Monthly Archives: July 2013

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.