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Thread: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    This week starts my first week as a head coach of a youth baseball team. My middle child, a 9 year old boy, is on my team. He had been asking me for a couple of years to coach one of his teams, so I went ahead and signed up this season.

    Does anyone have any sound advice from experience? I'm very excited, but also a bit nervous.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    I coached my daughter's softball teams (YMCA, not ultra-competitive) a couple times, once as assistant, once as head coach.

    The only advice I'll give - since you didn't specifically say what kind of advice you are looking for - is make sure you make it FUN first and foremost, stick to the basics since at that age, they can't really remember all the stuff you might want to tell/teach them, and finally make sure you are "toughest" on your own kid.

    Unfortunately we've all seen/heard about the "coaches kid" who always got the benefit of the doubt, extra attention, somehow became the #1 pitcher, etc... you don't want to be "that guy". SO, ensure you are toughest on your own, but also talk to your son about it so he knows in advance that he's not getting any special treatment, and in fact it's going to be expected that he be the example and that you will be extra hard on him so that nobody thinks he's getting any breaks.

    Anything else you're looking for, let me know and I'll try to give you my perspective.

    PEACE

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    I think that in a year or two, one of these guys - Frazier, Dorn, Valaika, Cumberland, Stubbs - will be ready to replace Dunn. They won't hit as many home runs as Dunn, but they should have similar OPS. - 757690, July 22, 2008

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    Thanks, Bleeds. Actually, as far as the my own son, he actually won't be one of the stars, so I will have that going for me. The team is made up of 9 and 10 year olds, and it will be the first year of kid pitch for the 9 year olds. One of the parents is a former college pitcher, and he has volunteered to help me out with the pitchers.

    But I totally agree. Ya gotta keep it fun. And I don't want to get too fancy with what gets taught. I think you can tend to confuse them if you go too far.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    Move kids around so they all get a chance to play different positions. Who cares if you win? It is instructional league. Let every kid play first that wants to. Do not let you best pitcher pitch every game he is allowed by rule. Let them all have a turn at pitcher, catcher and the hot spots. Shake up your batting order every game. Don't worry about who is the Cleanup batter, it is not a big deal. Go catcher, pitcher, first etc one game and then reverse it the next game. Make them know the batting order every game, not just know who they follow every game.
    This is HOW you make it fun. Everyone says, make it fun but no one tells you how to make it fun. Kids want to try to play short or third, let them.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    I agree with bleeds have fun. Also one thing i did once the fundamentals are established, in practice when the kids are hitting play "situation" you let all the kids know what situation is on ex runner on 1st 1 out and then when the hitter hits the ball the fielders do what they would do in a game. makes practice more fun and teaches everyone what to do with the ball if hit to them.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    repetition and confidence are very important. In batting practice, go through the lineup giving each kid 10 pitches. At first, coaches should be pitching to make sure the kids hit the ball. Let kids practice at all positions, but there is no point having a kid play a position he can not handle in games. Hit fly balls to the kids who will play outfield, they won't get enough during batting practice.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    I always thought when I start coaching about asking the team to maybe look up something like what was Ted Williams highest batting average before the next practice just to see them get more interested in the history of the game. I have no idea if that would work but I plan on giving it a shot.

    Also it would probably help you get to know the kids a little better.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    I coached that same age group last year for the first time.

    One good thing to do in initial practices is base running drills.

    Teach them to run thru the bag at first (i.e. don't stop on the base)

    Teach them to round the bag if the ball's in the outfield and to listen to the coach.

    Teach them to hold on a ball in the air with less than 2 outs. We had them line up at first and a coach either threw a ball up in the air and they had to stay or he threw it on the ground and they had to go.

    Teach them to run first to third and watch the 3rd base coach.

    Have your college pitcher or another coach throw BP for awhile first so the kids get batting practice with pitches they can hit. When you get closer to the games let the kids pitch to each other.

    Above all make sure the kids are having fun and move the kids around some to different positions. Stick your best players in the outfield for at least one inning so others get a chance to play infield.

    One more important thing to teach with this age group is how to be a good team mate. Pull for your team mate, don't criticize. And how to be a good sport with the other team - win or lose.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    I am only 23 and don't have coaching experience, but it wasn't that long ago I was playing in little league. The advice I have to give is make it fun as they have already said, but always be Energetic and Positive to the kids. If they screw up badly make them feel better and them teach them and make sure they learn from the mistake.

    I think kids at these ages want to win. Now I agree with posters in that you don't do everything possible to win, and you make sure and get everyone plenty of playing time no matter how good or bad, and move them around to positions, but kids do also want to win. If one of the mediocre or far less talented kids wins a trophy, they will be ecstatic, and its priceless to see.

    And don't allow other kids to be cocky, or talk down to other players, parents, or coaches. It seems rare today that you see humble youth.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    First of all Good Luck & enjoy yourself. Make sure the kids have fun. When I coached, I had 6 starters (best bats) & 6 subs ( everyone started at least every other game). My story - the short version. I have a brother 17 years younger. When he started playing, I started coaching. I , then, coached my nephews. Then, I coached my son. Then, came my daughter, I switched to softball. 30 years later, 30 consecutive years from that first team, I stopped coaching to watch my daughter play her senior year in high school. By the way, her team won the state title. So, Big Klu, hold on tight & enjoy the ride.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    You got great advise to start here, everyone did a great job sharing expereinces and thoughts for him! The key word I saw over and over, fun, which is what it is all supposed to be about, at any level. please keep us updated on how it goes.
    I helped our local high schol team a few years back, their catching coach "got called up" to be the catching coach at UNC, so I talked to the coach and agreed to help out his catchers for the first few weeks of theseason (all I coudldotime wise). It was a great experience for me, and hope I passed along somethign to someone else. It was awesome as they are a new rival to my old high school, so was fun to see that, and they topped it off by winning the state title that season!
    UNC Tar Heels 2009 National Champions 5 time NCAA Champs
    57, 82, 93, 05, 09
    Go Heels!!!!!

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    Not everyone defines FUN the same way. Most people think kids see winning as #1, They do not. They would rather play and get beat than help their team win by sitting on the bench. At the first year kid pitch level a coach has to come to grips with that. Every kid needs a chance to bat cleanup and you have to make it clear that walks are not ok. Swing the bat and hit the ball and run. Walks should be banned in kid pitch games.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    Great advice everyone. And I totally agree, you gotta make it fun but you also need to teach the game. I plan of focusing on the fundamentals, especially early. I will move the kids around as much as I can, but there will be some kids that at least early on, will not be able to handle certain positions. For example, some kids just can't catch a ball thrown at them yet, so to at least start the season, you can't put them at first. It's also a safety issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigJohn View Post
    Not everyone defines FUN the same way. Most people think kids see winning as #1, They do not. They would rather play and get beat than help their team win by sitting on the bench. At the first year kid pitch level a coach has to come to grips with that. Every kid needs a chance to bat cleanup and you have to make it clear that walks are not ok. Swing the bat and hit the ball and run. Walks should be banned in kid pitch games.
    Well, you are right about one thing, I think the kids want to play more than anything. The way the league is set up, each kid plays the whole game. You have a max of 12 players on each team, with 10 allowed in the field at a time, but all 12 get to hit. So 2 kids have to sit out each defensive inning. Sure, I could just sit the weakest fielder each inning, but I feel each parent payed the same amount of money for their kid to play. What I would like to do, is if a kid didn't start the game pitching, then have him sit out the inning before I put him in to pitch, to start getting his arm loose. Plus I will also like to use it some to rest my catchers. My goal is if I have all 12 players a game, then each kid will sit out at least one inning on defense.

    Now, as far as walks, uh, no. Walks are a part of the game and the kids need to learn the strike zone.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    Wait till you see how many kids won't swing the bat because they are waiting for a walk. It is not what instructional baseball should be teaching, make hitters out of them.

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    Re: First Season As Youth Head Baseball Coach

    Quote Originally Posted by BigJohn View Post
    Wait till you see how many kids won't swing the bat because they are waiting for a walk. It is not what instructional baseball should be teaching, make hitters out of them.
    My other son went through the same league, so I am well aware of what the league is like. But having them going up and swing just for the sake of swinging doesn't help them, either.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.


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