Over Coaching Youth Baseball | Let them play baseball!
coachtrev writes "Most coaches, especially those coaching youth baseball at the younger levels tend to insert themselves into the youth baseball game more than is necessary. We do not have to be teaching or calling all the shots at every opportunity that becomes available. This is what we call over coaching and gives our youth baseball players too much information to process , thus they do not perform to the best of their ability.
The best coaches resist the urge to teach constantly (that is what a coach basically is..a teacher). They especially try to resist during the heat of competition. As youth baseball coaches we should observe, make mental notes, put our observations on paper, then teach during practice. This is the time our kids are best at absorbing and using the information.
The desire to win can lead to over coaching and actually hinder our youth baseball players development. From T ball all the way through high school, we as youth baseball coaches are supposed to be developing baseball players. The desire to win should not overtake our role as a teacher and making our players better baseball players. There are many situations where it is better for the players to actually play baseball. We may even lose a game in our goal of developing youth baseball players, but the games and our coaching should always be for the enrichment of the kids playing. Even up to the junior varsity level. Here are some situations where we would really like to see kids play.
The 3-0 count. Year after year, time after time , we see coaches for players as young as 7 and 8 year old take pitches when the count is 3 and 0. While this is common in high school and above, We would rather see young players get base hits than a walk. This is one of those winning instead of developing situations. We feel a young baseball player will benefit more from swinging the bat instead of taking pitches looking for walks. Of course if it is a bad pitch get your ball 4. One benefit of letting a youth baseball player swing with a 3 and 0 count is he will be much more relaxed in this swinging situation because he knows he still has two strikes left if he swings and misses. Another benefit is learning the strike zone. In all of life we learn by trial and error, we learn from our mistakes. These extra swings and hits let our players start learning which pitches they hit well. They will then learn to start looking for that pitch earlier in their at bat. Young players learn fast and this is a great benefit for them for years to come. Special note : We strongly discourage the use of a fake bunt with a 3-0 count. This tactic is used to rattle the pitcher and force a walk. We do not feel like this is beneficial to any of the players involved.
Bunting in youth baseball. Bunting is an important strategy in baseball to move runners and score points. It is good to learn and practice because the situation will arise when a good bunt is needed and could create a lasting positive memory. Good bunting will not land you a spot on the high school baseball team though. That is why we recommend swinging and rarely use the bunt strategy.
Hitting the Fastball. We see many kids struggle with the harder throwing youth baseball pitchers. We also tend to see these same kids stride to early to try and catch up to the pitch. As they get older they tend to hit off their front foot thus reducing their power and easily fooled by off speed pitches. Kids actually can react very fast and move their hands quickly to the ball but need to be shown. Break the swing into drills and explain the importance of each drill so they develop muscle memory with an understanding of why.
These are just a few simple topics in youth baseball that will give youth baseball players knowledge and confidence to succeed at all levels of baseball. That is what are job as coaches are.