Common mistakes made by youth baseball coaches

I ran across an article over the weekend while researching some baseball tips. And while I haven’t read John Reed’s book, I was struck by his list of don’ts. A couple of John’s more philosophical points caught my attention.

Destroying player confidence by telling them all the things they
are doing “wrong.” It takes ten seconds to destroy a kid’s confidence
by telling him what’s “wrong” with his swing.

Hitting a baseball is one of the most difficult things in sports. Reaction time, reading the ball, adjustments before the swing, mid swing hand adjustments, etc., all conspire against a person. Hitting a baseball is a head game, and telling your young batter you don’t believe in him (what’s he’s doing wrong, what adjustment he should make), just before he gets into the box is one of the stupidest things a coach can do. Boy have I been guilty in the past of this one…

Coaching as if you were preparing your players for the Major Leagues. 73% of kids quit youth sports by age 13. Only about one kid per youth team will ever play high-school baseball. You will coach one future Major Leaguer about every 641 seasons.

Now I’ll be the first to admit in pushing the kids and expecting them to work hard. A coaches expectations and players fear of falling short, is a powerful motivator when used carefully. And while I don’t know about John’s stats, he’s certainly on point. As with many of things I post regarding coaching, it’s about keeping a positive attitude. At the end of the day, it’s a game, it’s supposed to be fun, and it’s a coaches job to keep it that way. Push your team, make them work, make them better than they are, but don’t turn it into a job. Doing so will only cost you talented players, especially when the football or track coach makes it more fun than you. Think about it, if you hated your job, how much effort would you be willing to put into it?

You can read John’s full list.

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