Drill: ESPN Top Ten Drill
If you've ever seen SportsCenter then you've most likely seen the Top Ten. This is the Top Ten daily plays from the sports world. You can make up variations of the drill but basically it goes like this. I'll use groundballs with a throw to first as the drill.
- Line the kids up at the shortstop position in a single line going out into the outfield. Have one player at first.
- Hit one standard groundball to the first fielder in line.
- He must field the ball cleanly or knock it down in front of him and then make a good throw to first.
- If he doesn't accomplish that then he goes to the back of the line.
- If he does accomplish it, then the second groundball is the ESPN Top Ten attempt. Have him point where he wants the ball to be hit: left, right, straight ahead.
- Do your best to hit the ball where he wants it or throw it if it will be easier.
- The player then makes a forehand catch with a spinning throw to first, or a backhand dive followed by a throw to first. A slow roller barehanded and a throw to first.
- Give them a couple examples before you start the drill and then let them get creative.
- After each ESPN Top Ten play the rest of the team and coaches can judge the play by giving it a number between 1 and 10. 1 in this case is the best as it's the top play of the day.
You can do this with fly balls and a throw to second base. Even batting practice can have the last swing be a chance at the ESPN Top Ten.
The thing I really like about this drill is you can emphasize working hard on a skill in order to participate in the ESPN play and when kids stretch themselves to make difficult plays, they are becoming better players! You get the benefit of them having fun while trying to perform a difficult skill.
Maybe you give a motivational patch (cheap plug for motivational patches that I sell) or some other reward for players that get a 1 from most of the team.
Hints: If you do this with your whole team you have to make sure it moves along quickly. If you need to throw the ball from a closer range to be more accurate. Tell the kids they have to do the best with the one attempt. It will really slow down if you give the same kid 4 or 5 chances.
Also don't take long on the voting. After the play the kids should be yelling a score. You pick out what you think you hear the most of and assign the final score. Your the final say!