As I’m coaching youth softball, to keep the players’ attention and make practice important to my players (7yrs –9yrs old), I select team captains and give them a job that would be important to them.
I give them criteria for being captain, for example: They need to show that they are paying attention and listening when I am talking to them, which in turn keeps them from disrupting those around them, or if I see that they are improving in a certain area. Then at the end of practice we choose a goofy drill to make things light hearted and show them that their hard work will pay off!!
To promote communication I line the kids up side by side on the outfield fowl line and either throw or hit grounders and fly balls between them so that they have to decide who will get the ball and who will call off and back up.
They have to yell out their decision so that they are communicating with everyone. It gets them to envision the invisible boundaries and not to cross them. That they can’t all get the ball all of the time.
You can make it fun by calling out the person you want to catch it at the last minute and see if they can adjust quickly!!!