Baseball Coaching Procedures for a Smooth Season
Getting coaches to do the following things can create a peaceful and upbeat season for everyone – coaches, players, parents and baseball leagues.
In this day and age, it is hard to get through the season without having unhappy parents, players, and coaches. Team turmoil and less enjoyable than expected coaching experiences are the new standards. It does not have to be that way if baseball leagues would insist that their baseball coaches follow the following guidelines.
Most baseball coaches bring on the turbulence by failing to do the things that keep everyone contented. In this age of pressure and high expectations, parents expect excellence from their kids, and when that does not come, which it rarely does, baseball coaches catch much of the blame.
Coaches can avert some of that pressure and expectations by doing the following things before the season, in practice and during games. Some coaches and leagues may not agree with all of these, but the discussion needs to start now. It’s time to bring youth sports back to its intended purpose – for the kids.
Coaching Tips once deciding to coach:
- The hardest game of all – Baseball, hands down. Not only are the skills impossible to master, everything is out in the wide open for all to see. A player messes up, and all see it, and there is nowhere to hide. Most sports have scrums where each little mistake goes unnoticed, not so in baseball. With all that in mind, coaches should keep their patience high and expectations low.
- Bring the gusto. There is no excuse for coaches not to bring the energy and passion to the field each day. When kids seem bored, coaches should look within themselves to fix that lack of player enthusiasm.
- Get on the calendar early. Coaches should schedule out their practice schedule as far in advance as possible. Families are busy and waiting too long to plan things means team practices with few participants.
Baseball Coaching Procedures from the First Day
Coaching suggestions before practices begin – All of these need addressing and consent from player’ parents. When parents do not agree to these, hopefully, it is not too late for them to find a new team for their child. Things to address at beginning with parents – some are age dependent
- Coaches will adhere to equal playing time over the course of the season for all players and will keep charts for parents to see that occurrence. The one caveat to that philosophy and another thing all must agree to is the plan for kids who miss multiple practices due to not illness reasons. Fairness may include more time for the players who never miss as accountability deserves a reward, too.
- Players will have to earn their primary position and maintain production to keep those spots.
- However, coaches will practice players at multiple positions and use them in games at various positions at times throughout the season, too.
- Only the head coach talks to umpires and that is only for the clarification of rules, not for blown calls.
- Coaches must explain the dangers of social media – once in print, things get back to people so all must be careful of gossip, second guessing, and negative talk.
- Coaches have the obligation to teach interested parents the things players are working on and how they can help players at home. Getting everyone teaching the same things helps kids’ baseball development. Many parents want to help and are going to do it whether coaches want them to or not, so everyone may as well teach the same things. Coaches will set aside a specific time for parent discussions for that purpose. A few minutes before or after practices should suffice.
- However, games and practices are the coaching staff’s time with the players and parents should keep their distance from them.
- Team rule – any time a parent disrupts the game with their behavior, their child sits the rest of game. If done after games, their child sits the next game.
- If parents have concerns, they must call at a later time and not right after games.
Baseball Coaching Procedures for Practice Sessions
- From day one, coaches should tell players they expect hustle, listening and trying the things coaches suggest.
- Coaches should have a written agenda before each session and send it to other coaches beforehand.
- Practice should begin on time and coaches should teach during warmups. If they want to set the agenda and address anything, it should come after a little work when all players have arrived.
- Short demonstrations and explanations are better than drawn out talks and spending too much time on the same things.
- Coaches must explain where and when kids throw and swing and be vigilant that players follow their instructions. Safety must always be a top priority.
- Small group stations are useful for keeping kids active and attentive.
- A few ice packs must be on hand for every game and practice.
- Coaches must be careful when coaching, so players do not stop to look at the coach and be in harm’s way of a ball.
- Competition and contests are always enough to pick up player enthusiasm. Contests should have all players win at various times, so coaches may have to challenge people more or less.
- Challenging players according to their ability is important as well as explaining that process to players, so some do not feel picked on.
- Recognizing effort over results is the best coaching policy.
Baseball Coaching Procedures for Games
24. Let players make in action decisions
25. Do not overload players with information before plays either.
26. Post lineups and player changes by inning ahead of time, when possible
27. Take game notes, so coaches recall what to work on and with who.
28. Have short coaches meeting after practices and games to see where improvement can come in the future.
As implied, baseball leagues and organizations can tweak any of these they like, but these simple measures can help make kids’ baseball experiences fun again.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is in the works. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte at YouTube with over 80 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.