February 24 – Friday Five Tool Tip
Conditioning and Disciplining Wayward Players
I am not a big believer in using running and such extra physical activity as punishment because that is how kids begin to interpret physical activity, as punishment. Additionally, it is time taken away from practicing baseball. As we know in today’s society, physical activity is crucial, so we want kids to look at it as necessary, which it is, if not fun. Physical activity can easily be included in team practices in the form of stretching, base running, and team defensive drills that require running and can be made into fun activities by good coaches.
Having said that, I believe coaches need a way to make the point to kids that it is not acceptable to goof off, not pay attention, and ignore team rules. Extra running and other forms of physical activity are means of getting the point across; however, this is best done as a whole and never just with the offending individual. When one player needs discipline, the whole team runs. Maybe not fair, but coaches should explain this rule at the beginning of the season. In this manner, other players will inform wayward players that shaping up and getting with the program is necessary.
Coaches should not abuse this extra activity idea to where players build up animosity towards the coach because, after all, it is youth sports. When this running does not seem to work, coaches may have to have a sit down with the player first, possibly followed by a sit down with his or her parents.