Coaching Little League; Need some pointers.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by NICO, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. NICO

    NICO Long timer

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    I've volunteered to help coach my son's 10u travel team. ( :eek1 ) I've never coached before and only played until about 13 years old, so my "expertise" in the area is lacking at best.

    I'm looking for some tips on resources I can use to develop some drills for the boys. Thus far, I've been working with them on the conditioning aspect of practice while the other coaches work on hitting and throwing. I'd like to know more and be able to teach them more than I am able to now. Making them stronger and getting their running legs under them isn't terribly difficult for me, although some fun drills to help this along would be good too.

    So, with that noted, anybody have anyplace I can start searching in my quest? Any books you have used in the past or particular coach/authors to seek out when shopping for these guides. Also would be interested in videos that I could use to show the kids things like proper stance for hitting and throwing.

    Thanks. And wish me luck. Parents can be huge pains in the ass. This is going to lead to liver damage, I can see it already. :1drink
    #1
  2. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    The best thing we did for our 10-year old girl was to set a five-gallon bucket on its side at home plate, with the open end pointed toward the field. She loves throwing back at the target.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sXBqAw1kCI
    #2
  3. Jamming

    Jamming Desert RAT

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    First of all congratulations and welcome to the club. I've been coaching ball for 20 years. My 11 year old Son plays year round here in Arizona. Club ball, Fall ball, Little League etc.

    littleleague.org go there, lots of info in the Coaches Corner. While your there order a rulebook, read it know it especially the rules for substitutions and the Pitchers rules on pitch counts and how often they can pitch.
    Also Managing little league baseball by Ted Mcintosh is a great book.

    I could on and on so ask questions....but rule #1 is be patient. Rule #2 and I drill this into my team...do not be afraid to make a mistake, play, have fun, we'll deal with the mistakes.

    Rule #3 and this for the parents...if your mad wait 24 hours and then we'll talk, a little cool down is good. I've been coaching my team since most of them were in T-ball so they know me and I know them. I have the same team for club ball and Little League. I must be doing something right, they keep coming back and asking for me.

    This is for the kids NOT the parents. I ALWAYS have that in the fore front of my thinking. My job is to teach them the game the best I can and make sure they enjoy it. I love it and live for it. My Son told me last year I'm the best Dad ever for coaching his team. If that doesn't do it for you, I don't know what will.

    Before practice, have a plan......run them from one thing to another...run them is the key...I tell them we're ballplayers. We don't walk.

    I start with stretching, then some throwing to loosen up. Then infield practice and outfield practice. Split them up and rotate them around.

    EVERY player can play every position except for pitcher and catcher. Some kids just can't but try them anyway. You might be surprised. I had a kid in Fall ball that wanted to pitch, he was wild on every throw but the ones from the mound to the plate. Go figure huh?

    I strongly believe in using batting tees and soft toss to teach hitting. I throw a lot of batting practice and to a small degree so do my Pitchers. It helps my hitters to see someone like they see in a game. Oh and I do not lighten up for some of the BP...I throw it! Makes the fastball from the kids look like soft toss.

    Get some work gloves or soft hands and take their gloves away during infield practice...trust me...it works.

    Remember...you probably know more than they do. Teach them about situations, where to go with the ball, THINK BEFORE the ball is pitched. Have the team talking to each other, where to go with the ball. NEVER underestimate them.

    Above all, its for fun and its for the kids, never forget that and you'll do great.

    If you have any questions, fire away.
    #3
  4. shrineclown

    shrineclown VespaSlayer

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    Smile a lot. Always err to the positive. You will do fine.

    Although I recruit all the good athletes for lacrosse. :D
    #4
  5. RhinoVonHawkrider

    RhinoVonHawkrider Long timer

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    Single Moms

    Hold coaches meetings at local go-go

    but for real - enjoy it, they'll turn to teenagers soon and disappoint ya

    And communication with parents is key via email - short & to the point

    Play the Best players - regardless of who the parents are.

    If ur kid isn't as good as another - sit him - nothing worse than a coach playing his kid when others are better
    #5
  6. Buzz363

    Buzz363 Been here awhile

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    There's a ton of resources out there. A book I like is Coaching Baseball Technical and Tactical Skills. American sport education program.

    Have a practice plan. Encourage parents to rake and help clean up at the end.

    Go home and have a beer.

    Good luck, been coaching ball for 14 years myself.
    #6
  7. Nessman

    Nessman Cluttered Minimalist

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    Get a LL rule book and read it over a few times. I umpired for a couple of seasons, coaches arguing against the rule book was embarrassing.

    Make the kids want to play again next season.
    #7
  8. Hodag

    Hodag native

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    watch the original "bad news bears"

    its like a training film
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  9. NICO

    NICO Long timer

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    So I ordered Ned McIntosh's Little League Drills and Strategies to give me something to read this week.

    I appreciate the input. Right now I've committed to be part of a team of coaches but not the manager of this team. That role is being handled by someone (Mark) who's been through the age brackets with his son and is currently coaching a local high school team. Mark has decided he wants to go through all of it again with a new group of boys. This is a first year team, so to speak, with only a couple of boys playing at a level higher than rec ball.

    With my role being what it is, as assistant coach, I feel comfortable knowing not all the responsibility is on me and I won't get all the stinkeye from the parents if their kid isn't getting the playing time they "deserve".

    I also think this is best because I am a bit of a competitive bastard and I expect a lot out of the boys, my son in particular. I have no qualms with insisting my son sits a game if I see him dogging it during practice or half-assing it during a game. I had an argument with last year's coach over this very thing, D was goofing too much during practice and I wanted him out of the game but on the bench watching. He needed a wake up call, the coach needed a 3rd basemen who could actually field a hard grounder. NicoWife won out, ultimately, and I had to lay off and let the coach coach. (Parents truly are a pain in the ass. :lol3 )

    With the above in mind, I don't see myself being a daddy-ball type coach if I do end up making any playtime decisions. I do see myself fielding the very best roster I can and would have a tough time giving equal playtime to each kid, but that would be based on them earning the time in practice more than their abilities. Hard work earns my respect and time on the field.
    #9
  10. NICO

    NICO Long timer

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    This month's goal/objective is to build their core strength. I had them doing a variant of the burpee this past Saturday. I don't think they all like it, most didn't actually. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    Instead of having them jump each rep, I had them walk their legs up (instead of hopping) and then walk their hands out front of them back to plank and push up. They did this across the infield and back(we practice at an indoor facility during winter), and they all felt the burn. I do these exercises with them, btw, so as to show them that if a fat old bastard like me can do them, young spry yutes like them should have no issues. :D

    I also had them hold a 10 lb medicine ball over their heads and do 3 25 rep sets of squats. This exercise will be pushed especially hard on our catchers. They need those legs to be strong as possible to hop up from their stance and fire to 2nd.

    Sort of like this, but with the ball in hand overhead.

    [​IMG]

    They get to feel the shoulders, traps, quads, glutes, calves, etc... burning during this routine. :clap

    Suicides/wind sprints are a staple to start each workout as well. It's about the best way to temper their antsyness and get them to pay attention during practice.

    In trying to keep the fun factor in place, we play dodgeball for the last 20 minutes each practice as well. They love it and don't realize it's exercise as well. :evil
    #10
  11. RhinoVonHawkrider

    RhinoVonHawkrider Long timer

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    Make sure the head coach & parents know this as well!

    Good Luck
    #11
  12. NICO

    NICO Long timer

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    One of the parents couldn't be bothered to bring his son and stepson to practice for nearly a month. He was called and told, in no uncertain terms, that there is a waiting list for spots as his two boys will be bumped if they aren't at practice regularly. This was handled by Mark, the manager, but supported by the rest of the coaches. The practice time/effort = playtime discussion happened early int he process, right after the team was assembled. It will certainly need to be discussed again as we get closer to the season.
    #12
  13. SeaBass

    SeaBass Long timer

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    If any parents complain, tell them "If you don't like what you see on the field, then volunteer".
    #13
  14. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    Be straightforward and honest, they will know when you aren't.

    Tell them what you expect of them and WHY.

    Explain the rules of the game. Tell them what they can't do and explain why. Don't assume that they know anything.



    Be fair with all of the kids. When the coaches kids are the pitcher, catcher and first base while better kids stand in the outfield and sit on the bench the kids and parents will have no respect for you EVER, Even good friends. I live in a small town, there are guys in this town who haven't coached a kid in 20 or 25 years yet they are still looked down upon by most people who know them because of the things they did while coaching. Some of them had great records. NOBODY will care about your record in a few years. EVERONE will care forever if they or their kids were treated unfairly.--Reread this paragraph several times.


    Yelling at a kid for what he can't do is not coaching.





    #14
  15. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    That is a good way to start a fight,....... NOT a good way to accomplish anything.
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  16. shrineclown

    shrineclown VespaSlayer

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    Agreed, sometimes the best thing to do is walk away. They get the hint, and you don't say anything you can't take back. Always try to remember....it is for the kids, and they are kids. Some parents are just unrealistic, and you will meet them up close. Try to think about the kids instead.
    #16
  17. Hodag

    Hodag native

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    coach them "UP"
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  18. NICO

    NICO Long timer

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    I like the idea of having a 24 hour rule for any post-game discussions. Let the emotions subside before approaching the coaches with any concerns. The parking lot arguments I watched last season were bullshit. Having the BSC but hot mom go running into the dugout to yell at the coach was enough for me to find another team. :deal (coach actually deserved that one, though.)

    The one exception I have to this is if a parent is seeing something out of their kid that appears as if they are hurting, the way they are tossing the ball or if they seem to be stretching the soreness away. I saw last year that the coaches cannot notice all the little things going on with each player and I regularly went to the dugout and pointed out if one of the kids was showing something like this. My son was great at saying all was well even if his arm was hurting and his only tell is a little shake of that arm between pitches. I need to know if we're missing any of these signs, at least until we really get to know these kids and I don't see that happening until we have quite a few games under our belts.

    I am under the assumption they really don't know anything right now. Most of them have never tried to steal a base, most have never faced another kid pitching to them, most have never pitched to another kid (especially when there is a brat on base stomping his feet up and down the line trying to distract him into balking). These kids are green and the parents, for the most part, have no idea what the competition will be like. I suspect there are going to be a few bubble burst within the first few games when they realize snowflake isn't quite yet the next Mike Trout like they thought he was.
    #18
  19. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    ALWAYS end with a compliment, even when you have to get on a kid for something. If you can't find some kind of compliment then just say .....you can do better.



    I coached kids wrestling for 15 years. During that time I only had 2 kids that I really truly didn't like. They were just like their dads, obnoxious, stupid, arrogant, lazy and argued with everything they were told to do. I couldn't find anything good to say to them or about them. Thankfully neither was around long.

    It took me a few years but I finally realized that even the laziest kids out there think that they are working real hard.
    #19
  20. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    I agree, but NEVER EVER tell a kid that he is doing fine when he isn't. False praise will bite you in the butt.
    #20