I am excited to be the coaching coordinator for Black Rock Little League. I would like to use this forum to pass along some coaching ideas from time to time.
However, as this is the first post, I want to say a few things…
- Thank you for coaching! In my time with Black Rock LL we have had some wonderful coaches and quite frankly, without coaches, we have no league.
- While I will pass along a lot of what I know, I want to make sure you understand this, it took a long time of trial and error to learn a lot of the things I know now. I did things wrong for years! But one of my best qualities is knowing I don’t know everything. I constantly learn from players, others coaches, clinics, tv announcers, articles…you name it. If you know of a great concept, drill, etc., pass it on to all of us. I might put right into my next practice at SHU!
- Feel free at ANY time to reach out to me to run any issues or ideas past me.
Okay. With those parameters out of the way, here are a few of the basic things I would like to pass along to all our coaches.
- Be aware of your words. Meaning, kids listen to everything you say and take on your personality. One thing I always try to do with the younger age is BE POSITIVE. Meaning I both try to make every practice and game fun, but also I try to use words in the positive tone.
- So for example, a kid of yours keeps swinging at the high pitch. Can’t lay off it. Drives you nuts. If you say to him or her “Don’t swing at the high pitch”, the only thing he thinks of is hitting the high pitch. Why? Our minds don’t hear don’t.
- Here’s is an example…Don’t think of Santa Claus on roller skates. What did you do…you thought of Santa Claus on roller skates. If I don’t want you to think about Santa on roller skates, I say…Think of The Easter Bunny on a moped. So to that kid I would say, “Look for the low pitch”…”see the ball down”, etc, etc.
In practice, I use this general formula for each skill, event that I am doing. So let’s take ground balls…
- First is break into its simplest form: this is rolling ground balls to the kid with no glove on.
- Next I would roll ground balls to them with their glove on.
- Then I would hit them ground balls at their position.
- Then I would have them throw to the bases.
- Then I would make it a competition. For example, whoever fields 5 balls cleanly and throws them to first. They love it.
PLAN FOR DOWNTIME:
- Since baseball can be slow with the younger ages (a kid at the plate who needs a lot of swings to make contact or a pitcher who won’t throw strikes), any times you keep the other players busy, the better off you will be. Of course you need help from your other coaches, but it keeps them engaged.
- Here is an idea. Have a bucket of tennis balls and a racquet. In between each batting practice pitch, have a coach hit a pop up to an outfielder. Go from left, to center, to right. The first kid to catch 5 pop ups wins.
PROPER WARM UP:
- When warming up the players, good to start with a light, short jog.
- Then get them loose from the ground up. Legs, spine, upper body. Generally you should do dynamic (moving) exercises first, then static (holding) next. For example, high knees, lunges, butt kicks, toy soldiers, etc. Then more of holding movements, toe touches, groin stretch, etc.
MAKING EXERCISE FUN:
I try to never use physical activity as a punishment. Rather it should be fun.
- You can time kids home to first, home to second, home to third, and home to home on the stop watch. They love it.
- Team relay races, they love it.
- Sprints where the winner is done, the rest keep going.
If you need to discipline a child, the best thing you can do is take away the sport from him or her for a bit. Sit in the dugout, banned from a practice, have to sit an inning in a game.
To reach me: 203.260.4932. MazzoniW@SacredHeart.edu