Youth baseball coaching coordiantion responsibility lies with parents and coaches
Youth baseball coaching is much more difficult in this day and age. Years ago, players did not have so many people in their ear.
In the age of travel baseball, youth baseball coaches must realize that, often, they do not have the last word. A good majority of the modern day baseball playing youth get private instruction, be it for hitting, pitching or both. Whether that is a good thing, or not, is based on how good of instructor the player has and a story for another day. However, parents and coaches have the responsibility of coordinating their child’s coaches, so the many common coaching dilemmas may be avoided and the player is the one who benefits.
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With that common, outside baseball coaching situation, travel ball coaches are in a difficult spot, as what they coach may differ from the instruction players receive elsewhere. The following scenarios are common in today’s youth baseball scene, especially at the travel baseball and high school levels.
Youth baseball coaching scenario 1
Travel team coach tells young player something they are doing wrong at the plate and kid gets mad or confused because player believes their personal coach teaches differently.
Youth baseball coaching scenario 2
Travel team coach tells player something contradictory to player’s personal coach, player tells parent, parent approaches coach and tells them to “lay off” their kid, as they have a personal coach.
Youth baseball coaching scenario 3
Maybe the most common and unfortunate situation is when players become so confused, because they are hearing so many apparently different things from multiple sources, including their own parent. These players often are turned off to playing because of that confusion, and rightfully so.
Of course, many other scenarios are possible with this dual coaching situation, and most of them have negative outcomes. The good news is that some of these scenarios are preventable with some coaching and parent coordination.
Tips for preventing negative youth baseball coaching situations
Youth baseball coaches should:
- Realize that private coaches are the norm nowadays and be willing to accept that and coach accordingly.
- Have a pre-season meeting with parents to discuss all possible negative issues that they foresee for the upcoming season. At this meeting, coaches should find out which players presently have personal coaches. In addition, coaches should ask parents to inform them when players do pick up a private coach at some point during the season. Coaches should also inform parents of their philosophy of dealing with players with outside coaching. Finally, if coaches know of a very good private coach they recommend, they should pass that on to parents for possible future use.
- Say things with the other coach in mind in a useful and considerate way. For example, saying “You will never hit with that style,” is inconsiderate, but saying, “Tell your coach to address such and such, because it appears this is occurring,” is considerate.
- Be willing to check with the private coach when need be if it would help the player.
- Coordinate the team coaches to make sure they are saying approximately the same things to players.
Parents should realize that:
- All the coaches mean well and are out to help players.
- The team coach still needs to coach what he sees.
- Often, coaches are saying the same things, just with different words.
- The two coaches can co-exist in a positive way with some open communication, with the parent as the go-between to relay messages.
Finally, parents and coaches have to put the player’s feelings first and help them navigated their way through these tough youth baseball coaching situations. Helping kids understand that all coaches are out to help them and that they should at least listen to every coach is important parental advice.