Saturday Secrets to Great Youth Baseball Coaching
Simple Winning Baseball Strategies
I do not believe in a win at all cost youth coaching philosophy, nor at any level of baseball, for that matter. However, playing to win at the youth level is OK and good, because competition is what sport is about. Using these baseball strategies can help youth teams win and play the game better.
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Most people do not realize the amount of strategy involved at the higher levels of baseball. Baseball coaching strategy at the higher levels is micromanaged down to the smallest details, as statistics exist on all aspects to help formulate baseball strategy. Of course, youth baseball is not nearly as detailed, but using these baseball strategies can help teams have success.
The goal is simple: on offense, get players on base and on defense, keep players off base. This baseball goal is the same at all levels, but the implementation at the youth level is different than at the higher levels of baseball.
The implementation is different because youth level defenses are obviously not as good as the upper levels of baseball, so the more times a defense has to handle the ball, the better the opportunity to score runs, especially with runners on base.
Winning Baseball Strategies
With that in mind on offense, youth coaches should:
- Implement a mandatory two strike hitting approach that will put the ball in play and avoid strikeouts. This mandatory approach has players choke up on the bat and hit with no stride. Both of these methods produce more contact.
- Utilize the bunting game more, especially when facing strikeout pitchers. Once again, just getting the ball in play helps the offense as more defensive plays must be made.
On Defense, youth coaches should:
- Play the infield shallow – more runners get on base at the youth levels because players cannot throw runners out on fielded balls. With the infield playing shallower, chances of outs on fielded balls increase. Even though a few more ground balls may get through the infield because of the shallower infield depths, the increased outs on fielded balls are well worth it.
- Put a very good defensive player at first base – the first baseman touches more balls than any player besides the catcher and is often more valuable at first then at shortstop.
- Pitch kids, who throw strikes and not just the strongest armed kids. Avoiding walks is well worth it at the young levels.
Of course, there are often rules for playing kids so many innings so coaches must determine when players are at various positions. Also, it is good to have kids play different positions at the youth level, so coaches must be mindful of this and having kids learn different positions, at least in practice. Coaches can still employ these baseball strategies to increase their chances of winning.