Youth Baseball Coaching 101
Coaching youth baseball or softball is no cake walk. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 most common mistakes youth baseball coaches make and their solutions. We hope this leads to discussion and gets you in the right mindset to coach your team this season.
Don’t: Teaching your players that winning is the only way.
Do: Now, we know some people will argue with this but winning isn’t everything. While it is important to to teach your players that trying their best is important, teaching your players that winning is the only way could lead to a culture of fear on the team. The most important thing you can do as a coach is teach the players good sportsmanship and persistence. Those skills will help your players throughout their lives, both on the field and in life
Don’t: Focusing on the outcoming and not praising the efforts of your players
Do: Baseball is not an easy sport. Failing to recognize and praise players for their efforts is a huge mistake. If a player takes a few good swings that are strikes and then strikes out, that player still should hear a word of encouragement from their coach. Encouraging your players to keep trying will help them gain confidence to keep trying. The last thing you want to do as a coach is not praise players for their efforts and turn them off entirely to the game.
Don’t: Fail to identify and utilize teachable moments.
Do: Coaches above everything are teachers and role models. Coaches have the opportunity to have a major impact and influence their players. Teaching respect for authority, teamwork, having a good attitude, and how to handle disappointment and failure with dignity. These are just a few things coaches can teach their players. Teaching your players these key lessons will set your players up for success both during the season and in their lifetime. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Don’t: Continue getting off track and wasting time at practice.
Do: We all know that “practice makes perfect”. Practice time is critical. All players need to be engaged and working every moment. This not only helps your practices run smoothly, but it also allows you to ensure that all players are working to improve. Players standing around leads to boredom and mischief. It is essential to have an organized practice plan for each practice and stick to it.
Don’t: Allow your ego to drive your decisions.
Do: A lot of coaches have the idea that the game is about them or if the team loses, it is a reflect on the coach and his or her abilities. Although this is true to a certain degree and every loss should be taken as a learning experience, it is important to keep learning and fun your main two focuses for coaching. If every player is having fun, they will return next season. The biggest failure as a youth baseball coach is not losing a game. It’s discouraging kids from playing America’s pastime.