What To Teach
The challenges of coaching change dramatically depending on the age of your team, but the information here should be appropriate to all but the oldest and most competitive teams.
requires more than just skills and drills.
·For teams less than 12 years old, focus on teaching the basic skills. Introduce 'finesse' skills slowly and one at a time, all the while ensuring that the basic skill is still being performed correctly.
and praise the performance of the team and the individual players,
not so much on winning and losing.
·Respect every child, and they will develop respect for you.
·Challenge yourself to have every kid experience some level of success at every practice and game. Let them know that you are proud of them for their effort, accomplishment, concentration, discipline etc . . .
·Try to use skill development exercises and drills that foster teamwork and cooperation, not competition amongst the players. You'll have enough trouble with this without encouraging it further.
·Talk to the parents. They can do wonders to UNDO everything you try to teach if you don't communicate your expectations of the team and their child with them.
There are six fundamental areas that you as a volunteer coach should focus 'teaching' your team players.
Since when was a baseball game supposed to be fun?
For 4 to 8 year olds, they play
completely for fun.
Fitness. If you've read a paper recently, you've undoubtedly read about the declining fitness of America's Youth. It is your charge to instill among your players a lifetime appreciation of cardiovascular exercise and fitness. This goes way beyond hard pec's and pumped calves. It means developing a fit mind, spirit and body.
Always include warm-up and conditioning exercises in
your practice sessions, and NEVER
use running laps, sit-ups, push-ups or any other physical activity as
punishment. The player will begin to associate punishment with exercise.
Teamwork. Young players are very egotistical or 'me' oriented and have very little awareness of the team or 'us'. So try to balance your team by equalizing skills, sizes and abilities. Having strong players 'mentor' less skilled players can help the less-skilled player greatly, and you never know, you might just have introduced life-long friends! And always discuss skill-development one-on-one with each player, not in front of the other players. This keeps the kids from comparing themselves to each other and fostering even more competition.
Skills. Depending on the age of your team, you will have to modify the information you teach. For instance, force-out can be really tough for some T-Ball players to understand. Forwards, mid-fielders and defense are difficult concepts for Pre-K and Kindergarten teams. Be sure to prepare your practice sessions in advance. Practice and review previously taught skills, then introduce and practice new skills. Encourage other skills in your "Team Talks", such as communication and decision-making skills.
Your team will most likely have good players, OK players and a
novice player or two. You'll have players from high-income families
and players from low-income families. You may have White players,
Black players, Hispanic players, Indian players, etc . . .
But it doesn't matter.
Respect. Your leadership and example will instill most of these points. For them to respect themselves, they must feel good about themselves. So, a little praise for minor or major accomplishments goes a long way, and guarantees their respect for you.
·Respect for the game.
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