Coaching baseball in northern climates can be extremely challenging, as coaches are forced to train their players in confined, indoor spaces during the pre-season months. Furthermore, some high school baseball programs do not even have adequate gym space to get their players ready for spring, and are forced to conduct practices in hallways or even classrooms. In order to make these difficult situations work, baseball coaches must begin to see their resources for what they are, rather than for what they are not. Adopting this perspective will effectively eliminate all frustrations resulting from a lack of space.
Once this paradigm shift occurs, specific advantages to coaching baseball in small spaces can be realized. Consequently, the focus of practices can shift towards teaching skills and drills that work harmoniously with the environment, rather than against it.
While small spaces may not provide the ideal environment for taking batting practice or working on cut-offs, it is certainly conducive to developing position-specific baseball fundamentals. This includes proper footwork for middle infielders, crow hops for outfielders, throwing mechanics for all positions, hip rotation for hitters, and dynamic balance for pitchers.
For example, getting pitchers to go through their wind-up with a towel, a whiffle ball, or no ball at all allows the pitcher to fine tune his mechanics and make them habit. Simply having hitters rehearse their swing in slow motion enables them to concentrate on core fundamentals without being concerned with where the ball goes.
Ultimately, teaching position-specific baseball skills in confined spaces allows young athletes to primarily focus on mastering the basic fundamentals of a given skill long before they are asked to apply them in game situations.
Despite working with limited space, a solid foundation for athletic development and position-specific baseball skills can be effectively established. The first step is proactively focusing on what is possible, rather than reactively allowing the existence of limitations to excuse failure. This paradigm shift sets a great example for all young athletes to follow.