Vote for the Coach of the year



 Field A Team Coaches and Fans -have you heard about The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award yet?

It recognizes coaches who dedicate themselves to building character in youth sports and contribute to the success of the game!  And this is exactly what we want to hear at Field A Team!

The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award recognizes college football coaches who demonstrate Responsibility, Integrity, Sportsmanship and Excellence both on and off the field.   Now in its eighth year, the award is endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame.

The program awards one winning coach from each NCAA division (I-FBS, I-FCS, II, and III) with $50,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, a $20,000 grant to each school’s alumni association, and the coveted Coach of the Year trophy.
For more information and to vote go to

Start Strong: Get the most of your team this Fall

1672R-13298The fall brings a fresh new start to new sport seasons.   Children are getting ready for the return to school and the fall sports seasons.   It is a fresh start for you as coach too- a clean score sheet!  Here are some tips on how to get the most of your team this fall.

1.       Work on fitness to get players back in shape after the holidays.

2.       Get to know new team members and identify their strengths, skills and practice needs.        They should know that you -as coach- are there to help.  Just like a teacher/student relationship, offer them the opportunity for extra attention when they need it.

3.  Ease players back in by recapping on standard plays and skills before moving forward.  Do not start off exactly where you left off at the end of the season.  They will be a little rusty and need to get comfortable in their positions.

4.       Remember young athletes have short attention spans, so you need to mix up the practice routine.  Do not allow too much sitting around or delay-where the players can loose focus and start distracting others.

5.       Understand that you have different skill levels on every team.  Do not focus all your attention to one skill level, alienating others on the team.  Develop strong players and try to balance the weaker ones.

6.       Stress / reward hard work.  Even recognition for someone who went above and beyond with effort is a great gesture and will help to motivate.

7.     Be realistic about your goals.  If your team finished last in the previous season your goal should be to NOT finish last this season, not to win -this is too ambitious.  Small consistent steps are the best way to make progress.  Miracles do not happen, but hard work does pay off.


8.  Always stay motivated!


Best Practice – for Practice

7 tips for best coaching results during practice - by Coach Mike Hurley

When teaching youth sports you need to plan your practice sessions carefully.  Some good rules of thumb to ensure that the children gain from each practice and that the team develops and improves are as follows:

1. Do not let too much time go without engaging the children in a drill or lesson.

2. Break your practice up into sections.   Warm up, skills drills, lesson, fun / game.  Keep the practice flowing through these sessions.  Children will appreciate and benefit from the routine.

3. Do not spend the entire practice time on lessons.  It will be boring for the children and you will lose their attention.

4. Repeat the key lessons taught at the end of each practice and the start of the next practice.

5. Separate children that will not get along or will fight.

6. Do include some mini/short games or competitive elements so that the children are comfortable playing in a competitive environment.

7. Continuously reinforce proper sportsmanship.

Baseball: How to remove a pitcher when they are not pitching well (ages 7-10)

Coach Mike Hurley from Field A Team shows his old worn baseball

Old worn baseball

At a young age, children are just starting to learn how to pitch.  Many times their performance can vary per outing -sometimes they do well, sometimes not.  And this can pose a dilemma for coaches.  How do you balance the needs of the team vs the child’s need to practice and get experience, as well as build confidence.

Here are some helpful guidelines that will help you cope with this sensitive issue:
  1. Give the child a chance.  Try to understand what is the constructive feedback you need to give them.
  2. Make sure you make a trip to the mound before you take them out.  Offering suggestions for them to focus on for the next few batters.  Send a message/goal for them that sets a tone that they will not be pitching much longer.  Like..I just want you to finish up with these next 2 batters…or I am going to give XX a chance to pitch after you pitch to the next 2 batters.
  3. Make sure you bend down and be at eye level with the child.  They should not feel like you are looking down on them or intimidating them.
  4. Be very encouraging and supportive of them.
  5. Talk in a friendly tone. Don’t act like they did bad or you are disappointed in them.
  6. When you go to the mound to take them out of the game
  • Ask them if they had fun?

    Coach Mike from Field A Team advises on how to talk to young pitchers

    Young pitcher in action

  • Tell them that you are going to give XXX a chance to pitch now.
  • Tell them that pitching is a tough position and you are glad they had the chance to give it a try.
  • Tell them that you have suggestions for them to get better in practice and you will get the chance to pitch again.
  • Tell them that you need them to work hard in the new position you are sending them to.


Hopefully this helps the team without hurting the feelings of the pitcher or bruising their confidence.  If you have any more suggestions/helpful hints please share.

Goals and Responsibilities of Youth Coaches

Many coaches get caught up in the winning aspect of the game.  Don’t get me wrong, winning is great and fun – it’s natural and healthy to desire and thrive on success! But youth coaches need to remember that their sole job as coach is not really to whip a winning team into shape-there can only be one winner after all and, as corny as the old saying goes, it is important to teach the message that ‘It is the participation that counts’!

If you interview a child after a season that went 0-9 and a child that went 9-0 they may have similar feelings and passion about their love for the sport if their coach did a good job of teaching positive attitudes and passing o the simple joy of the sport.
Coaches need to remember their goals and responsibilities, chiefly:
  1. To teach the game (rules of the sport).
  2. To engage the children to like the game.
  3. Make sure that the kids have fun.
  4. Foster healthy competition and hard work…teach the message ‘do your best’.
  5. Set kids up to do their best.
  6. Teach sportsmanship, fair play and team spirit.

Baseball: Children Who Are Afraid of the Ball

Many children step out of the way when a pitch is coming in because they are afraid of the ball hitting them.  It is a common problem that all coaches face.  It is the coaches job to teach confidence and show the children that if you hit the ball it won’t hit them!!!!
Here are some suggestions to help:
  1. Have the child take a wide batting stance so their feet are more grounded and it is harder to step out.
  2. Possibly have the front foot closer to the plate then the back foot.  That way they are slightly leaning forward and will find it harder to move backward.
  3. Practice by putting a bat or board at the back of their feet. So they can tell when they are stepping out or away from the pitch.
  4. Build up the speed of the pitches gradually so that they fain confidence in front of the ball.

Coaching Young Children: What to Remember When Starting Out

Field A Team - Kids and Coach

Field A Team – Kids and Coach

  1. Children learn at different paces, especially young children (ages 7-10).
  2. As such, you need to have patience with the children and try not to yell at them when they make mistakes.
  3. You need to remember that kids encounter a lot of stress during competitive games, with parents shouting and the pressure to win, so they will easily forget tactics, rules, techniques and other aspects of the game that you taught in practice.
  4. A coach should keep repeating and having the children repeat back the key teachings you want them to remember.
  5. Try to make their role as simple as possible.  Have them focus on 1-3 key items and not have to remember 10 different things at once.

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to my blog. My name is Mike Herlihy and I am from New Jersey, USA, where I am better known locally as ‘Coach Mike’- a title I both earn and enjoy!
Like most people I actively participated in amateur sports during my youth,  veering slightly more into the ‘fan’ category when I left college.  When my kids came along, however, I decided to take on a whole new sporting role as COACH- and boy is it a different side to sport!  15 years on and I am a veteran of local youth sports, having coached Football, Baseball and Basketball teams (with and without my son and daughter as players!)  I’ve seen it all and even earned a few trophies along the way.
I am a strong believer in the power and importance of amateur sports and local youth leagues.  As a parent I can see first hand how participating in sports and clubs has helped my children gain confidence, learn team work, keep fit and healthy, make friends and generally just have some fun!  The sense of community furnished by this coming together impacts far beyond the players themselves with parents, other family members, friends, volunteers and fans all reaching out and networking in support of teams.
The job of Coach is not always easy, but it sure is rewarding, and I want to share my experience and passion with you. So this blog is all about being a Coach – tips, advice, funny stories and hopefully the start of a goodwill amateur coaching online community.
Outside of this blog I have also ventured to help local sports communities worldwide by developing a FREE mobile app package called Field A Team.  This includes a special app for Coaches, the COACH app which helps coaches coordinate the business of the game-freeing up time spent on admin so he/she can spend more time on the team itself.  And for those very important people cheering from the sidelines, I have created the FAN app, which allows people to follow the development and success of their local sports teams from their mobile and through social media.
Field A Team - Mobile Solutions for Local Youth Sports

Mobile Solutions for Local Sports

I hope that this blog, along with these apps, make a positive contribution to you and your team.  Please feel free to comment, share, suggest and contact as you please!