That time of year where dads (and some moms!) across the country volunteer their time to coach on the diamond in their local youth league.
Regardless of how much you know about the game or coaching, our staff of coaches has some helpful advice. We hope you implement some of these practices and share with your coaching friends!
Keep it simple.
No one is expecting you to dissect every player’s mechanics with coaching buzz words. Most youth players wouldn’t know what you’re talking about any way!
“Calling” pitches, having elaborate defensive plays/shifts, or expecting situational hitting just complicates the game.
Focus on BASICS, things that EVERYONE can do: proper bat/ball grip, athletic position when hitting/defense, hustle on/off field.
Keep it fun.
Hopefully, you know the game is very difficult! Factor in awkward growing bodies with short attention spans, and it can be extremely hard for youth players to consistently complete basic skills.
Be prepared to laugh with (not at) them at the many mistakes that are bound to happen!
Keep a fast pace at practice, no one wants a 30-minute demonstration. Keeping ‘em moving is more fun than boring them to death!
Keep it safe.
A large reason youth players quit the game, or become hesitant, is fear. Start off with throwing tennis balls for fly balls and catch until you get a better idea of who’s ready for hard balls.
If you can’t throw a strike in batting practice, alter it to front toss and tee work rather than throwing balls at or behind a player’s head. Make them feel safe every time they step on the field!
Keep it respectful.
It IS America’s pastime and players should learn to respect the game. Teach to not argue with umpires, throw equipment, and wear uniform and hat properly when on the the field.
The percentage of kids that return to the field NEXT season is much more important than your winning percentage THIS season. Help in growing the game more than growing your ego.