It’s clean the slate time. Time to step back from the many of pieces that make up running, staffing, and coaching your teams.
So where do you start?
Try a clean slate . . . literally grab a blank legal pad (not that old coaching notebook with every old note, schedule and whatever else sticking out from two seasons ago).
List the Main Goal(s) that you want for your team. Do this in general terms & in your own words. Here’s some common goals:
- Draft good hitting athletes.
- Really get team Dads involved to head specific practice and pregame activities.
- Scour the Internet to find the knowledge I need to field a better team.Now add MAJOR Headings – 5 lines apart. If you exceed filling in your 5 lines . . . eliminate. Do not add more. Here are some typical headings:
- Have more team fun
- Develop my entire pitching staff (rely less on my ace)
- Develop real “favorite” drills (stuff you will use for years)
- Find and commit to those great tournaments that were forgotten about last yearNote that “Winning” never entered the above examples. Solid, stated goals + good habits + fun + organization will lead to winning.
Make a list of 5 items that you need your players and parents to know. Call all your players and parents as soon as you can. Ask for and speak to your players first (Mom & Dad don’t play ball for you).
Depending on age, always try and get players to take some team responsibility. I tell them, “It’s your team. Your Mom and Dad don’t play for me, but I’m sure they’ll be willing to help.” Get your players to check and oil gloves, re-tape bats, etc. and start throwing with Dad or a neighbor. Too cold or snowy – swing a tee-ball or whiffle bat in the house, basement or garage (the mindset will lead the body).
Talk to the parents. Reiterate the same things with them. Find out how and if they can help – get their suggestions and make sure they will “volunteer” to follow through. You will find that everyone has great ideas, but it’s the follow through that get things done.
Lastly, look at the calendar and add a final heading called Team Timeline (yep, 5 items). Fill it in, and modify it by priorities.
Do the above NOW and prepare to have more fun using less wasted time and become a better coach and baseball parent.
P.S. If you are looking for a “What should my players be doing first to prepare for a new season,” here it is:
- Arm Accuracy – Get past the stiffness stage watching for “correct or corrected” mechanics. Start easy, increasing length of throw and length of session. Less done correctly beats sore and wrong.
- Hitting – They will want to hit right away. Start with dry cuts (no ball in or out of the house). Slow motion first, then speed. Small bats using each arm individually, then both arms.Get to a batting tee using each arm individually, then both arms. Slow motion then speed up.
5 Soft toss (side toss – front toss) – same as above.
Cage Work – same as above – front arm, back arm, then both arms.
Graduate to the player’s game bat with some drills.
Do this repeatedly and you can eliminate anything else to begin your hitting season. This will do the trick . . . easily.
Coach John Peter, presently aged 50 something, is the publisher of Baseball Tips.com and a lifelong student of the greatest game on earth. After being asked to find a more suitable occupation at age 26, many seasons after donning his first uni at age 7, he has transcended his skills into the much more important role of coach and especially as an instructor. He prides himself as never having charged any player or coach for a single lesson! “This game has been wonderful to my family and has afforded me a lifestyle to instruct any local player or coach who seeks my knowledge without charge!”