Tips for a First Time Baseball Coach

Discussion created by joey_scorpio on Apr 7, 2013
Latest reply on Apr 7, 2013 by erc

As I have been playing Baseball for years and I am now building a small team to play with the neighbour teams. I would like to share some of my experience and tips of how to buid a baseball team.

Doing anything for the first time can be stressful. As a first time baseball coach, it is likely that you are coaching at the Little League level. Coaching at this level should be an enjoyable experience for you, and if you focus on a few key concepts the season will be fun for the children as well. Running your team in the right way should also lead to some success on the field, which can only add to the fun.


Building Confidence
Young players will play as well as you make them believe they can play. Because of this, the best thing you can do for your players is help them build confidence. Put players in position to be successful. This means that not everyone should get to pitch. If you know a player will not succeed you should move them to a position at which they can have success. Try to end every drill and practice on a positive note. Never let a player end batting practice with a miss or a weakly-hit ball. You also do not want to end fielding practice on an error. By game time your players should feel like the best team in the league, whether they actually are or not.


Building Your Team
From a strategic standpoint, you should build your team with a solid middle. This means that you should always have strong players at catcher, pitcher, shortstop and center field. Keep in mind the skills required at each position when placing your other players. First basemen must be able to catch almost everything, but speed and arm strength are not a concern. Third basemen should likely be the best player among the remaining positions because of the variety of skills required. Second base does not require much arm strength and can be a good place to play a child who needs shorter throws to be successful. You should develop as many pitchers as possible, but just because a player practices as a pitcher does not mean he should pitch in a game unless you believe he can have success.


Practice Organization
Most youth teams have two coaches, so it's best to split your practices so you can work with a smaller group of players. Talk to your assistant about what he knows about the game and what he thinks he can teach well. You may find that your strengths compliment each other. In a 90-minute practice you should spend 10 minutes warming up, 30 minutes at least on hitting---though you may want to devote more time---30 minutes on fielding drills and 20 minutes devoted to situational practice or base running. A good way to split up the practice is to have one coach work with the pitchers and catchers in a corner of the outfield while you pitch batting practice to another player and the rest of the team fields the ball.


Administrative Duties
Several things you should do as a coach are more difficult to keep up with because they do not occur on the field. You should hold a meeting with parents after your third practice. This can be a good time to set up a schedule for bringing or buying snacks for after the game, as well as providing parents with your contact information and giving them an opportunity to provide you with theirs and exchange amongst themselves. You can also distribute the team schedule and talk about any issues you feel are important. At the end of the season you should always have a team party to celebrate the improvements made during the season. Regardless of the team's record, the players will have made great strides. Talk to parents about what kind of party they would like, as many issues can come into play.