Saturday Secrets to Great Baseball Coaching – Coaching Transitions for Adapting to Field Size
The size of the field changes for youth ballplayers every couple of years, up until the high school sized field, so game strategy changes with those increases, too. Coaches must be aware of these strategy changes, so they teach the game correctly, as well as to help them win games. Additionally, coaches must stay up on rule changes from age to age also as each level has different rules. Often, there are even different rules from tournament to tournament even at the same age levels. Coaches must be sure to read all tourney and league rules, so their team is not at a disadvantage. Of course, most important is staying on top of the pitching rules for youth arm protection and for weekly pitching strategy.
It is a big jump when kids go from the little league sized field to the teenage level field and an even bigger one from the teenage field to the high school diamond, which is the same as the professional sized fields.
5 Biggest Coaching Transitions to Make
- Base-running strategy changes as the base paths get longer – at the younger levels, fast players often outrun the ball. The bigger field dimensions changes that ability and coaches and players must realize the ball moves faster than any runner, especially at the travel and high school levels.
- Covering first – at the young levels of baseball, the second baseman covers first base on balls hit towards first. As the field grows, pitchers cover first base on balls hit to the right side of the field.
- Cutoff and relay plays become much more prominent as the field size grows. Players must be in the correct spots to adequately defense the batted ball or unnecessary runs will be let up. The most important change involves the pitchers role as mainly a backup role on throws to bases and the double cutoff play to prevent balls from rolling away unnecessarily.
- More foul territory and more room to the home plate backstops – this change makes it all the more important for coaches to coach players when and where to back up bases.
- Strength of Arms – because of all the above factors, recognizing the arm-strength of players on own team and opposing teams determines how to run bases and defense the opposing teams running game.
Many coaches (dads) move up with their teams at each age level, so they must stay up on these game-coaching transitions.