10 Simple Yet Effective Youth Baseball Coaching Tips to Incorporate in Your Training Sessions
Youth baseball coaching is a daunting task that requires dedication and patience. Youths new to this game know little or nothing about the essentials of play, and need to be coached from bottom up, especially, from base running to ball throwing. Understanding the basics of youth coaching will go a long way towards making the most from your experience and uplifting the skills levels of your team.
Here are the top youth baseball coaching tips you should put into perspective to be a successful coach:
1. Age bracket
Age factor, ideally, should be a no-brainer. But it’s not unique to stumble across youth coaches implementing pro practices that go beyond 3 hours and encompass military kind warm-up regimen. For a youth team consisting of 10, 11, and 12-year-olds, this is not an appropriate routine. For this age group, your training should be one hour and not exceed two hours. Players of this age group have not developed strong muscles to endure such rigorous warm up routines. Also, this group of players can only absorb so much information, so do not disseminate a lot of skills in a single session.
2. Have assistants by your side
A quality youth baseball coaching session greatly hinges on the number of assistants you have to assist run practice sessions. Three to four assistants will be sufficient. For instance, you can assign 2 coaches to run infields; infield drills can be taken care of by the third coach. A bullpen secession consisting of a catcher and a pitcher can be handled by the fourth coach. The benefit is that all these sessions are happening simultaneously and strength in numbers is available. A lot can be accomplished by hiring assistants.
3. Adhere to stipulated timelines
Inconsistency breeds anxiety among young players and parents. If you schedule the coaching session at 4 pm, then, it better be 4 pm, and you should be available beforehand. The best routine should be to hold practice sessions twice each week prior to the season kick-off, and once each week when the season is underway. Cancelling of any practice session should only be based on weather changes. Vary practices each week so they don’t get bored. Inject some sense of creativity in your sessions by breaking for 15 minutes after an hour. Before and after any practice session, the players should take a lap around the pitch. Have a motivation lecture at the end and talk about upcoming games. This is the organization and structure young people need.
4. Plan practice sessions upfront
A baseball coach is destined to fail if he has no idea what to do in the next session. It will be shameful for the first-hour session to end and sit with players trying to figure out what to do in the next hour. Avoid this by planning beforehand. Have a notebook and write down practice drills and ideas. Understand that time is a factor to everyone.
5. Be creative
With this kind of age group, you are bound to experience low turnout at times. If a group of players never turned out for training last time, don’t send them home. It would be ideal to talk to their parents to accord them an extra 30 minutes or an hour to catch them up on the previous sessions.
Youth baseball coaching should be about grasping essential skills such as fielding, throwing and hitting. Your every practice must include all the essential skills. Also, the players must wear and have essential baseball kits and equipment, for example, leather or synthetic batting gloves, choosing the right youth baseball bats, batting helmet, and other protective gear, training aids and accessories.
7. Practice one advance skill per session
Specific advance skills might not be incorporated in your beginning of season training schedule because the focus is entirely on fundamental skills. Don’t get frustrated if there is not time to inject advanced skills like stealing bases, double steal, delayed steals, and proper rundown. If you must incorporate advanced skills in your session, include one and ensure they master it before moving to the next.
8. Try out new positions
As a coach, the practice session is where you can try out new things. Trying out players in different positions is helpful to identify their skill levels in those positions. This experimentation should continue throughout the season because some players take longer to get attuned to particular positions. It will also mitigate players and parents complaining of unfair treatment.
9. Be pragmatic at solving problems
A training session is a perfect arena to pinpoint weak areas in a player or team and address them right off. If the team lost during the week due to errors in base running, then base running training should take center stage in your next training session.
10. Allow fun during practice sessions
Allowing players to have fun is probably the best decision any youth baseball coach can make. Enabling the team to have a say on a specific drill or to end practice could just be your ticket to becoming a successful coach. At the end of the season during
practice, you can let kids go to the ice cream truck. Just understand that you are dealing with kids and kids need a little fun.
Ensure to have the above baseball coaching tips in your back pocket if you want to have an impact on baseball coaching. Learning the psychology of youth will put you in an advantageous position to blossom. Keeping in touch with their parents is a plus to help in the development of the kid as a baseball player.
Author Bio: My name is David, I am an editor/co-founder of www.theplanetofbaseball.com. Being a software engineer by day and a baseball blogger by night, I also participated in the training activities of a youth baseball team at my hometown. I have passion with baseball, it pertains to my life from childhood until now and I love to share what is related to that passion with others. I believe in the support of other baseball bloggers like me to spread the passion.