If It’s So Easy To Coach Youth Baseball & Do It Well
Why Do We See So Many Poor Coaches?
In my years as a player and as a coach, I can tell you that my opinion of poor coaching can be simply boiled down to:
- A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
- A LACK OF PREPARATION!
- A LACK OF ORGANIZATION (or thinking this is important)
Simply stated… NO Game Plan!
The great news is… both can be taught and both can be learned!
And please don’t say that you don’t have the time. You do!
Here’s the math over a typical 15 week season:
- 10 practices of 90 minutes = 15 hours
- 20 games (includes exhibitions, etc.) = 40 hours
- Misc. phone calls of 2 hours a week = 30 hours
- Meetings, evaluation & draft, rainouts, team pictures, personal instruction, travel, etc. Let’s call that = 65 hours. Plus, who knows what I haven’t added in, and the money you spend just doing these activities!
You’ve just invested 150 hours
10 hours per week (plus cash) on a hobby, community service, enjoying baseball, mentoring kids, or whatever your motive is for being a coach.
Get A Baseball Coaching Plan & Save Your Sanity… NOW!
It will flat out save you time, not cost you time. It will reflect positively on your kids and your team’s play, and as a bi-product, coaches, parents and players will see a better coach who is having a better experience! So… What does it take?
- Interest In Becoming A Better Coach
- Developing A Playbook – A simple 3-ring binder (likely better than an I Pad) where you can write out your practice plans on lined paper and make notes on the fly. If you write out your next practice no later than the night before each practice or game, you will be dedicating about 25 minutes each week (based on 2 practices/games). Resist the temptation to do this right before practice or game as you will be grasping to fill in the time without really thinking and will be likely getting pulled in other directions by players and other adults start because you will be bringing it with you and referring to it at each practice.
- If you are using this tool correctly, it’s going to take some dugout abuse & be used for many seasons so add some 3 ring binder plastic sleeves for pages you frequently use or original handouts you use to make copies
- Don’t make a big deal out of this, just get it done! Don’t give birth making it perfect or it may never get done
- Use a lead pencil for notes, new drills, sketches and other items you will jot down in a hurry. You may add or modify lots of things as you learn and grow so simply make it ledgible and use pencil, not pen
- Keep some extra sheets of blank paper in the back for real time notes
- Remember, this is not to be a junk drawer but by keeping what’s important for all home AND away games, you will create a good habit and be in control when the unexpected happens, and it will. Remember, when coach is calm, and organized, so is his entire team
Hints For Your Coaches Team Playbook
Here’s What You Will Want In Your Playbook – (add what else you feel is important)
- Include any hard copy correspondence, notes & forms from your league or school, parents/guardians or doctor(s). You never know when you may need to show a league, tournament or a medical official.
- You will want to store legal or medical information on players or coaches.
- You should have one complete contact sheet of all parents and guardians league or conference officials. This should include both parents/guardians where possible – cell & home phone, email and etc. If its in your own phone, fine, but contact info can change so consider a hard copy sheet as a safe back up.
- Date of birth verification may be important so ask your league officials on this point
Coach Notes – (plan tomorrow’s practice or game, today)
- If you have one sheet with all the detail of one practice goals with the time it takes…you just need 1 coach with a watch to become super coach!
- Beginning in practice #2, you should always spend 10-15 minutes reviewing any new concept you might have introduced in practice #1 or the previous practice. It is a common fault (not to mention a complete waste of time) to teach your team a concept and assume that players will perform when the time comes in a game situation just because you taught it once. And it just kills player confidence after the play because he knew he’d been taught. But obviously, not well enough. Your error, coach!
So … What’s in the binder?
- The practice session number
- The date, time and field of the practice
- Goal of the particular practice (keep it simple)
- Each activity or drill. Note whether a review or new concept
- Time allowed for the activity or drill. NEVER OVER 20-25 MINUTES!
If you’ll simply wear a watch, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and how much fun your kids have, not to mention how much more baseball your team will learn. Keep ’em moving & sucking oxygen where possible!
Anything else that will help you, such as: which coach runs which drill, which pitchers and catchers throw together, reminders of when the next game or practice is. Just make it legible and don’t allow this to take up too much time. This isn’t supposed to be work, it’s an activity to keep coaching from becoming work! ENJOY YOURSELF!
Coach JP’s Note
Want to know the easiest way to teach and learn winning, fundamental baseball? Check out a few cherry-picked videos & training equipment pieces that are age-and skill-appropriate. Why do we suggest videos? Quality repetition! Learn at your own pace and on your own time. A remote control lets you slow it, repeat it, absorb it and understand it… year after year. And training aids can be simple fun that light em up and make them want to improve.
Trust yourself to learn. If you are a dad or are coaching a team, you are your kid’s best chance of learning about the game. Camps, clinics and lessons can be great, but you are there to teach and reinforce through quality repetition. Every day…every week…all season long!
You can help! You owe it to all your players to get better and learn more!
You want that for your kids so you should ask it of yourself!
Video & books and online learning will give you a chance to help your kids quickly… and for a reasonable cost. Start a library now and watch your knowledge grow and your teams improve while everyone has a lot more FUN along the way!
This next season could be a whole lot more fun. Enjoy those kids, this stuff goes quicker than you want!
Coach John Peter, presently age 60-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 transcended his skills into the much more important role of coach and especially as an instructor. He prides himself as being available to any player or coach who feels he can help! “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!”
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