Being a youth baseball coach is a big responsibility. You’re looked at to provide great advice and learning tools for young ballplayers. You’re also there to teach them fundamentals, sportsmanship, and team play, as well as life lessons.
Little league baseball is played in 80 countries with over 6,500 different leagues. Players range from 4-16 years old and coaches play a prominent role in their development both on and off the field.
Keep reading to learn some top youth baseball coaching tips.
As a youth baseball coach, your number one job is to teach the kids the fundamentals of the game. They need to learn how to field a ground ball and catch a pop fly properly.
They also need to be taught the swing mechanics and the correct way to throw the ball. Learning how to slide correctly is also important to prevent injuries.
As a little league coach, it’s your responsibility to know these fundamentals inside and out while communicating to young players how to perform these tasks.
Team play is a big aspect of little league, by teaching the kids how to play as a team, your also preparing them for the real world.
Most likely the kids will work in an environment where they need to get along with others and work as a team to accomplish a successful day on the job.
And if you’re lucky enough to have some players that go on to college or the pros, they’ll need the valuable foundation of understating the importance of teamwork.
Another important aspect of coaching youth baseball teams is teaching the players about sportsmanship. You need to make them understand the importance of being a good sport. And how it’s important not to play dirty.
Also, win or lose, the kids need to know how to conduct themselves. It’s ok to get upset, but they need to learn to be respectful of other players, coaches, and umpires.
Every athlete needs to focus on conditioning. The better shape you’re in, the better you’ll play. Plus, being flexible and as strong as possible, helps prevent injuries.
How to Run Practice
Effective coaches at all ages and skill levels prepare practice plans in advance and then stick to them when they’re out on the field.
Practice should not only be about working hard and learning. It should also be about having fun. Ninety-nine point nine percent of your players won’t play past high school. It’s important to emphasize fun to everyone.
The beginning of practice should start with a stretching routine. Then it’s time for a run around the field to get the player’s heart rate up and prepare them to play.
After the run, it’s time for infield and outfield practice. Hit ground balls to each infielder and some fly balls to the outfielders. Make sure to practice double plays and relay throws.
Now it’s time for batting practice. Each kid should get the same amount of swings. Twenty to twenty-five swings is a good number.
When batting practice is over, it’s time for a scrimmage. After the scrimmage, finish the practice off with another run around the field.
Keep It Positive
Negative reinforcement never works. It doesn’t help your players get better — it only breaks their spirits, demotivates them, and leads to fear, self-doubt and anxiety. Negative reinforcement undermines your efforts, whether your focus as a coach is on performance or on building life skills.
Never criticize players for mistakes or errors. They’re trying to perform up to your expectations. Players don’t want to let a ground ball roll under their glove or make a boneheaded move on the bases. Nobody is more embarrassed by a mistake than the player who made it. So keep your frustration in check and don’t exacerbate their sense of failure.
You’ve got some basic tips to pass on to your young baseball team. Teaching them fundamentals, teamwork, sportsmanship, and conditioning, will have your team ready to play. They’ll also take lessons from the field to real-life someday.
Take the time to implement these tips from the first day of practice and you’ll be a successful little league coach.