The Art to Giving Baseball Lessons
I am in my 25th year of giving baseball lessons and the cool thing is that I am still learning as I go. I am not only learning new tricks of the coaching baseball trade, but also learning how to more effectively work with players. There is an art to working with each player according to their personality. With some players, coaches can work them harder physically, get more technical with, and challenge physically and mentally, than they can with other players. Coaching youth is not a one teaching method works for all and doing the wrong thing with a player can turn them off to baseball, or at least, to baseball lessons.
As implied, all kids are different and providing the right touch with each individual is crucial to them earning the coach’s trust. It is important that baseball coaches observe how much players wants to be there, as often, parents are the only reason the child takes lessons. This determination tells the coach how hard they can work the player. Over doing the workload and insisting players work harder, usually backfires with kids, who are unsure they want to be there. On the other side is the player, who wants to work hard and gets bored when coaches talk too much, without the physical work.
Coaches, who are good readers of players’ personalities, have the best chance at succeeding with teaching baseball lessons. Of course, providing high quality information is a given, no matter the individual. What individuals do with that quality coaching is up to them.
Top Tips for Giving Baseball Lessons
- Get a grip on players’ personality, so coaches know how hard to work players. Over working or under working a player may turn them off, so learning the player’s personality is very important. Most kids are a little nervous, at first, so that is to be expected.
- Try to get a hold on attending parent’s personality also – parents have personalities ranging from the over involved to the “I don’t care, just make them better” personality. That determination influences how to take the course of the instruction, too.
- Expecting players to understand and be able to perform everything correctly immediately is an unrealistic expectation of many player parents, so coaches must caution them from thinking that all players improve immediately.
- There are usually only a couple of things that players need to do to improve quickly, so finding that one or two drills that help the most pays immediate dividends.
- The “keep it simple method” is always best – over loading players with too much to think about or do is not good. Designating short term and long term goals is also good, as many muscle memory fixes take time.
- Challenging students is best, but only after they are ready for that – over challenging players immediately is demoralizing for many young players, whereas praise and confidence building, at first, is always a good plan. Knowing how to challenge players up to a certain point, and then backing off a little, is a key to great baseball lessons.
- Showing enthusiasm, encouragement, and belief that players can get it, is the attitude coaches should have, no matter how discouraged players get.
- Most kids have short attention spans and get bored quickly, so adding variety to the baseball lessons is important, especially for those not enthused to be there.
- Using demonstration, pictures, and video, when possible, as that saves a lot of time and words, is a good coaching technique.
- Give homework, but with the instructions, that doing something the right way a few times is better than a ton of practice the wrong way.
Baseball lessons should be a joint learning session between players, coaches, and interested parents. Sure, the session should be enjoyable, but the fun part follows, when coaches give kids the impression that they truly care that players improve and when results come. Caring that players improve is the best thing baseball coaches can do for players, even beyond making it fun for them and beyond player improvement, as there is no guarantee of that.