Tired of Coaching Baseball and Just Winging It? Make a Change Today!



Coaching baseball is a lot like the following quote:

"In education we are striving not to teach youth to make a living, but to make a life." --William Allen White

Yes, as coaches you are also teachers and in a sense, parents. You must act as role models to these kids, even though you may be a noble volunteer getting paid in smiles and handshakes.

In this coaching baseball article, whether you're at the tee ball or college ball level, the following content will help, here's what you can expect to pick up today:

  • A practice routine teaching consistency, discipline, and responsibility,
  • How to structure a winning practice, and
  • When & how to use different kinds of conditioning.

Rest assured, we'll apply the 80/20 Principal to developing a coaching baseball strategy that creates a winning environment for your players on as well as off the field.


CONSISTENCY, DISCIPLINE, RESPONSIBILITY

Coaching baseball needs to have these three behemoths peppered into everything you do as a baseball coach in structuring a winning practice. Consistency lies in the practice routine, players need to know what to expect for each practice...sometimes we can mix it up, but only to break slumping conditions.

The following will be a coaching blueprint you can use to modify for your own purposes...be creative, as long as whatever you do, make sure you're doing it for the good of the players, and NOT for yourself.

In order to create consistency, we put a practice plan down on paper and post it for all to see and read before practice starts. This will include:

  • Duties/Responsibilities,
  • *Pre-practice,
  • What regular practice consists of,
  • Conditioning, and
  • Post-practice duties/Responsibilities

*Pre-practice is optional for Little League baseball coaches.

Coaching baseball requires coaches to demand their players have responsibilities, and the discipline to remember to do them. Granted, tee ball through some high school coaches won't have the benefit of players driving themselves to practice, so you have to make it real clear to the transporters, your players are to be there during a specific time or there are consequences for the whole team.

Moving on...


DUTIES/RESPONSIBILITIES

For both "Pre" AND "Post" practice duties, you can be as creative as you want, just don't discriminate...rotate responsibilities among ALL players (even the really good ones). Also, stress to these young ones to take pride in their work, and don't half ass a job. Your coaching baseball role is love/hate...they'll hate you now, but they'll love you for it later in life.;-)

Some baseball duties include:

  • Putting out/taking in the bases,
  • Raking the baselines/infield/batting circle,
  • Setting up practice drill stations, and
  • Cleaning up the dugout.

It's limited only by your imagination, next...


PRE-PRACTICE

In coaching baseball players, they need to be introduced to practice BEFORE practice. Most of the pre-practices we did were BONUS work, like taking extra ground balls, fly balls, or swings. We used to do this on our own time in high school, but in college the extra/bonus work was mandatory.

Now,


WHAT REGULAR PRACTICE SHOULD CONSIST OF...

The meat & potatoes of coaching baseball is the main body of the practice plan. What you work on and how often will dictate whether the team sinks or swims. Here we'll talk about two important components.

Important note: most likely you'll have to hold a 15 minute meeting before practice officially starts to go over the day's plan of action (POA).

First,

1) Break it down into stations
Depending on how many coaches you're blessed with, and how old the players you're coaching, will reveal the number of stations to utilize.

If you're dealing with Little Leaguers and have only 2-3 coaches, then just do 2-3 stations. At this age, the young athletes need to be monitored with a close eye for obvious attention span reasons, and because teaching fundamentals are so crucial at this stage, so you have to be more hands-on.

If you're dealing with Middle School and up, have 4-5 stations:

  • Throwing,
  • Hitting (drills + LIVE),
  • Fielding (ground/fly balls, strategy plays),
  • Conditioning (interval/distance),
  • Pitching (drills + bullpens).

And, for component number two...


CONDITIONING

Coaching baseball players demands a conditioning dynamic to the practice schedule, and there are two training methods with different desired effects on their performance:

  1. Interval/Sprint, AND
  2. Distance/Aerobic.

Baseball is a stopping and starting explosive sport, and has a tremendous amount of standing around. There's really no long distance element to it, with one exception, please read on...

Interval training is any stopping and starting, sprinting followed by a quick rest...it jacks up the heart rate, then brings it down. The benefits of this type of training are faster body recovery and better performance when the game is on the line.

Activities include: base-running, 20-30 yard wind sprints, sprint/walk foul poles, shuttle/relay runs, run downs, and stadium stairs.

Long distance running is good for building a healthy cardiovascular system, and specifically for ball players, getting rid of muscle soreness. Long distance running benefits pitchers the most because they develop quite a bit of lactic acid in their bodies. A 30+ minute run after a pitching performance will flush the *lactic acid build-up out of the blood stream.

*Lactic acid is a waste product your muscles dump into the bloodstream during a workout, and is the prime cause of stiffness & soreness the next day.

What effect does a combo of interval and long distance training do to the body?

It was a nice mix of interval and long distance running that brought my resting heart rate (heart rate upon waking in the morning) from 65 beats per minute (bpm) to 41 bpm. The normal is between 60-70 bpm, and you're almost considered dead below 40 bpm. How does it get so low? Through the training, your heart gets so efficient at pumping blood throughout the body, it doesn't have to work as hard.

Your ability to deal with stress dramatically increases, your less sore after workouts, and time seems to slow down when you're in high pressure situations.

The bottom line?

Coaching baseball is an art and a science. Not only are you required to provide a winning recipe out on the field, but you're a role model for these kids to learn life through, so remember to revisit the following quote:

"In education we are striving not to teach youth to make a living, but to make a life." --William Allen White

Yes, a very meek percentage may make a living out of playing sports, but most you'll be training to make a life, in the real world. Check out the following coaching article:

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