10 Baseball Observations when on the Bench
Coaches often implore players to keep their heads in games when sitting on the bench. The problem is that players often do not know what that means. Additionally, having players with wandering minds is not only a youth baseball thing. Many older experienced players fail to pay attention to what is going on in games, too. It is not unheard of for upper level players to fail to know who they follow in the batting order.
Over the course of the season, coaches should teach players things they should observe during games. Youth players should learn the necessary situations before moving to sophisticated baseball situations. These baseball observations help teams gain an edge and win. The best part is that these player baseball observations free coaches to concentrate on game strategy. They do not have to be running around yelling, “Who is up next, “Who is supposed to be in left field” and “Where did you last put your hat?” Just as satisfying, others notice a well-coached team as players always know where to be and seem to have their heads in games.
Basic Baseball Observations Coaches must Teach
- Know batting order and one’s place in it. Players should begin to prepare when they are” in the whole,” the baseball phrase for the player who is after the on-deck batter. It is common for two players in a row to have quick at-bats, and the following player is not ready. Even players who are not in the game at the time should know the batting order. They can then mentally prepare for possible pinch hitting duties.
- Know where one’s glove, hat, bat and all necessary equipment is at all times. Coaches have enough to think about without having to help round up players’ misplaced equipment. As mentioned, this occurs at the higher levels of ball too. Coaches ask for a pinch runner only to find out the player does not have their spikes on.
- Always know the score of the game and inning. I believe it is important for even the youngest of players to know the score at any time. Even at non-competitive levels, knowledge of the score and inning helps keeps player focus. At the competitive levels of baseball, the score and inning help players learn how to handle game situations.
- Cheer on teammates and relay any pertinent game strategy that may assist other players. This attitude may seem obvious, but some players only think of themselves and fail to be team players.
More Advanced Baseball Observations Players should make
- Know the pitcher’s speed, control, pitches, pitch pattern, rhythm and move to first. Players can also observe some of these even before the game begins by watching between inning and bullpen warm up pitches.
- Keep an eye on the catcher’s arm and for lazy actions on balls thrown back to the mound. Some catchers lob balls back to the pitcher and do not observe the runners after each pitch. Base runners can take advantage of this at an opportune time.
- Check on middle infielders with runners on base after pitches. Like the above observation, infielders, especially middle ones, often relax after pitches. That relaxation may provide an opportunity for delayed steals.
- Watch third base and first basemen for positioning. Some corner infielders play in the same spot batter after batter. That may give the offense a chance to take advantage of that with the bunting game or for hitting strategy.
- Watch for lazy outfielders and cutoff men. Runners may be able to advance an extra base when the defense tends to go through the motions on routine plays.
- Know the field conditions. Good coaches consider the field and conditions, and players should learn to do the same as they gain experience.
As implied, players should use some these findings at the most opportune time. The best strategy may be to wait to take advantage of a lazy catcher until the game is on the line. Taking advantage early in the game alerts the catcher for later in games.
Finally, player baseball observations are only possible when players are present. Little frustrates coaches more than seeing players screwing around, in the clubhouse, in the stands, talking to fans, or at the concession stand.