Coaching Youth BaseballBy
The sport of baseball has been ingrained into the fabric of America for well over a century now, and imparting the wisdom and knowledge onto children wishing to become the next Mickey Mantle requires great diligence and patience. Coaching youth baseball is certainly a challenge, especially given the many options of different sports and games now being played.
In coaching youth baseball, the single important element in getting any child off to the right start is developing a solid fundamental program. With the many intricacies offered in baseball, such as baserunning, catching, throwing, hitting the cutoff man, bunting, defensive situations and teamwork, it’s vital that when coaching youth baseball, each program should incorporate a solid program of fundamentals in order to teach every child the importance of the basics.
In America, most youth baseball programs start in the springtime, meaning that tryouts will be held in either March or early April. Coaching youth baseball involves preparing children for tryouts. There are a number of indoor gyms that can be used during the winter to properly prepare children beforehand. Start a child on a simple throwing program, using proper warmup techniques. Soft tosses first from a short distance, then gradually lengthening that distance is the right way to warm up. Keep an eye on the child’s throwing mechanics to make sure that they’re not putting undue pressure on their shoulders or elbows. Don’t allow the child to “air it out” during these warmup exercises, it’s important to stick to fundaments and basic throwing techniques first.
Many cities and towns now offer indoor batting cages as well. Coaching youth baseball involves teaching proper hitting mechanics and understanding the importance of consistent swing to make contact. Hitting a round ball with a round bat is considered one of the toughest things to do in sports, so teaching proper hitting mechanics early and often is vital for a child’s hitting development.
When hitting in a cage, make sure that the pitch speed will be comparable to what they will face in their youth baseball age group. Before actually taking any pitches, have the child work on a proper hitting stance that will allow for greater chance of pitch contact. Then work on his swing, using repetitions to help the child learn the swing properly. Avoid over swinging, as it can cause the child to develop bad habits such as chopping. Understanding the child’s limitations and sticking to repetitions that stress a consistent compact swing is the goal.
Coaching youth baseball is an endeavor that can bear many fruitful results. However, it’s important to make sure that each child fully understands and practices sound fundamentals that will be the key in developing a cohesive youth squad based on teamwork.