2019 is getting under wayUpdated Thursday July 11, 2019 by Kris Killen.
Running the bases and while on defense, Tee-Ball is just another version of tag. Playing tag is almost a daily rite at recess for kids ages 5-7. The central thought for these kids is the runner being safe at a base or being tagged out. Throwing skills, fielding skills, catching a throw at a base for a force out and even batting skills are secondary to the concept of 'safe' versus 'tagged out'. As we get into teaching skills and the basics to our kids, we must keep in mind that elements of 'tag' and being 'safe' will drive much of how the kids respond to activities on the field.
On offense, when the ball is in play, the kids' experience is a mad dash of anxiety in hopes of getting to the next base safely. They are not particularly conscious of the times when they are going to get to the next base without a play being made on them.
Some kids, because of the fact that when they are running between bases they are not 'safe', will be reluctant to leave a base even when play forces them to the next base, especially when it is clear they are vulnerable to being tagged out (or put out at the next base).
The defensive side of the ball is where the majority of our teaching challenges lie. For our kids this game of tag is a little more complicated because throwing and catching that darn ball doesn't always work out real well. Then, to make matters worse, we add the concept of tagging a base as an option for getting a runner out.
And we are trying to teach these concepts in an environment where simply being the one who comes up from the bottom of the pile with the ball is plenty to call it a successful day.