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Monday, May 18, 2009
Why Did I Want to Be Youth Baseball Coach Again? Now is the Time For a Mid Season Review!
By Chip Lemin
Hello Summer time to all Coaches,
Do any of these things sound familiar? Why is my child sitting again? I forgot to tell you that my child has a soccer game to go to. Why is my child batting last? Do you really have to yell at the players so much during to the game? Thanks for telling us about changing game times at the last minute! I could go on and on. These are just a few complaints, I'm sure you could add your own to the list.
Summer time is a very busy time for everyone, including parents. Sometimes I forget that. The more organized and up to date I can be communicating with players and parents the better things go. This is not as easy as it sounds sometimes. I must be as understanding as I can with parents. Lashing out and putting blame on them seldom works. I must look at what I can do to make things better as a coach. This is why being a youth baseball coach is not for everyone. My hat is off to anyone who volunteers for this duty.
Some parents can not see the differences in talent between players. Their child is better than many others in their eyes. That is why a well written parental letter handed out before the season is important. This letter will spell out how playing time is figured. It will also give suggestions such as, MORE PRACTICE AT HOME, as a option if someone is unhappy with playing time. You can always tell a parent to call you back during non game times to honestly discuss the matter. Talking with a parent right before or after a game is not a good thing to do. Avoid it at all costs. Ask them to call you back in 24-48 hours.
If they do call you back,keep the discussion to the matter at hand. Do not discuss other players. Talk about their child strong points first. Resist being drawn into any argument what so ever. YOU ARE THE COACH! Calmly give your side,and make NO PROMISES about future playing time. Remember, most people are not losing sleep over this issue. It is just youth baseball, we parents are the ones who make a mess of it.
Using e-mail is a very good way to keep everyone up to date on games, practices, etc...Encourage everyone to get access to e-mail somehow. This the 21st century. Cell phone numbers are a must also. Give your assistant coaches some numbers to call also. You don't have to do it all.TIP: Use a WORD document for a calender to keep things current. Just edit the document and resend it as needed.
Lastly, your conduct during games sets the tone of how well you will get along with players and parents. No one likes to hear their child being yelled at during a game. Anytime you personally address a player out on the field can be, and will be, thought of as yelling at that player. You may not think of it as yelling,but someone else may.When you address your team or a player on the field, keep it positive. There will be time after the inning is over to talk about mistakes. This is youth baseball, not life or death. When you see any of your players years from now in a store, you want them to have good memories of baseball, not walk past you without saying anything.
So take some time right now to make a list of things you could change that would make your team more fun to be on for players, and parents. Try to be creative, and think outside the box. Write down any and everything you can think of. Some things you may be able to use right now. Others you can use next year.Some things may not work at all. The point is to give it a shot. Then keep that list somewhere you can find it next year. Then you can put some of it into the team letter.
You are doing an important civic duty as a youth baseball coach. You are not doing it for fame or glory. If you are, you will be disappointed. You will make mistakes because you are a human being. You are trying to squeeze in some fun for the kids into a busy adult life. Give yourself and your team a break and don't take it so seriously. Your attitude will reflect in your team's play and conduct. Just play by the rules and go out of your way to be a good sportsman to all, including opponents and umpires. You owe it to yourself and this great game of youth baseball. Enjoy your season!
Chip Lemin has been a promoter of youth baseball since they started using aluminum bats. That's a long time. I have witnessed many good people get into coaching without solid coaching skills and it is not fun for them or the kids.Today's newer coaches are also being shortchanged on sportsmanship, like there is none. Visit my site to sign up for a insightful, informational, free coaching e-course at http://www.baseballecourse.com
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