Coaching Kids Baseball – Live up to Your Coaching Philosophy
Often, adults, parents and coaches, are hypocritical, when coaching kids baseball.
I see it all the time with coaching kids baseball. Coaches say one thing and seem to mean it, and then proceed to act very upset when kids do as told. For example, coaches constantly tell batters to be aggressive and not just look for walks, then get all upset when they swing at one bad pitch. Another common example has coaches preach an aggressive base running philosophy, and then coaches go crazy when kids run aggressively but are out doing just that. Then there is the coach who slams the dugout after the pitcher grooves a pitch, after insisting that pitchers challenge batters and throw strikes.
All of these are common occurrences with coaching kids’ baseball, where coaches preach one philosophy and then get very upset when kids do exactly what coaches ask. Of course, this is not just a youth coaching situation, as many coaches of all levels display the same behavior. However, coaches at higher levels of baseball can expect more from players than coaches of youth baseball should.
These mixed messages of preaching one way to play and then getting all upset when players play that way, turns kids off to baseball, or at least to the coach. It is one of the leading causes of players losing respect for coaches.
Of course, it is OK to feel disappointment, when players do not perform the way coaches hope, but actively showing displeasure is not the way to go. It is mandatory that youth coaches follow their coaching philosophy when coaching kids’ baseball and not give off those confusing mixed messages. Coaches must learn to understand when players are following the coaching philosophy and when they are not following it by analyzing players’ actions objectively.
Coaching Kids Baseball with Consistency
Coaches must first develop their coaching philosophy as it applies to hitting, pitching, fielding, and base running. Often, the abilities of the players determine the coaching philosophy that best suits the team. For example, teams that lack speed may have to be more of a base-to-base team, hoping for the long ball, without much base stealing.
Next, coaches consistently explain this team philosophy as the season progresses.
Next, coaches must recognize players’ intent after performing plays – was it in accordance with the coaching philosophy the coach teaches?
Finally, based on that recognition coaches coach accordingly and with patience, helping kids understand when their actions are counter-productive to the team goals.
Good coaches let players make their own game decisions during play without over coaching them, and coach after plays, so kids learn from their mistakes. In that way, coaching kids baseball is enjoyable and the proper learning environment for all. As teams adapt to the team coaching philosophy, a greater chance of winning usually occurs, too.