-David S.-

Baseball is a kid’s sport as well as a sport that makes grown men feel like a kid again.   It should be fun to play all the time.  Sadly, I believe some deficiencies in youth baseball have the potential to ruin this beautiful game and may contribute to the decreasing interest in the game.  One problem is securing good coaching for kids.  It seems that there are two main opposing coaching styles effecting how baseball is being played today.  One is that some coaches care so much about winning that it’s more about them than the players.  We all know that “crazy” coach.  The other is that certain coaches are just “there” and don’t do much of anything.  These two common coaching types seem to kill kid’s interest in the game at a young age.  Unfortunately, these opposing approaches end up having the same outcome…kids quit the game.

Some coaches are so blinded by winning some little tournament or every game that they don’t realize the affect it has on the kids.  The coach may be a big screamer…scaring away the nervous, shy, yet talented kid.  This coach may also over play his “star” players, leaving the others to rot on the bench.  If these kids never get to play at a young age, why even play at all? So they quit.  The coach only wants to get  “his” trophy (how amazing….a youth trophy) to show the guys at the office, instead of what he should be doing.  The coach should be developing all players to the best of their ability, increasing their self confidence, instilling respect and good work habits, and most importantly keeping the fun in baseball.

The other type of coach is one that just stands there and does nothing at all during practices and games.  No coaching or instruction at all.  This is usually the dad that doesn’t take a step back when volunteers are called for.   You may hear the obvious, “Let’s get a hit,” from them during a game while they lean and hold up the fence.  Thanks genius, “a hit” – wow, I was thinking that too.  Although, they deserve credit for sticken it out and “volunteering,” they tend not to truly know what they are doing.  Kids with this type of coach generally learn no discipline, no skills and run wild.  At practices, the ballplayers get bored by just standing around doing nothing watching the never ending little league BP sessions.  These young kids also lose  interest in this disorganized chaotic atmosphere.  If you get bored with baseball, why play, right?

There is a third type of coach, the one that has to coach because his son is on the team and if he doesn’t coach, his son will be kicked off the team because he’s a jackwagon! You all know what I’m talking about here- but that is a whole blog in itself!

No coaches are perfect and I am truly grateful to those that volunteer because coaching is a lot of work under the best circumstances.  A coach that “yells” or is stearn for the right reasons is definitely needed. But a good coach will also step back, not say anything, and let the kids play.  Coaching is an honor and a huge responsibility……Please, go to seminars, coaching clinics, or get a mentor and don’t ever be a kid’s last coach!