I found my younger players getting quickly bored with some of our standard drills and they were making fundamental mistakes when just practicing throwing, catching and fielding exercises. We had a particularly bad training session and they were becoming very despondent. I realized they needed COMPETITION!!
I prepared 6 blue and 6 red bandanas, wrapped them up and put them into a bucket. When they arrived for training, each one in turn reached into the bucket and pulled out one bandana. These were then their teams. They immediately had that sense of competition and a new determination was instilled in them.
We then had drills where they competed against each other.
Their favorite one was where I gave them a large bucket each, placed half way in the diamond.
They split up with 3 in each team on opposite sides of the diamond. Each one was to take a throw in turn and keep the rotation going until their points total was achieved.
The object was to line up a throw and hit the bucket (5 points) or get it into the bucket (10 points). First team to 50 won.
What it taught them:
Throwing straight and hard.
If they missed the bucket, the throw had to be fielded by their opposite player.
The importance of backing up your team mate — they wasted a lot of time if the ball was missed.
When the bucket was hit, they had to quickly replace the bucket, fetch the ball and get back into position for their next throw.
So — that meant they developed their throwing skills, their fielding skills and backing up all in one drill.
They often continued the game up to 100 points as they improved and just wanted to BEAT the other team.
We let them re-draw their bandanas the following week, so they didn’t always play on the same sides.
Overall, they became sharper and enjoyed the competition aspect.