Let's face it, teens abhor rules so much they make it their career to defy every single one you enforce on them. This need not be the case when coaching baseball to teens, if you use a basic but effective training approach.
- Make that first impression a good one. Teens probably got into your class after some squabble with their parents over how to spend their summer vacation. Or they are probably there because their worst enemy in school enlisted in the club they were aiming for. In any case, their eyes are on you, waiting for you to slip up. If they get the sense that you will uphold the strictest rules by setting expectations first and foremost, then you have caught your students' attention and trust.
- Set a realistic goal. You can do this by asking all of your students if they have had prior training in baseball. This way, you get to assess their skill levels and adjust your teaching methods accordingly, in order not to leave out those who have no background in baseball at all. This approach will help you align your goals for the team and encourage them to work for their realization as well.
- Always use positive reinforcement. Teens will respond better to motivation and support than mockery and insult.
- Teach by demonstration. Techniques, specific maneuvers and effective plays are best taught when demonstrated. Your students will tend to forget your instruction if they do not see it in action. Moreover, they will be encouraged to practice these techniques at home, which could lead to improved performance.
- Teach sportsmanship. There is nothing more humiliating and traumatic than your coach screaming at you from across the field for striking out and losing the game. Defeat received with honor and grace, and focusing more on the effort put out by your team, is essential to encourage the team to learn from minor setbacks.
- Always have fun. Fun is a universal ingredient for success. Your team may lose some, but it's more important that they leave with a smile on their faces after a day's game.
The most important role any coach has is in inspiring his students. This way, you get to impart that very important yet commonly overlooked aspect of coaching baseball -- the love and passion for America's all-time favorite pastime.