Sunday Setting Sights on Success
Necessary Coaching Training Tips
A high school coaching friend of mine recently said that the biggest problem he has at the high school level is kids not knowing the game and especially with what to do with the ball on defense. My question to him was, “How can that be, with kids playing more games than ever in this age of travel baseball?
Unfortunately, coaches are not required to have training to coach youth baseball. Most leagues require background checks, but those have nothing to do with knowing the game or having skills to work with youth. Some baseball leagues offer pre-season coaching clinics, but often they are not mandatory and there is no follow up to these clinics. Additionally, coaching training has gone backwards in recent years with the popularity of travel baseball, as anyone can start a team, with little or no coaching training necessary.
Coaching training should be required at all levels of baseball. Leagues and organizations need to step up and offer and demand coaching training for youth baseball. The proper coaching training goes a long way towards helping kids get to the high school level with adequate knowledge of how to play the game and trained coaches helps kids be all they can be. The following coaching tips, so coaches can “Be all they can be” should be required reading for all youth baseball coaches.
Coaching Training for Practices
- Plan every practice and pregame – this plan is preferably written with precise practice drills, skills and amount of time to work on each. Of course, coaches should build a little flexibility into their practice schedule.
- Set expectations for coaches and players – along with having detailed practice plans, head coaches should explain to other coaches and players what they are expected to learn by the end of that day’s practice
- Offer something different and variety – keeping practice vital and exciting by varying the practice structure is good to avoid boredom. For example, beginning one practice with base running and the next with game play etc… works well to keep kids excited about practice
- Review practices after with other coaches to see how effective they were and for making future adjustments. Constant review is great for positive coaching training.
Coaching Training for Games
- Help players learn to deal with adversity – this may be the most important thing coaches can do for players, as adversity will come in youth baseball, and learning to deal with it is necessary. One of my favorite statements when kids fail is, “It won’t be the last time.”
- Remember games are for kids, practices are for coaches – getting these two confused leads to the incorrect coaching perspective.
- Forget bad plays and stay focused on the present and future – good coaches realize they cannot change what happened and look for the next pitch, while thinking an inning or two ahead. Obviously, this coaching method takes a lot of coaching experience to master.
- Never fail to thank team and other coaches for their efforts
Finally, good coaches go into practices and games assuming the best for that day. Negative thinking coaches do not last long in youth baseball or ruin the fun of the game for youth ball players. Following these coaching training tips can help coaches and players “Be all they can be.”