Talking Points for Opening Baseball Talk
Whether I was running a baseball camp, clinic, or coaching a team, I always felt like the opening baseball talk, at the first practice, was the key to setting the stage for everything to follow. I am not into long speeches with youth players, but just this one time, I ask that they try to stay with me on this initial one. Once again, it details the whole philosophy for the upcoming season or program. Additionally, players are more likely to pay attention at the start, as opposed to when they begin to feel comfortable with their surroundings, after the first baseball practice or two. The opening baseball talk is a rallying point to enthuse players with the attitude of “yes I, and we, can do this.”
A couple of other things that are good to do at this initial baseball talk is to begin it after allowing kids to warm up first, as they are more likely to sit and listen after getting some initial energy out of them. Secondly, I encourage parents to also hang around and listen in on this talk, too, so everyone is on the same page. Parents are more likely to remember the key talking points than young players are and I encourage parents to reinforce those with the players throughout the season. It is important to impress three things on players and parents – that the coaches know what they are talking about, are committed, and that players must commit too.
Key talking points for first baseball talk
* The coaching staff is here for you, collectively and individually. Guys, girls, no matter how upset we seem to get, and hopefully that is not often, or how loud we say things, also hopefully not often, we only do that because we care about you.
* As for our goals, I want players and parents to think long term. It is not the players who are best at the beginning but the players who improve the most that have the best chance of future success. If baseball is your favorite sport, have the goal of making the freshman baseball team, followed by playing four years of high school and I guarantee that will be one of the best experiences of your lives.
* There is no substitute for the fundamentals. Doing things fundamentally correct is the only avenue to long-term improvement and success. You can continue to have short-term success with athletic talent, but success down the road, when the competition gets better, only comes with doing things with the correct fundamentals.
* Improvement only comes when you commit to working hard at organized practices and away from practices. Most players who work hard will eventually pass up the more talented players, who do not put in the work.
* Improvement begins by listening, trying the suggestions, and practicing those things when you leave here.
* The more positions you learn at a young age only helps in the future, so do not be overly concerned when asked to play different positions than the one you are used to playing.
* Do not be afraid to fail, because whether you are afraid or not, you will fail.
* We will learn from our failures.
The last thing I want to impress upon them is that the above things will never change as the season wears on. The coaches will stay focused on the above: improvement over the whole season, insistence on the fundamentals, hard work, versatility, and learning from failure. Finally, it is important to note that this baseball talk has no mention of winning.