You stepped up, and volunteered to coach a Little League® team. First, thank you! Without committed volunteers like you, local leagues would not be able to provide kids with the opportunity to have fun with their friends, and play the game they love. Second, if you have little experience in running a youth baseball or softball team, we’re sure you have questions. Below are some simple, yet helpful tips to make sure you understand your role as a manager/coach, as well as ideas that will ensure your coaching experience is the best possible for you and your Little Leaguers®.
Remember this is about fun, basic fundamentals, and spending time with your kids. Do not stress about worry about building the next Chris Bryant. There will be more playing in the dirt than throwing the ball and thats ok :-) And if your practice plan turns into a game of tag....... well, scream not it and run!!!!
Read below, take a deap breath, and go with the flow
Perspective of the Players
Before we start working with Tee-Ballers we need to understand their perspective of the game. We are trying to teach these concepts in an environment where simply being the one who comes up from the bottom of the pile with the ball is plenty to call it a successful day.
Realities of Tee-Ball
Please do not view these statements as negatives. Accepting these points as the realities that they are, and being prepared to deal with them, will enable us to better enjoy the time we spend on the field with our kids.
It’s Not Baseball
If, as a Tee-Ball coach, we go into the season thinking we are going to experience baseball we are setting ourselves up for a lot of frustration and disappointment. If we approach the season for what it is, spending time with our child and their friends, watching them run around, laugh while they work to develop skills to catch, throw and hit that little ball, then we can have a great time as coaches.
As adults we are going to the park thinking ‘baseball’, while the kids are going to the park thinking ‘I get to see my friends and run around a lot’. We want to see the activity from a kid’s perspective and teach and manage them within their perspective and recognize that the activities at the park are not always going to look like baseball.
However, given the information in this section, over time, we can be help our kids begin to learn the basics of baseball and develop some baseball skills.
Kids Can’t Catch
Scientific research has determined that the human brain, on average, does not develop the capability to coordinate both eyes in what is called ‘binocular vision’ until around age 7 or 8. Until both eyes learn to work together we humans lack a keen sense of depth perception, which plays a big role in catching a flying baseball. It is important recognize that, short of a few exceptions, the brains in kids this age have not developed to the point where they can catch a flying ball with much proficiency. Missing a thrown ball at this age has little to do with a lack of athletic talent.
In addition to the lack of brain development needed to track and catch a flying ball; the fact is that most have very little experience or practice in this skill. As the spring progresses the kids hey will improve and they will begin to catch the ball more often. The most important that we go into our tenure as Tee-Ball coaches with an understanding of the developmental limitations of kids in this age group.
Kids Will Find Interests Other Than Baseball While On the Field
We can give our kids a glove, a ball and a bat, take them to a ball field and talk about baseball until we are blue in the face, but this is no guarantee that our kids will be thinking baseball the whole time they are at the park.
Other things they will find of interest include: other kids to poke, grab, talk to, and chase; bugs, dirt, birds, airplanes, fire trucks, etc. These all can and will trump baseball in importance at times during a practice or game.
Adults who recognize these realities, accept them and work baseball in along the way will enjoy their time with the kids much more. Coaches who resist accepting the reality of the Tee-Ball world will experience high levels of frustration, bewilderment and blood pressure.
#1 Priority... Have Fun and Enjoy watching you kid run, play, and laugh with their friends.
Little League Parent/Volunteer Pledge
I will teach all children to play fair and do their best.
I will positively support all managers, coaches and players.
I will respect the decisions of the umpires.
I will praise a good effort despite the outcome of the game.
Little League Pledge
I trust in God.
I love my country and will respect its laws.
I will play fair and strive to win.
But, win or lose, I will always do my best.