Youth Baseball Coaching Tips

Coaching youth baseball is a rewarding experience and an opportunity to get involved with your child in something worthwhile. From recreational to competitive leagues, youth baseball coaching is comprised of adults from all walks of life who volunteer their time to help kids learn America’s favorite pastime while helping them to hone their skills and be a part of something bigger than themselves. As rewarding as the experience is, it takes a great deal of time, patience, and dedication to be a youth coach.

To be a good youth coach, it is important to have a genuine interest in kids. More important than a love and understanding of the sport, is a love and understanding of children. Since many youth baseball coaches volunteer when their own children first take an interest in the sport, it typically means working with younger children. Tee-ball begins as early as age five in most recreational leagues, but your child may not take an interest until they are a few years older. Regardless of their age, children respond best to positive, encouraging direction.

As you commit to becoming a youth baseball coach, there are several aspects to the job you may not have considered. Your responsibility will first and foremost be your own child and the children on your team, but you will also have to deal directly with parents, other coaches, and officials. For this reason, good social and communication skills are important. If your organization doesn’t require it, you might consider presenting parents with the Sport Parent Code of Conduct created by the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation (NYSSF). This communicates to parents that positive behavior is important.

Depending on the league or organization that you and your team play in, your primary responsibility will be to conduct scheduled practices prior to the start of the game season and to continue to prepare for and play in games throughout the season. Your chosen organization should supply you with their own specific set of rules, as well as all necessary paperwork, equipment, and schedules.

Knowledge of basic first aid and emergency responses is also important. Many leagues and organizations rely on the coaches to obtain emergency medical information from players’ parents and to maintain their own first aid kit. Accidents can and do happen so be sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit, necessary medical and contact information, and a cell phone for emergencies.

Aside from the responsibilities for the general well-being of a group of kids, youth baseball coaches also have to plan their own practices, choose player positions, create batting lineups, and work on teaching all the aspects of baseball to their players. For kids to get the most out of the experience, it is essential that they feel a part of the team. This can be a difficult task to achieve when you have a child who is less than interested, not as skilled, or has difficulty following direction. Common sense will prevail in most situations, but occasionally a coach is called upon to make tough decisions – like benching a player or taking disciplinary action.

No one ever said coaching youth baseball was easy. In fact, it can be very demanding. It takes a special kind of person to be able to work with children in a physical and competitive situation such as youth sports, but in the end, the opportunity to be a role model for your own child and their peers is an experience that few coaches regret.

To help get you started as a youth coach, the following links provide great resources for youth baseball information, player drills, coaching tips, and more.

Here are some books on Coaching Youth Baseball, available online, in book stores, or your local library.