Baseball Coaching Tips – Safety Begins with the Coach
Recently, there was a tragic youth baseball accident in my neighborhood. As mentioned, it was an accident. Unfortunately, they happen and are unavoidable. It certainly caused youth baseball coaches and baseball parents to take pause.
Baseball, like all sports, has its inherent safety issues. The ball and bat are hard objects and can cause a great deal of harm to players. Likewise, injuries from diving, sliding, and collisions are common occurrences in baseball. Because of that, an absolute priority for coaches is to put safety first. This is not always easy for untrained and inexperienced youth baseball coaches.
Once again, accidents are accidents, but some are avoidable with alert adult supervision. Necessary baseball coaching tips as telling players to be sure their catch partner is looking before they release balls is necessary coaching advice. In addition, having softer baseballs available, for some of the more dangerous drills, is a good idea when working with younger baseball players.
It is hard to have eyes everywhere and to keep things perfectly safe but the following list helps youth baseball coaches to prevent some injuries. First, having ice, or an ice substitute, and a first aid kit at every game and practice is mandatory.
Baseball Coaching Tips – Safety is Top Priority
- Explaining when and where kids are allowed to swing their bats is necessary, as well as teaching them to look around them before taking practice swings.
- Coaches must be careful when they instruct – telling kids something as they are playing catch or batting can be dangerous because often, kids stop and look at you, which means they are vulnerable to being hit by ball; best to stop action before instructing, especially with young players.
- Likewise, where and when players throw balls is crucial. Making sure players line up in the same direction when throwing as well as having them rejoin the line before throwing balls back, after overthrows, is a good rule. Reminding kids to be careful chasing balls that get away from them, when others are throwing and swinging in the vicinity, is necessary.
- Helmets, helmets, helmets – Players should be required to wear them always when batting, no matter the speed the pitcher is throwing or the type ball used.
- Having kids practice getting out of the way of pitched balls is good. Using whiffle balls for this practice is the best method.
- Wearing protective athletic cups should be mandatory at every practice and game for all players, no matter how much players resist wanting to wear them.
- Teaching defensive communication drills is important for balls hit between player positions.
- Advising players, especially base runners, to avoid collisions, even when they have the right away is good coaching advice.
- Teaching players how to slide and dive correctly and when to do those is vital for player safety.
Additional Baseball Coaching Tips for Player Safety
- Encouraging players to wear batting gloves for hitting, base running and underneath their mitt for fielding, is good advice. It only takes one hard “sting’ when batting, catching a ball, or sliding to make youth players fearful of doing those.
- Teaching defensive players where to stand when waiting for thrown balls, as well as what part of the base to use when receiving balls, are solid youth-baseball coaching tips.
- Each defensive position has different safety issues with first base and catcher being the top two positions to focus on the safety issues the most.
- Coaches must be sure the designated on-deck-circle is safe, as many are not, and which side players should be on – usually behind the hitter. Also, the entrance in and out of the dugout is sometimes a dangerous area, so coaches must be mindful of when players are going in and out. Using the farthest dugout opening from home plate should be encouraged, when possible.
- Where to stand and behave in the first and third base coaching boxes is necessary coaching advice, with helmets worn, too.
- Many safety devices are in baseball such as nets and screens, but those are not always safe when bodies, or hands, are too close to them. Coaches must be aware of those situations, also.
As you can see, youth baseball coaches have many things to do besides coaching the game, but when they get in the practice of thinking safety first, it begins to be safer for all. Finally, it is important that coaches adhere to these youth baseball-coaching tips for their own safety, too.