Archive for Little League Baseball Coaching Tips
So… What do Baseball Scouts look for?
All good baseball scouts will evaluate players in five areas:
- Arm Throwing Ability
- Hitting for Average
- Hitting for Power
- Fielding Ability
We will break these down in future posts for you to get an idea of what scouts consider good, average or great. You have to keep in mind that a lot of it depends on the scout so there is no magic number they are looking for.
Intangibles that a player has can also go into the evaluation. Here are a list of several that scouts tend to look for.
- Team Work – Are you a good teammate?
- Work Habits
- Your Maturity
- Desire to play
- Respect of Coaches and the game itself
- Knowledge of the game
- Desire to help others
I’m sure the list could grow but just remember there is more to playing this game than just the 5 tools listed above. Other things make the difference from being average or great at this game. Focus you time and energy on the five skills above but keep in mind the other important attributes of a great player.
Check back with us often as we will continue to break down this post skill by skill to give you a better idea what baseball scouts are looking for.
Just to give you a taste of what I’m talking about:
Baseball Running Speed – 60 yard dash time
- Acceptable Time – 7 seconds or less
- Good Time – 6.6 to 6.8 seconds
- Great Time – 6.2 to 6.5 seconds
Remember these are guidelines and vary by scout or organization. I discussed this with several professional players and coaches as well as averaging some online resources to get a feel for what they consider when looking at running ability.
This is just a taste of what the Youth Baseball Insider plans to provide you in every area of baseball. Our research will give you the knowledge to judge yourself against what it takes to play this game at the Major League level.
Good luck and until next time….
You should know how to run practice alone without help.
You should always be prepared to handle practice yourself without the help of assistant coaches or parents. You should focus on team drills during this time so things run smoothly. I would suggest working on game strategy drills like cutoffs and relays. You can also plan to work on baserunning and throwing which involves all players on the team. You can also line up your players along the outfield and work all the dry hitting drills you will find from our website or fundamental hitting programs.
It’s very important to keep the players engaged and active with minimal time waiting around to do something. This will help keep the practice running and everyone will stay engaged.
Have a plan written out and follow it. It will work.
2010 “Insert Team Name” Attendance Policy
I would ask each of you to follow this policy the best you can as it will make it much easier on the coaches and ensure your kids have a great experience. I’m understanding and realize things come up from time to time but your attention to this will be very helpful.
- Please arrive 5 – 10 minutes early to all practices.
- Please let me know ASAP if you will not be attending practice.
- If you need to leave practice early please let me know.
- Please let me know if you are not going to be at one of the games.
- Please arrive 15 – 20 minutes before the start of each game so we can warm up and set the lineup.
Thank you in advance for following this policy.
“Insert Team Name”
2010 “Insert Team Name” Pledge
- I will remember that children participate to have fun, and that the game is for and about kids, not adults.
- I will be a positive role model for my child and encourage sportsmanship by showing respect and courtesy to players, coaches, umpires and spectators.
- I will teach my child to play by the rules and to resolve conflicts without resorting to hostility or violence.
- I will respect the officials and their authority and will not confront them at the game.
- I will never ridicule or yell at my child or other participants for making a mistake or losing a competition.
- I will not engage in unsportsmanlike conduct such as booing, taunting, cursing, threats or physical assaults.
- I will refrain from any unauthorized coaching of my child or other players during games.
- I will teach my child that doing one’s best is more important than winning.
- I understand and accept the league policy that if I violate the pledge, I may be asked to leave the game. I also understand that continued violations of the pledge will result in my being banned from further attendance or games for the remainder of the season.
Name (Parent) Date
Name (“Insert Team Name” Baseball Player)
5 Tee Ball Coaching Tips
Thank you for volunteering your time to coach young children in the great game of baseball. I hope you find it as rewarding as I have over the years.
For a lot of coaches this will be their first experience at coaching the game and that can be stressful. Most of you want to do the best you can for your child or your player but just don’t know where to start.
We have put together 5 of the best tips we can offer for new coaches starting to coach tee ball.
Enjoy. Fundamentals, Communicate, Teach, Fun, Organized, Games, Drills, Groups,
- Fundamentals: Do your self, your players and future coaches a favor and teach good fundamental baseball skills to these players even at this early age. Don’t buy in to the fact that tee ball is not about fundamentals and its only an introduction to baseball. It can be and should be much more than that. Yes, it shouldn’t be over the top but every drill or skill you work on should be fundamentally sound even at this early age. If you don’t know fundamental baseball skills then I challenge you to get a few books or videos and learn how to teach correct hitting, fielding and throwing. Check out our site as there are many great fundamental tips for you to follow. Please learn these simple fundamental mechanics and teach them from the beginning. Trust me you will happy you did.
- Organization: You must remain organized as a coach of any sport regardless of age level. The parents and players will benefit from your organization and practices will run much smoother. You should have a written plan that outlines the time of practice and breaks down everything you plan to do during your practice time. Have your group assignments laid out up front and assign coaching responsibility before you get to the field. Send your assistant coaches or parents that plan to help a copy ahead of the practice. Create a parents letter before the season that outlines your coaching philosophy, goals for the teams, discipline and other important facts. This is all about communication and is a key part of staying organized.
- Parent Involvement: You must engage your parents at this level more than any other. As you will see in our next point about small groups you will need all the parents you can get. These players will be very difficult to handle in large groups so getting parents out on the field will be your key to success. If you don’t, I promise that you will be very frustrated and not enjoy the experience one bit. Tee ball age children have very small attention spans and will not listen very well. Getting their parents on the field will make or break you season. I’ve seen it hundreds of times and the coaches with the most parent help here wins. Not games, but wins in getting fundamental baseball skills taught to young players. Those that don’t just become baby sitters for an hour a week. Most parents really do want to help but they are concerned they are stepping on your toes if they just walk onto the field. Engage them from day one and encourage everyone to come to practice to help. Moms love to help but rarely do because they are never asked. Go ask them. They will for the most part come and help. Again, everyone wins because trust me their little ones love to see their parent on the field with them.
- Small Groups: This brings me to the point about why you need lots of parent help. It is 100% imperative that you break the kids into small groups of 2-3 players and work your fundamental drills over and over. This will usually require 4-5 groups rotating every 10 minutes or so. To be perfectly honest with you each group really needs 2 adults with it to be run effectively and keep kids on task. It might be a little difficult to find 8 – 10 parents to help so you will have to be the judge of the size of groups. I’ve found over the years once you get above 3 players at this age chaos begins to come into play and the children shut down the learning process. If you can find 6 parents to help then break them into 3 groups. You have to do the best you can do with what you have but I hope you see how important it will be for you to have parent involvement at this age. Trust me, if you don’t the players will learn very little about baseball and you will be the baby sitter. I challenge you to contact your parents up front and tell them their help is needed. Tell them you are assigning them to a group each week at practice and for them to let you know in advance they are not going to be there. You might need to push just a little but trust me they will help and they will love the experience of coaching without having to be the head coach and deal with all of that.
- Fun: Your main job as a tee ball coach might be to teach fundamental baseball skills to young players but I will tell you having fun will be very important as well. The players could care less for the most part whether they win or lose at this age but fun is number 1 to them. I promise you that having fun and learning baseball in a controlled environment is completely possible with a little planning and work on your part. No matter what you do don’t forget that having fun at this age is very important and you should judge your success as a coach at this level on whether your players want to come back and play the next season. If the majority of the players come back to play this great game then you have done your part and they are having fun.
In summary, coaching baseball is really enjoyable and if done correctly will make a difference on young children for life. No matter what your baseball skill level is you can teach the game of baseball with a little effort. Just get some material and learn what to teach. Take the tips I’ve offered above and run with it. You will be happy you did.
Last but not least, the relationship that can develop between you and your child while you coach them can be great or it can be very bad. Make sure you choose to have the experience be great and create memories that will last a life time for your child. It’s simple to do: treat your child the same as you do every child on the field. Stop yelling at them and start teaching them how to do things. Don’t have higher expectations for your child over the others even if he or she is a better player. Don’t put more pressure on them than you do on the other players and most of all don’t spend the car ride home yelling at him or her for what they did wrong today. Ok, I’ve violated a few of those over the years but trust me really try not to. It will be a better experience for everyone.
Until next time may all you baseball dreams come true.
A Word About Tryouts
Tryouts will always be a part of competitive baseball and while they can be a little stressful parents and coaches can do a lot to minimize it. I encourage parents and coaches to not put any pressure on the player to make the team. Trust me the player, just by wanting to tryout has the desire to make the team. They want to perform at their very best so any excess pressure will not help the situation.
Here are some tips on dealing with tryouts that I know work:
- Find out the format of the tryout and what skills will be evaluated.
- Practice those skills over and over in the days prior to the tryout. Try to replicate the tryout the best you can from the knowledge you have.
- Arrive early to the tryout. Being the first one there is always a good thing.
- Remember, you must separate yourself from everyone else on the field so make yourself memorable in a good way.
- Upon arrival and after the coaches arrive find a spot by yourself and do some stretching. You want to act and look like a professional regardless of the age group. Let the coaches see how serious you are about the tryout and making the team.
- Find a place in the outfield and do some running prior to get warmed up.
- This is not social hour so it’s best to keep the talking to a minimum.
- Make sure you hustle from the time you take the field until the tryout is over.
- Follow directions and ask questions if you are unsure of what to do.
- Coaches will always be drawn to players that have a great attitude and hustle so make sure you do both.
- The tryout doesn’t have to be perfect for you to make a team, but if you make a mistake like missing a ground ball the coaches are going to be watching how you react. My advice is to hustle after the ball and attempt to complete the play.
- Parents, tell your young players you are proud of them regardless of the outcome and don’t put any excess pressure on them.
- Prior to trying out make sure you remember this is about having fun. If you go into with the idea of having fun you will most likely relax enough to do your best.
Communicating with Your Parents
Coaches, as the baseball season arrives I want to challenge you to be a better communicator with your players and their parents. I know, you are volunteering your time to coach a team and don’t want to turn the think into a part time job.
I get it, but remember this…
You are making a lasting impression on young children and in my opinion you should make it a great experience for them and their parents regardless of the amount of time it takes you. I go so far as to tell you not to volunteer unless you plan to give it your all.
With that said, I have a secret…
Not really, but it’s something you can do that will make things much easier on you and make you look like the organized caring coach you are.
So what is it you ask?
I can’t tell you the number of coaches that do everything right from teaching fundamental baseball skills but fall down on the communication to the players and parents. This is a terrible rookie mistake and any coach that has been coaching baseball for any length of time will tell you communication can make or break you.
Below is a rough plan of how I communicate to my players and parents during the season. We will start with parents and then cover the players.
- I provide them with a “parent’s letter” on the first day of practice that outlines my coaching philosophy, my background, team goals, team rules, discipline and contact information.
- I have them sign a parent’s code of conduct that outlines 10 things I expected them to adhere to. Basically covers things about yelling at their kids, coaches, umpires and other rules I feel are needed. To be honest this is a great protection for you because if you get one signed when an issue arises you can pull out the paper and tell the parent they signed and should have understood the code of conduct. Trust me, you coach long enough you will find a parent on one of your teams that goes way too far on something. Be prepared to deal with it.
- I create an email list and ask them to provide me any addition email addresses they want included on team contacts. Lots of my parents want grandparents etc. on the email list.
- Provide the parents with a copy of the league rules that you play under and tell them to read the entire set of rules. I can’t tell you the number of times I have parents upset because of how the game is managed. When I explain the rule to them they usually calm down. Do this up front so they understand the rules their children are going to play under.
- Explain to them how you plan to handle cancelled practices. Email, phone call etc. They should understand what is going to happen and not be waiting around to find out.
- Communicate via email to them after each practice or game. At least once per week telling them about the progress the players are making.
- When problems arise you should be willing to discuss the situation as communication usually cures all. If not, then you should engage your league officials for help.
In summary, if you are not willing to take the time to do the things I’ve outline above then do everyone a favor and don’t volunteer to be the head coach. You can still get involved but you really don’t need to be leading things. I’m not trying to be rude about it, but I can’t tell you the number of parents that come to me year after year telling me how bad their coach is. When I ask them what’s going on, it’s never about the coach’s ability to teach baseball. It’s always, “he never tells us what’s going on” or “he doesn’t talk down to the level of the children”. Please do everyone a favor, communicate! You can learn to communicate with practice and also remember to talk to the level or age group of your audience.
- It goes without saying but you need to communicate positively with you players. No it actually needs to be said because I can’t tell you the number of times I hear coaches screaming at their players for something they did wrong.
- The little one’s didn’t do things wrong on purpose. They need to be walked through it time and time again, even at the older age groups. You as a coach know baseball, so communicate the right and wrong way to do something. Do it as many times as necessary. I know there is always a player or two that are out there only because mom and dad forced them to but I challenge you to make a difference it those children’s life. You can by showing patience and helping them be the best they can be.
- When you communicate to children be firm but fair in the language you use. Get down to their level and look them in the eye. Take your sunglasses off so they can see your eyes and explain to them what you need to. I can’t tell you the number of times I watch coaches stand from a far, looking down at players and barking orders to them. It doesn’t work, so stop it.
- When correcting fundamentals on the field communication is very important. Verbal and visual communication is needed for them to be successful. Explain slowly and show them what you are asking them to do.
- Have a team meeting before practice and explain quickly what you have planned for the day.
- Have a post practice meeting telling them what they did great and what they need to work on as a group. End things on a positive note each and every time.
- If you see one of the players doing special things during practice or a game take the time to email the parents after it’s over and tell them what their little one did that was so great or shocked you. Find a way to do that with all your players at least once per season.
In summary, you have an opportunity to make a difference in these player’s lives. Step up to that challenge and create a great environment for them to thrive in. I know you are a volunteer but please don’t coach if you are not willing to put the time in. It might seem that no one appreciates it but they do trust me. They won’t always tell you they appreciate it because you know what? Most people just can’t communicate. It’s true, don’t be the one that can’t.
Remember: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!