How to coach baseball to children
Posted by mandyf on October 24, 2008
Coaching children’s baseball really boils down to three things, covering the basics, being reasonable, and keeping things fun. It sounds easy for sure but anyone with kids or that works with kids knows things are rarely as easy as they seem. Your best bet for providing a good experience for the kids and yourself is to keep it fun above all else.
Over years of coaching I’ve learned that dictatorial coaches in youth baseball leagues rarely have teams where the kids seem to be having fun and I suspect everyones blood pressure is up a few ticks as well although I can’t back that up. When you make baseball fun for kids they play with more passion. The more passion they develop for the game the better they want to tplay, and they better they want to play the easier they are to teach. It really is that neat of a little circle. If kids aren’t having fun, they don’t care, they barely try, and they just don’t listen. No matter how much knowledge you have to pass on it falls on deaf ears which is a waste.
How do you keep it fun? Let kids try out all the positions, let them laugh, don’t work them out like you’re coaching the Yankees or something. This is where being reasonable comes into play. Kids like adults are going to make mistakes, in fact they are goin to make boatloads of them both mentally and physically. The best thing to do is let them. You don’t harp on them, you don’t single them out in from of the team. You point out what they did right instead and slip working an area of weakness into practice instead.
Stick to teaching the fundamentals, they can learn the intacacies of the game later. Focus your energy on teaching proper techniques for cathing, throwing, and hitting. It doesn’t hurt to make sure everyone knows how to run the bases either. We take for granted kids know this already but every season there are kids that hit the ball and runt to third or run over first base straight down the right field line or anything you can imagine. This is always a good place to start and a fun way to learn is by letting kids race around the bases to see who is fatest. As long as they can do those few things on a somewhat regular basis they can have fun which is the main goal when coaching kids baseball. Offer rewards to the kids like captain for the week, leadoff or cleanup hitter slots, etc…Little motivators go a long way.
Kids are always going to want to win and it’s not a bad thing, but baseball is a game in which failure is the norm. That can be hard for a child to grasp so I cannot stress enough to let them know it is okay when they make outs and that errors happen. Stick to the basics, hitting, catching, throwing, and running. Don’t worry about teaching them to turn double plays, hit and run strategies, or anything like that. Finally just keep it fun, and keep it positive. When it comes to kids baseball that is what it is all about.