If it's so easy to coach youth baseball and do it well, why do you see so many poor coaches? In my years as a player and as a coach, I can tell you that my opinion of poor coaching can be simply boiled down to: A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND A LACK OF PREPARATION! Simply stated. . . NO Game Plan! The great news is. . . both can be taught and both can be learned! And please don't say that you don't have the time. You do!
Here’s the math over a typical 15 week season:
10 practices of 90 minutes = 15 hours
20 games (includes exhibitions, etc. ) = 40 hours
Misc. phone calls of 2 hours a week = 30 hours
Plus meetings, evaluation & draft, rainouts, team pictures, personal
instruction, travel time, etc. Lets say that = 65 hours
Plus, who knows what I haven't added in, and the money you spend just doing these activities! You've just spent 150 hours. . . 10 hours per week (plus cash) on a hobby, community service, enjoying baseball, mentoring kids, or whatever your motive is for being a coach.
Get a plan. . . save your sanity. . . NOW! It will flat out save you time, not cost you time. It will reflect positively on your kids and your team's play, and as a byproduct, coaches, parents and players will see a better coach who is having a better time!
So. . . What does it take?
1. Interest in becoming a better coach.
2. A PLAYBOOK. A simple 3-ring binder where you can write out your practice plans on lined paper. If you write in it the night before each practice or game, you will be dedicating about 25 minutes each week (based on 2 practices/games). You will begin remembering to do it as soon as practice sessions start because you will be bringing it with you and referring to it at each practice.
Hints for your Playbook
Include all the correspondence, notes, and forms from your league or school that you find yourself collecting and passing out to your players. Keep that stuff in your new “playbook. " It will easily become a habit and a central spot to refer to regularly.
Use a pencil and simply make it legible. Don't make a big deal out of this, just get it done!
Beginning in practice #2, you should always spend 10-15 minutes reviewing any new concept you might have introduced in practice #1 or the previous practice. It is a common fault (not to mention a complete waste of time) to teach your team a concept and assume that players will perform when the time comes in a game situation just because you taught it once. And it just kills player confidence after the play because he knew he'd been taught. But obviously, not well enough. Your error, coach! So . . . What's in the binder?
The practice session number
The date, time and field of the practice.
Goal of the particular practice (keep it simple).
Each activity or drill. Note whether a review or new concept.
Time allowed for the activity or drill. NEVER OVER 20 MINUTES! If you'll simply wear a watch, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish and how much fun your kids have, not to mention how much more baseball your team will learn. Keep ‘em moving: No drills over 20 minutes!!
Anything else that will help you, such as: which coach runs which drill, which pitchers and catchers throw together, reminders of when the next game or practice is. Just make it legible and don't allow this to take up too much time. This isn't supposed to be work, it's an activity to keep coaching from becoming work! ENJOY YOURSELF!
Coach JP's Note
Want to know the easiest way to teach and learn winning, fundamental baseball? Check out our newest videos aimed at younger ballplayers. Why do we suggest videos? Quality repetitions!! Learn at your own pace and on your own time. A remote control lets you slow it, repeat it, absorb it and understand it. . . year after year. Trust yourself to learn. If you are a dad or are coaching a team, you are your kid's best chance of learning about the game. Camps, clinics and lessons can be great, but you are there to teach and reinforce through quality repetitions. Every day. . . every week. . . all season long! You can help! It is your responsibility to get better and learn more! You want it for your kids so you should ask it of yourself! Videos will give you a chance to help your kids quickly. . . and for a reasonable cost. Start a library now and watch your knowledge grow and your teams improve while everyone has a lot more FUN along the way!
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