Picture yourself on a cool spring morning with the smell of freshly cut grass in the air, children laughing, parents cheering, and umpires yelling “You’re out!” If you can see yourself with a clipboard in your hand, a baseball hat and uniform on your body and a stick of gum in your mouth, you should consider being a youth baseball coach. However, coaching youth baseball is more than just coaching clipboards, baseball uniforms, and bubblegum, coaching baseball is about teaching children the importance of dedication, perseverance, and teamwork that they will take with them throughout their lives.
The technical ability to play baseball or the know how to coach is not necessary when coaching youth baseball. With instructional coaching classes and information through the worldwide web at your fingertips, the possibilities are endless.
Make sure to take the following equipment with you to practice:
2.) Bats! To perform hitting drills, you will need baseball bats for your players. Some children may choose, or be able to afford, their own bats; however, others may not be able to endure this cost.
3.) Batting helmets! Safety should always be first but especially when coaching youth sports. Make sure you have batting helmets to fit all children and a backup in case there is an issue with the original helmet.
4.) A batting tee! Even the pros say this is the best way to learn how to correctly hit a baseball. Using a hitting tee allows coaches to analyze players’ swings and see where they need improvement.
5.) Spare baseball gloves, batting gloves, bats, cleats, etc.! Some children may want to play but not be able to afford the necessary equipment or may forget their baseball equipment at home. Donations or sponsorships are always nice for coaches to arrange for their players in need.
* If you cannot afford to purchase the above baseball equipment, do not give up on coaching! Many organizations provide coaches with these materials or you can receive these items through donations.
Coaches are responsible for more than just equipment, however. It is important that coaches meet with the organization’s coordinator to schedule practices and games, create lineups that include all players and most importantly, promote and encourage teamwork and mechanical baseball skills through fun and stimulating baseball drills.
It is imperative to form the basis for all future baseball skills at a young age. If children learn the fundamentals incorrectly, they will be placed at a disadvantage to their peers because they will need to relearn the skills properly. Baseball practice drills should focus on hitting, pitching, catching, and throwing, as well as specified drills for infield verses outfield players. I found simple drills such as batting practice using a hitting tee, the “Baseball Bucket Game”, or the “Colored-Ball Drill” make learning fundamental skills amusing.