I have been coaching baseball fundamentals for twenty-seven years now. It took me some years to learn them, though. I am proof that having played at the highest level is no guarantee one knows what they are doing. But after years of study, I figured out some things. But, coaching baseball fundamentals in the most efficient manner is always a work in progress. Thinking back on all the coaching, there are five words (concepts) that are most prominent when teaching the skills and strategy of baseball.
5 keys to coaching baseball fundamentals
1. See – Coaches are always insisting that players pay attention. See the ball, see the target, see the pitcher’s arm angle, delivery, and move to first. See the defense’s positioning, see how the catcher throws and see the ball hit the bat. The list of seeing is endless in games, and necessary when demonstrating drills and techniques in practice. Players who see how to do things develop good visualization skills. The sense of sight leads to better performance of everything baseball.
2. Feel – The next concept and word I use often is “feel.” Once players have a picture in their minds, they must learn to feel, so they can decipher right from wrong. Players cannot make changes until they feel what is going on. I can tell them a million times what they are doing, but until they feel it, change does not come. Many youth athletes have trouble “feeling” their actions and cannot fix the skills. The ability to feel body movements when throwing, swinging and fielding is the second stage of learning and adjustments.
3. Again – Once players can see the correct baseball actions and feel them, it is not an automatic thing to do them. Baseball, like all sports, is a game of repetition. Players have to repeat actions to improve them. As a coach, I am always telling players to do it over and over again. Muscle memory change takes enormous amounts of repetition and a coach is there to say “One more time.”
4. Faster – Once ballplayers have a good picture, feel and practice habits, they must learn to do things speedier. More bat, arm, foot and ball transfer speed is necessary to play baseball at the higher levels. I am always exhorting my players to do things swifter, even though that brings mistakes. Practice is all about doing things quicker, not safer, so players develop the skills to reach their potential.
5. Stay – Of all the words used by baseball coaches, “stay” is the one most used. Just for the fundamentals of hitting the word is used a great deal. “Stay back,” “Stay inside the ball,” “Stay behind the ball” “Stay square,” “Stay up the middle” are a few examples. Many instances of “stay” for fielding, throwing and baserunning are familiar, too.
Finally, of all the coaching baseball fundamentals, none are more important than “Stay focused,” “Stay ready” and “Stay balanced.”
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years and writes of his experiences with over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth. Combining his playing, coaching and patenting experiences he continues to help create better baseball and sporting experiences for both athletes and their parents with his writings. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete,” with his third book “Creating a Season to Remember” in the works. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. Plug in Jack Perconte at YouTube and find over 80 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos or watch them here.