how to teach youth baseball

Best praise ever

Best praise ever

“Good job, coach!”.  “Great win,sir!”.  “What a comeback coach.”  “I don’t know how you do it but keep on doing it.”  These are some of the best praises I have received over the years of coaching youth baseball.  Of course, when you win and everything is going well, one gets a lot of these.  When you lose a game or two, you receive the harshest of comments….but that is another story.

You live for the good stuff.  Of course my coaching colleagues and I work doubly hard to do well.  Admittedly, these are the kind of compliments you are aiming for…. until just recently.

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Boys to Men

Boys to Men

Over the years, I have realized that we all do not really grow up.  Our bodies might age and we certainly are expected to mature but somehow the person inside all that never changes.  There are just some desires of the heart that never leave.

Being male, I can only speak of us men.  There are traits that are innate in us that it never leaves.  We loved doing this as young boys and I am sure if we get a chance we would still feel the same joy even as adults.

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A Father’s Confession

A Father’s Confession

When I watch you playing I really want to play with you.  I remember when I was your age, it may not have been baseball as  I was playing basketball then, I would enjoy just going out there and playing as hard as I can.  When I watch you play, I wish I could be right there on the field with you,  waiting for the ball with you and completing a play with you.    I would back you up when a line drive goes  directly to you and would cover your base when a ball pulls you off it.

We would be building great memories together if that were possible.   But of course I can’t.  I just get to watch you play and hope that you are enjoying as much playing as I am watching you.

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Shout at the boys!

Shout at the boys!

discipline hardwork inspirational

Baseball training grassroots!

The other day, a father of a boy playing in our 12 and under team from a school whose baseball program we handle came up to me and said, “Coach, you know the boys really lack discipline. They drop the ball even when they just need to shuffle it around. They are tense.  They need to be noisy, talk to each other on the field.  I give you the license to shout at them  some more.  The coaches seem to be shy and embarrassed to do so”.

 

I have heard this comment and suggestion time and again from well-meaning parents.  A lot of them define good coaching by being loud.  That discipline is achieved when coaches continuously shout at hapless boys, giving out instructions in detail short of him playing as well.

 

Stepping back however, I have observed, that the teams that are truly cohesive, those that play like well oiled machines, those that play with discipline are led by coaches who see no need to “shout” at them during games.    All the shouting has been done during practice.

 

You see, I think the first thing a coach, the leader must make sure of, is that his team understands the goal of the group and embrace the path everyone has chosen.    Once this is set, all actions by the coach, including the “shouting” must bring the group towards that goal.

 

But, the “shouting’ is one of a few visible, or should I say audible features of good coaching.  Everything else, not everybody can see. The relationships that are formed within the group, the respect that is built amongst the individuals, the common objectives the players share.  Objectives that people outside the group may never understand.

 

This forms the platform of building a team.  The “shouting” then becomes productive and integral to the team’s and individual’s growth and development, even if they are only 12 years old.

 

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Winning is Everything

Winning is Everything

Winning is everything

The objective of playing is to play

TEAMWORK

TEAMWORK

Philippine Habagat Getting Stronger

When the team works, real Teamwork is achieved

 

At the end of a long and gruelling 4 hour practice session with some 11-14 year old boys, I found myself closing the day with a talk about teamwork. It wasnt a planned topic but I had to talk about it because the team only had 5 months to go before their Asia Pacific Regional Baseball Tournament and we were struggling with implementing some of our plays and plans.

Everyone involved with the team know how high the standard of play will be come tournament time. We know the teams from Japan, Taiwan,Korea and China are killing themselves in practice as we are, maybe even more.We do not expect anything less than the best players coming from those countries. More