Best Baseball Coaching Tips for Youth Coaching
You will notice below that my top baseball coaching tips for youth do not involve endless work on batting. So many coaches set up their early season baseball practice drills with only hitting in mind and little regard for other parts of the game. Unless teams are working with an experienced hitting coach, using the time on batting is an exercise in reinforcing bad hitting habits. Gaining timing for youth does not take long, so endless batting sessions are wasteful. The time may be better spent on learning other parts of the game, especially fielding skills. Sometimes, logistics dictate what teams can do in cold weather states because batting cages are easier to find than space for defensive situations. However, with creative use of small areas, coaches can maximize their team’s development and knowledge of baseball strategy.
If youth baseball coaches ever have the opportunity, they should get to major league spring training. Getting any chance to see the best players in the world prepare for the season and play is special. But, the best part is the opportunity to observe the daily and detailed baseball practice plans that go into a major league teams’ preparation. The key word there is detail, as the major league coaches leave no base uncovered with their baseball drills and training programs. Youth baseball drills do not have to be as comprehensive as they are at the higher levels of baseball. But, they should include some game strategy work as part of every baseball practice. Safety concerns should always be a priority with inexperienced youth players.
Top Baseball Coaching Tips for Spring Training
- Have softer safety balls available. Soft baseballs are especially necessary indoors, where lighting is shaky. Safety balls avoid those injuries that make some players shy away from balls for the rest of the season. Additionally, challenging players is much easier with safe balls, so players develop much quicker.
- Learn to wait until plays and throws are over before speaking. Young baseball players often stop when talked to and forget the other player may not do the same. Coach players to listen without stopping to watch what is going on around them.
- Have an erasable clipboard or chalkboard available to diagram plays and positioning.
- Use video analysis when players do not seem to grasp what they are doing, but use it quickly and do not fall in love with it. Watching too much video wastes time and becomes monotonous.
- Use batting cages for fielding baseball drills some of the time, not just for hitting. Many ground ball drills are efficient in batting cages because players do not have to chase missed balls.
- Find video clips online of various baseball plays to show teams. For instance, having players watch the defense of the bunt is easier than trying to explain it verbally.
- Have communication drills at one of the first practices. The baseball language and communication skills for game strategy takes time to learn but helps avoid collisions. Simple things like having players practice yelling, “I got it,” and “You take it” are indispensable baseball coaching tips
- Use base running and fielding drills as a way to work on conditioning, instead of laps and sprints.
- Monitor arm soreness in players. Even minor soreness should be taken seriously with players advised to rest and ease up with any developing arm issues.
- Keep hitting practice emphasis on the fundamentals and not the results at the start.
Finally, coaches should avoid having too many early season practice sessions, before increasing the number closer to the season’s start. It’s a long year ahead and burning kids out is possible. Quality time trumps quantity every time. Of course, tops on every baseball coaching tips list are making things enjoyable for players by providing patient and enthusiastic coaching.