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What it takes to be a good coach

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

The key to becoming a successful baseball coach is having a solid background in the game. Having previous knowledge and experience gained as a player will also go a far way toward receiving your team's respect. Also crucial is the ability to build and retain positive relationships with your players. A good coach runs his team firmly and will never let his team run him. Once the players realize who's in charge, things should go relatively smoothly. A successful coach is one who portrays good character traits and an even-tempered treatment to all of his players. Here are some additional tip brought to you by numerous sources.

Get to know your players individually. This will pay dividends in many ways. Ask them about their favorite teams and players. Walk a fine line between being their friend and being their mentor.

Be upbeat and positive (not too critical!) in your suggestions and demonstrations of game skills. You're part teacher, part cheerleader.

Help your players learn to trust (and even admire) you. A young player will be willing to work and play hard for a coach he wants to please. If they don't like you, the team's morale will suffer.

Don't be afraid to ask your players what they'd like or expect from you. Their answers may surprise and enlighten you and could help you become a better coach. Let them know that you sincerely enjoy coaching young people. That will build an important bond with them.

Start with the basics. Some of your players may not know much at all about the game, so start at the beginning if you have any really young players. Once the team understands the main rules and patterns of the game, introduce them to a few fundamental drills, such as fielding ground balls or pop flies. This will give you some idea of each player's skill level. Preach to your team the importance of practice. Use the old saying, "you will play how you practice".

Prepare your players for a live game. After all, there's a big difference between practicing skills and knowing what to do when a real game starts. For example, have pitchers throw to batters on a field with a full team behind the pitcher ready to make a play. Sometimes a better option is to place runners at various bases while you hit the ball without a pitcher and let the fielders make plays appropriate to the situation. This will prove invaluable to your players in real games.

Teach kids to slide properly. Proper feet-first sliding on close plays has been shown to make the game safer for younger players by preventing the risk of collision or ball hitting the runner.

Game Day. This is when all of your hard work as a coach and all the hard work your players have put in pay off (with any luck). Before the game be confident and cheerful, and let the team know that you expect to win. Encourage your players to play hard and remain alert and responsive throughout the game. (Take your own advice: never stop concentrating on strategies and tactics to help your team win.)

Season Development. One of your main goals is to help each player improve during the course of a season. Emphasize the importance of striving to get better every single day. There will be times, especially late in the season or when the days get hot, that your players may lose their enthusiasm for the game. That's when your skills as a coach are needed most. You'll want to encourage your players to stay focused on the tasks before them and always to do their best for the good of the team. Remind them that they'll feel better about themselves if they keep doing their best even when the going gets tough and the game feels more like work than play.

Finish Strong. Even if the season hasn't gone especially well, your players will remember the year proudly if they finish with a flourish. If you do make it to a post-season tournament, be sure that the team is 100% focused on the main goal. Remind your players that "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard". Tell them you believe in their abilities and you believe they can beat any of the other teams in the tournament. Your words will carry more weight if you really believe what you say!

  • The final phase in being a good baseball coach comes at the end of the season as you look back on the year and evaluate your team's performance as well as your own. It's a good thing to be able to look yourself in the mirror and know that you did the very best you could do for your team.

  • You've made it through a year of coaching! Evaluate what you've learned and be prepared to apply it in the following season, which can be just as rewarding and as much fun as the one you just finished.

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