Coaching Youth Baseball Observations from Experience
The first few weeks of the season are crucial for coaching youth baseball and the time that coaches should take advantage of, as coaching youth baseball gets more difficult as the season wears on.
Having just finished a holiday youth baseball camp, I was reminded of a couple of things that I notice every year about coaching youth baseball at the beginning of the season, as opposed to coaching later on in the year.
This time of year (the beginning of baseball practice), kids:
- Enthusiasm for baseball is sky high
- Bad habits seem to be less than normal
- Are extremely receptive to what the coaches teach
- Make mechanical changes easier than normal
Perfect Coaching Youth Baseball Environment
Of course, each of those observations lead to the other, in a great cycle that promotes learning, as enthusiasm leads to reception, followed by the willingness and ability to change. That is a coach’s dream of course, the perfect coaching environment. As mentioned, coaches must take advantage of it early, as this perfect coaching environment changes relatively soon.
Those observations had me thinking of the “why,” for that perfect coaching environment.
Why Coaching Youth Baseball Early is Crucial
- Most kids have had a nice break away from the game, so the excitement of getting back to playing some baseball is there.
- Players have no pressure on them yet, as the season is far off and expectations are at a minimum at the start, so attentions spans are at their highest.
- Players have not been inundated with “do this, do that” instruction, so they listen and are willing to try things more. As the season wears on, hearing the same instructional things repeatedly, leads to kids letting it go in one ear and out the other ear.
- Because they have not been performing bad habits on the break, habits aren’t as ingrained as during the season, so new, better habits are easier to form from scratch, as opposed to making changes later.
With all that in mind, it is paramount that coaches are ready, and at their best, for the first few weeks of practice to take advantage of this unique coaching environment. Once expectations, habits, and instruction-inundation come into play, coaching youth baseball gets more difficult.