physique and stamina of your players from a young age. And the following drills are best for training your youngsters to their peak physical fitness.
1. Progressive Sprints
This is my favorite drill to increase stamina and acceleration. You start by lining up five catcher’s mitts on the ground in a single line. Your players stand parallel to the mitts at a distance and on your signal run to the first mitt and come back. Then he rushes to the second mitt, returns, and so on.
2. Medicine Ball Drills
With a couple of medicine balls, you can build up the core strength of your players. There are many drills that you can make them do such as rotational throws, overhead slams, etc. For instance, instruct them to throw the ball in the air, catch it, squat, then repeat. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it.
Here’s to Getting Better
With so many good drills to choose from, it is quite hard to narrow it down to a select few. But personally, I have had good results with each and every one of the training plans that I listed above. Hopefully, with enough time, patience, and effort, so will you.
Make sure you communicate and get to know your squad in the meantime. I believe that the key factor in the sport is trusting each other and by talking to your team, you will be able to build up a good connection. If they trust in your methods, the drills would become even more effective. (For more drill ideas for 12-year-old baseball players, click here