Coaching youth baseball can be one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have. When you see see the look on your player’s face when they drive in a run or make a great play, you’ll want to be a coach forever.
If you’re a parent or a new coach (or both), don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be present for your players and willing to learn. Standout Baseball is here to help. Here are 5 tips that will get you on your way to being a successful, memorable coach.
1- Define your personal goals and success
I tell parents at the beginning of every youth baseball season that I have two goals. The first is that the kids have fun. The second is that the kids will beg their parents at the end of the season to sign them up again next year.
Playing baseball should first and foremost be fun for the kids, especially at the younger ages. You know what, though? Most kids have fun getting better at a skill. As a new baseball coach, we suggest you should prioritize positive feedback and making practice and games challenging, yet fun.
2- Have your plan and follow it
It is really hard to be effective at anything when we don’t have a plan. Running a good practice is no different. A good practice plan enables youth baseball coaches to stay focused and allocate time wisely. I like to print mine out and include the baseball drills and the timeframe to do them so we can stay on point. A great way to start is to break the practice up into 3-4 sessions that focus on different baseball drills.
Most importantly, that plan needs to…
3- Keep your players engaged
Nothing is worse than seeing kids standing around on the field during baseball practice. Younger players start playing in the dirt. Older players start thinking about the girl in their science class. A general rule of thumb for our baseball practice plans is to work in small groups of 4-5 for a majority of the practice time.
This allows you to move around and guide groups of baseball players, groups manage themselves, and young leaders on your team have their chance to shine. Your players get far more repetition and far less standing around. Not to mention the fact that parents love it because it wears their kids out!
4- Treat your child as you would any other kid on the team
Up until the teenage years, most youth baseball coaches have a child on their team. The single worst thing you can do as a coach is to single out your child above, or below, the rest of their teammates.
This topic will be an entire blog post soon, but in summary, every single person watching from the stands or participating in a baseball practice or game is paying attention to this. This is the easiest way to create animosity between teammates, parents, and coaches. Most importantly, it can create problems for the parent(coach)/child(player) relationship that can carry well beyond the ballpark.
5- Use your available resources
If you are just getting started with youth baseball coaching and don’t know where to begin, the Standout Coaches Corner is a great place to start. Our content organizes great drills to incorporate into practice based on age/skill levels and movements.
Don’t be afraid to ask other parents for help, too! You may be surrounded by parents that have some knowledge of the game and would like to be involved in some way. Some of my best practices included 4 parents on the field helping coordinate the kids. You don’t need to be on an island, take advantage of the resources around you.
Standout as a baseball coach!
Standout Baseball believes baseball coaches have the opportunity to significantly improve the confidence of young athletes that they can carry into every part of their lives. Our goal is to arm coaches with great practice plans and drills that will create a fun, dynamic practice that helps players get better at baseball.
Our Coaches Corner and Training Library can help you be a confident coach and improve player engagement and skills. Most importantly, these resources will make practice fun for the kids! Let’s get started!