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8U baseball aged kids (7 and 8 year olds) still want to ‘play’. Children at this age are not seeking or are they equipped to dive into the youth baseball competitive baseball world.
Yet we put them into team shirts and baseball uniforms and whether they like it or not, are ready for it or not, they are competing. The adults start tracking the standings, the win loss percentages, championship trophies, all-star squads, and putting draft picks together to build winning teams.
Does this remind you of anything? Before you know it we look at our children as miniature professional ball players. The games become a World Series as we inspire our youth baseball teams to the playoffs.
Baseball coaches rarely if ever have any training (estimated about 20% have had any coaching training) on how to coach baseball with the proper mindset and coaching approach. We take our well meaning parents who are truck drivers, bankers, store owners and plumbers and turn them loose to coach our baseball kids.
That is why so many youth baseball coaches revert to the only concept of baseball they know. Looking around at all the peer coaches and baseball parents and they are all doing the same thing.
If everyone else is following a traditional approach to youth league baseball then it must be right, right?
No one has ever shown coaches the right way to teach baseball and develop baseball players. No one has shown them how to build a coaching approach with the kids in mind.
No one has shown the adult volunteer coaches how treat kids, talk to kids, handle baseball parents and create a learning atmosphere that is fun and enjoyable.
So, youth baseball coaches in 8u baseball revert back to what they do know and that is a recipe for ballplayers to under develop skills and over emphasize results.
Baseball practices are usually poorly planned and lack opportunities for players to touch the ball or swing the bat or run the bases. Pre-games are a lost opportunity to have an additional hour of practice drills.
Instead, players toss a couple throws back in forth and say they are warmed up. Then a coach takes one ball and hits some fly balls or grounders to a long line of payers waiting around for their turn to catch the ball.
Then we have to go to the dugout and rest and hear a long pre-game lecture from our ‘Knute Rockne’ coach trying to get us ‘fired up’.
Why? Because in most of our 8u baseball coaches and beyond their mindset thinking is that their job is on the line unless we win this game.
All the adults see is one way, through the lens of 60 years of youth baseball tradition. There is a better way and it takes courage to try it.
As an 8 & under baseball coach you are a role model for your players and their parents. You set the tone on the atmosphere you want to create with your kids and baseball parents.
I tell my baseball team and parents right from the start what we are going to strive for and shoot for. My bar is high and I am not talking about winning and losing. I am talking about a high bar on how we will handle situations and character.
8u baseball parents should have an easy roll to play.
It is a pleasure to help the baseball adults learn how easy it is to be a supportive baseball parent. Do you know the key to enjoying watching your kids play baseball?
Watching our kids play baseball can be nerve racking it you let it. I have plenty of tips to make the youth baseball experience enjoyable for kids and families.
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