The love for sports usually starts when we are young. But notice how some adults lament about their botched athletic dreams. And all too often the reason behind their not pursuing a specific sport is because they were traumatized by the way a coach handled their training and instruction. There is more to teaching the baseball basics when one decides to coach baseball to young children.
- First, ensuring your team's health is of the utmost importance. Parents who have their kids attend baseball camps or clinics trust the coaches that their kids are safe and monitored. While accidents are inevitable in sports, it is your responsibility to teach and uphold basic safety measures to protect your team. There are very talented players who started out young but ended up not pushing through with the sport because of an injury.
- Second, coaches make the usual mistake of expecting too much from their team. Remember that these are kids, and that most of them are there to start out in the sport. So naturally, their skills would not be as polished as you may expect them to be. Setting realistic expectations and goals is crucial. You avoid discouraging the kids and yourself as well.
- Baseball basics are of course best learned through constant practice. But since clinics last only a few hours a day, and most of baseball camps are held only during school vacations, making training a fun and inviting activity will encourage them to practice outside of your class. It might be a good idea to have some baseball techniques, such as correct pitching or catching of ground balls, taught prior to ending the class. Persuade the children to practice these with their siblings at home.
- During a game, notice how a coach might fuss over a player's strikeout but gloat over a home run. Some even go so far as ridiculing the kids from other teams. While the spirit of competition should always be there as a factor to drive the kids to perform well in baseball, showing such disgraceful behavior from no less than the coach will impart a very negative message to the children. It is always best to use positive reinforcement with kids. Congratulate them for a job well done, but do not condemn them for messing up.
Every baseball enthusiast has some desire to coach baseball. Always remember that it's the passion for the sport that must be given the most weight. Teaching the basics is not your only job as coach, rather it's showing them to love the sport enough to want to perform at their best.