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My baseball coaching philosophy always comes back to this.
I know how hard of a game baseball is to play. Therefore, I respect my players for the effort they put into it knowing that there will be a measurable level of failure in each and every one of them.
Baseball is a game of failures. Success is fleeting and hard to attain. Baseball is a hard game to play well. The nature of the game brings even the best humbly to their knees at times.
For hitters, the laws of averages are against you. Even pitchers and fielders can attain a higher level of successes but the errors and hanging curveballs will focus the spotlight right on you for everyone to see. You cannot hide when the groundball goes between your legs.
When coaching kids baseball and high school baseball, most amateur youth coaches fail to realize or consider how hard baseball is to play. Often baseball coaches will end up nagging and criticizing on every miscue, boo-boo, swings and misses, and become a negative coach.
I choose the opposite. I choose to be a #content_1987980. I choose not to hammer on kids for every thing that goes wrong. Why? I know stuff is going to go wrong. I expect imperfection because even the best professionals do not execute perfectly.
I have been asked how I can be so patient with baseball players. “Why don’t you yell at your players and chew them out all the time like so many others do?”
Because I know how hard of game baseball is to play well. I never intentionally embarrass my players on the ball field. I will not yell at them in a manor that embarrasses a player in front of their peers, fans or the opponents.
Take the player or players inside the dugout (out of the limelight) in privacy and go over the situation to see what the players were thinking and how we could make it better next time.
Having worked with so many professional ballplayers I know that making players uptight, nervous and playing ‘tight’ does not work too well. Baseball players play much better when they are relaxed.
The pressures of the game are plenty for them to handle without me piling on a bunch of added negativity. Professional ballplayers have to produce every day or they may get fired. You don’t produce enough over an extended period and someone if going to come along and take your uniform—now that is pressure enough in it self.
Take time to reflect, visualize, and jot down your coaching philosophies. Ask your self why do you want to coach youth baseball and high school baseball?
These are the type of questions you want to ask yourself. At first, all the answers may not come real easy or be real clear. Often the answers will change as you go along. It is perfectly ok to adapt, change, and improvise your baseball coaching approach.
Remember, I always go back to knowing that baseball is a hard game to play well. Yes, I am going to look for positive coaching opportunities.
I use the complement sandwich approach. Now don’t get me wrong, I do raise my voice or get stern on occasion. If the effort level and intensity is lacking 100% then of course the baseball coach should use this opportunity to point out that this not an acceptable way to play baseball.
Sitting a player on the bench for a time for lollygagging or throwing equipment is very appropriate. Letting players know that playing the game hard all the time is really the only way to play baseball. Mistakes will be made but we should be seeing improvement after we go over the mistakes in practice or in our conversations.
Write down several bullet points on your answers to the topics we discussed here. I guarantee the better you know your baseball coaching philosophy the more it will come in handy during the season.
Every day stuff will come up in situations that you can wonder how am I going to handle this right now? Fall back on your coaching philosophies. If you do not have a strong footing foundation to base your decisions on you look as though you were drifting, inconsistent, and indecisive to those you are leading and their parents.
Your leadership will be compromised and questioned. Have a coaching game plan. You may not do everything perfect but you have a much better chance to ‘have a smoother sail’ if you have a strong belief in your heart and mind in your baseball coaching philosophy and approach.
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Youth baseball careers are short-lived so lets make it count for our players. What do players really want out of playing baseball?