As the season starts, you want to start the team out with good practice habits and let them know what is expected of them. Youth sports is unlike a school team sport and you cannot force a player to practice or even force them to be on time. Remember, the kid doesn't drive himself to practice. On the other hand, it is usually the kid who is causing the parent to delay departing from home (lost caps, gloves, shoes tied in a knot, etc.) and causing them to arrive late.

Practices usually are short with no wasted time, so if a player is fifteen minutes late, he misses needed information and practice time. I have an easy way to encourage players to arrive early, and still keep it fun.

As players arrive to practice, I give each a number and they keep that number throughout the practice. Whoever arrives first is number one and when it comes to batting practice or other drills, he or she goes first. The players remember this and after a couple of practices, you will notice the difference with players arriving early to get a good number.  You as the coach should be there first anyway and already setup for the practice. If players arrive before you, ask them what their numbers were.  They will let you know.

Make sure you establish an official arrival point (like the dugout or a fence). This removes any debate when it comes to who "arrived" first. It really gets fun when 3 or 4 players arrive about the same time, jump out of their cars, and sprint to the practice point while they lug their bags and water jugs. It can get competitive. I had kids throwing water jugs to the fence to claim a higher number, so I had to make a rule. The fence had to be touched with a hand.

Adding to this is some extra motivation.  Highest number packs up the gear bag after practice. This keeps a player from wanting to be last to arrive.  This works great for games too.

Practices, especially early in the season, will set the tone for a successful and fun season. The kids take notice when the coach arrives early and organized.