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2016 Coaches Best Practices

 

This section of the Coach’s Binder is intended to help new and returning coach’s be as effective as possible.  I understand that when it comes to coaching and teaching baseball and when it comes to developing kids, this is a mixture of art and science with few absolutes.  There is really no one size fits all and this is not be intended as such.  There are many great thoughts, philosophies, and techniques that may run counter to some of the guidance below and very well may be better than what is offered here.  If so, go with them.  But, if this merely helps only the new coach who is a bit uncertain what to do, then let’s consider this section a success. 

 

What this section is not:

·       A collection of Must-Do’s or Must-Not-Do’s

·       The best way to coach – I don’t know the best way, it is a good way

·       Advice from someone who knows better

·       Advice from someone who hasn’t made a fair amount of mistakes

·       Specific coaching advice on the strategy or nuance of baseball

·       Commentary on how to teach technique

·       An exhaustive or definitive comment on anything

 

What this section is:

·       Helpful suggestions

·       Some relatively good ideas – some perhaps insightful, most probably obvious

·       A collection of recommendations from several coaches admired by players, parents, and our league.

 

How this section is organized:

·       Philosophy

·       Coaching Kids

·       Managing a Practice

·       Managing a Game

·       Welcome Team Emails

 

Keep in mind that the content of this section spans a fairly wide gamut depending on the division of play and also on the context of the situation.  Not only might many of these comments differ some based on whether or not we’re talking Tee Ball or Majors, but some of this stuff might even differ from the 1st inning of a regular season game to whether or not a play-off game is on the line.  Everything below should be taken in the proper context.

 

PHILOSOPHY

 

As the Manager/Coach and leader of the team, it’s very important to be grounded in your objectives.  Much like in business, the organization and team is a reflection of the management.  What you value, reward, and embody will directly translate to the lessons your kids learn and your team’s collective team spirit and persona.  So, I recommend being fairly deliberate here.  Recognize this as a great opportunity to make a difference in kids’ lives by teaching them many things, well beyond baseball.  Please, try to be mindful of the following:

 

• They are kids

 

• They are here to have fun, more than anything else!

 

• They are going to make mistakes… a lot of them… it’s what all people do, especially kids

 

• That coaching youth sports is a privilege that you signed up for.  You may not think you signed up for the marginally talented, least interested kid on the team, but you did – you signed up for all kids. That doesn’t mean you have to overly focus on the weakest link and/or sacrifice your time and effort for the rest of the team, but you should be prepared for that kid and have the ability to still make his or her season a positive experience for the kid.

 

• This league exists, not for baseball itself, but to serve kids, to serve families, and to serve the community.

 

• This league is about teaching sportsmanship, teamwork, and fostering self-esteem.  By implication, that must mean these things need to be taught.  The kids on your team don’t have this stuff down – they have a lot to learn and you have signed up to be a teacher of these things.

 

Establish and communicate your goals for the team to both the parents and kids.  They won’t be the same for every division and understandably, they get a bit more intense at the higher divisions, but the goals of our youth coaches should be to teach:

 • The ability to play the game of baseball

  • Knowledge
  • Skill
  • Passion for the game of baseball

    Passion for sports and athletic competition – the joy of…

  • Working their bodies
  • Improving their skill
  • Achieving results
  • Competing with others
  • Sportsmanship
  • Respect for rules
  • Respect for umpires
  • Respect for teammates
  • Respect for opponents
  • Winning gracefully and losing with honor

 

We want every kid to want to return to the game and to the league.  We want every kid to feel good about himself and to feel glad he was on this team.  Now understandably, that’s not always easy and kids and families have to hold up their end of the bargain too, but nonetheless, those should be our collective goals.

 

MANAGING A TEAM (COACHING KIDS)

 

Establish rapport with all parents, if possible.  Set expectations on your commitment level, what you will focus on, how you will support their kid, and how they can support the team and your efforts.  There is more on this in the Team Email section.

 

Get the kids’ minds “turned-on” to baseball.

 

Make them want “more” - more of any of it in whatever form that comes… more practice, more games, more team camaraderie, more baseball.

 

Talk “to” them, not “at” them. 

 

Take time to listen to them.  If you want to reach them, you have to let them reach you.

 

Be a better teacher, than coach.  Be both, but emphasize teaching.  Kids need to be taught what to do, shown how to do it, and encouraged when they do.

 

Lead by example.  The behavior we model will communicate more than the words we say.  So model the focus, positivity, energy, and respect you want them to have.  They are paying attention and can recognize much of the hypocrisy in life, especially at the higher ages.  Don’t underestimate their perceptiveness and to contribute to that hypocrisy. 

 

Hold them accountable for the things they can control

•             Effort

•             Sportsmanship

•             Being emotionally engaged, caring, and trying to improve

•             Being a good teammate

 

Develop leadership on the team, not just with your best players, but with anyone willing to be a leader.  Leadership has many forms from leading on the field with one’s play, to leading at practice with one’s effort, or leading in the dug-out with one’s attitude, and more.  Look for kids with that “fire” and reward them for having it by acknowledging it and playing off it.

 

Consider mixing up the bottom slots on your batting order.  It probably will not make too much difference in the outcome of your season if you shuffle the order every game on the bottom 2-3 players.  Kids are sensitive and nobody wants to be singled out as the “worst” and that awareness can really undermine a kid’s confidence and experience.

 

Don’t play favorites.  Don’t make an example out of kid. Be their friend.

 

MANAGING A PRACTICE

Get there before the kids and set up the field, the stations, etc.  Be ready to start when they arrive.  We want them to arrive ready to practice and that means coaches have to be ready to lead them when they first arrive.

 

Be organized - have a plan.

 

Create structure in the practice - what, when, who, etc.

 

Communicate the plan at the start of practice - understanding what’s coming up helps kids be prepared for what’s needed from them when and helps reduce their mental preoccupation with what’s next.

 

Keep kids moving through the practice.  This requires multiple stations, lots of help, and some overall oversight and coordination.

 

Limit time at any station for a kid to about 20 minutes.  There’s no magic number here, but manage mental burn-out.  Most kids don’t get physically tired from baseball, but their concentration will wane if practice is too long, practice is not crisp, and/or they get caught on any one drill for too long.

 

End on a positive note, even if that’s nothing more than a team huddle and pointing out who really worked hard and had some success out there that day.

 

End with a game if you can.  If you have time to scrimmage, that’s a great way to end, but if that’s not in your coaching plan for the day, still consider ending on some kind of game, even if the game is as simple and quick as a 5 minute base-running relay game.  There are endless list of games on the internet, but consider a couple thoughts on games:

  • Choose a game that reinforces what you have been teaching
  • Have enough structure and oversight to the game so that it does not degenerate into sandlot baseball or bad habits.
  • Try to mix in games that different kids can excel at.
  • If you do scrimmage, here are a couple suggestions to maximize playing time and even play making opportunity for everyone.
    • Coach pitch – kid pitch slows everything down, pitches aren’t as good, resulting in not as many at bats or well hit balls.  Also, everyone wants to be the pitcher and the game often becomes overly focused on the pitcher/batter dynamic as opposed to the emphasis on being a fun way to practice situational baseball.
    • Change from offense to defense after 6 outs. 
    • After 3 outs, I still recommend clearing all base runners and moving the fielders to different positions.
    •  
  • Don’t have a catcher.  Have a bucket of balls by the pitcher.  If there’s a “passed ball” then just let it go to the backstop and throw the next pitch.  The pitcher/coach can cover home as needed.  This allows the game to faster – you don’t’ have to worry about dressing catchers and can help avoid injuries.  It’s not perfect and you certainly don’t get your catchers any practice in the mode.  This suggestion can be helpful if a) your catchers are getting practice elsewhere and b) you’re really pressed for time and trying to focus more on situational play for the fielders and base runners.  I absolutely agree that there are times when you’d definitely want a catcher during your scrimmage… perhaps just not always.

 

Focus on both Fundamentals and Situational baseball.  For AA and below, I’d suggest focusing about 80% on fundamentals and up to 20% on situational baseball, at least for AA.  For AAA/Majors, consider closer to a 50/50 mix.  (Again, there is no magic formula.)  The fundamentals are easy and requires lots of reps if possible – at least 10, if not 20 per kid - 20 ground balls, 20 fly balls, 20 throws to 1B, etc.)  Situation baseball is much more difficult and often requires the entire team to practice together. 

 

Be prepared to manage disruptive players productively.  Don’t get surprised when this happens.  These are kids, and it’s going to happen - they play, lose focus, goof off - that’s what kids do - be ready for it and then don’t over-react when they do - simply address it in a productive way for the kid and the team.

 

(AAA/Majors)  Start sharp.  Teach kids to get to practice prepared to focus and hustle.  Have them hang their bag and hustle into warmups.   Many kids show up ready to chat and focused on anything but baseball and sort of ease their way gradually into focus.  The problem is that you lose valuable teaching time and it also distracts at least one, if not several other players. 

 

(AAA/Majors) Teach “the next play”.  Teach kids how to think baseball, what’s next, what should they be trying to accomplish on the next play.

 

Batting Practice - this is tricky and I’ve got a bit to say here.  Figure out when and how you are going to teach kids proper batting mechanics and give them enough reps to really improve.  Some quick math: Most teams will have about 12 players.  During practice, you’ll have probably 90 minutes max for BP.  Most practices are probably 90 minutes, but even the 2-hour practices will probably only have BP for 90 minutes as there will probably be some time for all-hands scrimmage or situational practice.  The point is that kids will probably realistically only be in the batting cage for about 5 minutes each, once you accommodate for transitioning kids, picking up balls, etc.  And for every division besides Majors, there’s only one practice a week.  So, that amounts to 5-10 minutes per week of BP and that is not much time to improve on something so difficult.  So, how will you teach and help them to master batting fundamentals?  Here are some suggestions:

 

·   Consider augmenting cage time with both soft-pitch and batting tee into a net.  This could double and triple the amount of swings they get because neither require a cage.

·   Ensure kids are getting consistent and good pitches in the cage.  It doesn’t do a kid much good to see 25 pitches, but only 10 in the strike zone.  BP is really a time to work on mechanics, rhythm, and to build confidence.  If you’re having trouble throwing mostly strikes, shorten the distance, reduce the velocity, or something – but get the kid in rhythm.  

·   Get kids in/out of the cage quickly.  Have the “next” kid moving towards the cage before the current batter is finished.  Have the kid who just hit help pick up BP balls.

·       Consider augmenting your practice schedule with a 3rd party baseball team instruction.  I have done this for the past couple seasons and the results have been fantastic. Btw, this is not a novel idea.  Many of the teams, if not most, at the AAA/Majors level do this.  While 3rd party instruction can accelerate development in all parts of the game, I have found this to be most beneficial for batting instruction.  Sign up for a month of 2- HR team practices, 1 x per week.  Divide the kids into 2 squads – that’s about 6 kids a squad.  Each kid comes to practice for 1 HR.  With these organizations, you will usually have 3-4 cages/lanes.  Designate 3 lanes for BP.  Lane 1 – Hitting Tee.  Lane 2 – Soft Pitch.  Lane 3 – Regular Pitch.  Lane 4 – Pitching/Catching practice or focused infield technique.  Have kids go from Lane 1 – 3, then repeat – taking the necessary rest in between.  In a 1-HR practice, each kid will probably get about 250 pitches and expert instruction and the chance to really change mechanics.   If they are struggling with some mechanics, they can really work on it in the tee or soft-pitch lane over and over. Before moving up to game speed.  Also, you can slow down and really work with a single kid while the other kids keep moving through the different lanes.  There’s so many ways to organize this and I have only provided one suggestion but it’s one that I’ve used for past two seasons and kids and parents alike love it.  The cost is also reasonable – usually about $500/mo. Divide that cost among 12 players and we’re talking about $10/session per kid.  The kids are getting more reps and better instruction than the 25 pitches in 5 mins at a normal practice.

 

Organizing Overall Practice – Here’s one suggestion on how to get the most out of the field. Have 4-5 kids take infield.  Have at least one bullpen going, if not two.  That’s 2-4 kids practicing pitching and catching.  Have one kid in BP with another in route to or from BP.  That’s anywhere from 8 – 11 kids actively involved right there.  If you have more kids, have an outfield station or have one anyway and have only one bull pen or 3-4 kids in the infield.  However you want to do it.  If you run this system well for an hour, everyone will get much more than their 20 reps.  Then you’ll have plenty of time left over for situational instruction, scrimmage, or a fun game.   The gating factor will the time it takes to get the team effectively through BP.  (Btw, this system can be done for practices without cages or bullpens.  It’s not quite as easy, but consider walking off the rubber to plate distance.  Create your own bullpen(s).  Also focus on batting tee or soft-toss into the net when no cage is available.  All of this takes some work and coordination and a few extra dads to assist, but generally speaking, it develops the kid faster than 7-8 kids standing in the field waiting for a 1 in 10 chance the ball is hit to him while 1 kid takes BP.  Consider this just one additional way to organize a practice.

 

MANAGING A GAME

Have fun - it is contagious. 

 

Umpire at least one game calling balls and strikes.  It will help build empathy for how difficult it is to get all the calls right.  Electronic tracking helps us understand that even MLB umpires only get about 85% of the calls right.  Think about that - someone trained all their life, who has made this their career, who gets paid very well to do a job – that person will still make a mistake on about 15% of the calls.  Remember, bad calls are a part of the game and an even bigger part of Little League and growing up.

 

Make your speeches short.  Don’t ramble.  They will tune out faster than adults. 

 

Don’t yell at or embarrass a player.

 

Don’t remove a player for making a mistake.

 

Don’t have players swap positions in the middle of an inning just to improve your chances of winning.  You can do so due to fatigue, injury, or pitch-count, but don’t do this just to strengthen one’s defense for a batter or two or because the game is on the line. 

 

Don’t over instruct.  The time for instruction was primarily in practice.  There’s a lot of pressure on kids during a game.  It’s OK to provide positive and simple reminders to prior instructions, but avoid trying to teach them something new during the game.  If you sign up to this thought, then consider little catch phrases or comments that you can make to serve as the reminder to the player in game situations.

 

Make note of great performances and plays so that you can refer to them after the game in post-game meeting.

 

Have post game meeting after every game.  Review a few things that went well, that the team could improve on, and/or anything anyone learned during the game.  Ask the players.  Get them engaged, thinking and paying attention to things during the game.  Let them know that’s expected of them which may heighten their attention to lessons learned and teachable moments during a game.  Provide your input after theirs to help round out any lessons or messages you want to reinforce.

 

Focus on teaching how to play baseball, more than how to win at youth baseball.  Ex: Don’t teach excessive and overly aggressive base running just to force an error.  If the runner shouldn’t be able to make the next base unless there’s an error, consider holding the runner up and teaching the “proper” baseball play as opposed to playing the odds and relying on the likely error.

 

Let the kids hit!  Let your hitters get their swings and for kids who aren’t very strong at the plate, recognize that they probably need all three strikes to find success.   It gets almost increasingly more difficult to get a hit with 1 strike and especially 2 strikes (that’s the math on baseball, even MLB) – not only because you are running out of strikes, but because pressure builds up, confidence goes down, and the batter’s strike zone may need to widen to protect the plate.  So be careful not to put your kids in tough situations be having them take too many pitches or work for the walk.  Teach the kids to be hitters, to be confident, to give it their best and to be OK with whatever happens.

 

Limit player/parent contact.  I’m not suggesting there shouldn’t be any player/parent contact - this is little league, but have some boundaries or at least guidelines and communicate them to the families.  You can relax them as needed, but having no boundaries our expectations is probably too relaxed.

 

Discuss dug out conduct.  Set expectations as appropriate for your team.  Consider your stance on food and drink and know what is good for one kid needs to good for all kids, unless extenuating circumstances apply.  Focus the conversations primarily to baseball and on the game at hand. 

 

Manage the pace of the game - keep it moving.  That will keep your kids focused and also allow you to play a maximum number of innings and help with distribution of playing time.  That means get your teams in/out of the dug out quickly.  Make sure kids know where they are going before the inning ends.  Refrain from taking 2-3 minutes after each inning to announce the defensive line-up.  At the end of the 3rd offensive out, kids should quickly grab their gloves and get out to the field and get ready to play.  Respect league rules on warm-up pitch counts.  Have your catchers ready to go.  If they need to suit up after the last out, have someone designated to help them.  If you keep the game moving, the quality of play will improve, and parents will be appreciative.

 

Be ready for lulls in team energy during a game and help the team manage through it.  Have an active role in your team’s energy.  Don’t just comment after the game that the team lost focus or lost their energy.  Instead, try to play an active role in helping them regain it.  

Set standards for hustle and attitude - no throwing equipment, no derogatory remarks, and no demonstrative reactions to perceived bad calls - that goes for you too.

 

WELCOME TEAM EMAILS

As mentioned before, it is very important to have open communication lines between the parents and yourself.  While that is something that will evolve over time and most likely occur via in-person discussion, a welcome email to the team is not only required, but really a great opportunity to make a good first impression and to invite open communication.

 

A welcome email can be a very simple thing or can be a bit more involved and serve to set some expectations and to enroll parents into the team. 

 

Some things to consider in a welcome email:

 

·   Your coaching philosophy and areas of emphasis

·   Playing time and position allocation guidelines

·   How parents can best support their kids

·   How parents can best support the team

·   Any Call-To-Action

·   Logistics (1st practice, 1st game, etc.)

·   Contact Details

·   Make it fun and inviting

 

Not all of these points need to be communicated and the level of play will surely have some determination on the content and tone.

 

Included are a few sample emails that span a range of division play.  These are by no means meant to be considered the “gold standard” in team welcome emails, but they are good enough.  It is OK if you disagree with some of the content in these samples or the communication style does not match you.  These samples are here as a convenience in case you need a “jump start” or prefer to just cut & paste.  (English teachers, please look past any grammatical errors.  These letters were actual letters sent by coaches who did not expect these letters to be memorialized by LGLL.  Also, please consider the wide audience range of Tee Ball to Majors and Fall Ball to Spring Ball in these letters.)

 

 

Welcome Email - Sample 1

Hello...

 

This is Coach (insert name) and I am the Manager of the Los Gatos Little League (insert team name).  If you are receiving this email it means that we've drafted your son and he is now a member of the team.  On behalf of myself and our other coach, Coach (insert name), I'd like to welcome you and your boys.  

 

During the draft completed on Tuesday, the following players were selected: (List Players)


If there are any parents out there who want to be involved in assistant coaching, please let me know.  The more help we have, the more we can achieve during our practices and the more we can help the development of your players.  As soon as possible we will need someone to help with getting names on the uniforms, and during the season we will need both a team coordinator (team mom) and statistician to score the games.  If anyone wants to volunteer, please let me know.

I do not have either the practice or game schedules, but will pass them on as soon as I have them.  Typically the season begins in the first week of March, but the pre-season practices may begin as early as next week.    

 

To insure that we've reached all the parents and/or guardians, please reply to this email.  Although the league tries to give us as much information as they can, it occasionally has errors or omissions.  When you reply, please include your:

 

Name

Email address

Phone number(s)

 

Just so you all have my information:

Coach Name & Contact Info

Please highlight which is the primary contact and which are any secondary contacts, but my assumption will be that any email address I have will receive all team related email.  

 

A little about myself, this is my 4th year coaching in Los Gatos Little League.  I've managed a couple of AA teams, assisted with the (insert team name) two years ago, coached Majors fall ball, coached the 9 y/o All Stars last spring, and this will be my second season managing a AAA team.  Coach XYZ has coached pretty much every sport imaginable, including baseball for the past 3 years.  He managed the AAA (insert team name), who won the AAA Championship last spring.  I'm originally from Colorado, but have been in the Bay Area for the past 24 years. 

From a philosophic perspective, I believe youth athletics should be both fun and contribute to the development of our children.  Through baseball, I see the opportunity to contribute to our children's development of character, confidence, sportsmanship, focus, and the ability to work together as a team.  I want our team to be competitive but never at the expense of doing the right thing.  I believe that teams/people can be competitive while always taking the high road, and it's very important for the coaches and fans to demonstrate these characteristics while expecting that our children learn to do the same.  I judge myself at the end of every season not on if we won the Championship, but by the number of players I have returning to baseball the following season.

 

To those of you who are new to AAA, the regular season will be 16-18 games, followed up by a post season tournament.  Every team is allowed to enter the tournament and our regular season record is only used to rank the teams (seating).  The league has every team play in the post season because they want the focus of the regular season to be player development.  I plan on using the first half of the season to really rotate players around, allowing them to try a variety of positions but during the second half we will shift the focus so players can become more proficient, and learn the subtleties of just a couple.  I think it allows the players to get both breadth and depth in elements of their game, and positions us for better success in the post season. 

 

If you have any questions, please let me know, I look forward to meeting you and your ball players.  

 

 

Welcome Email - Sample 2

Team Name,

 

The start of actual baseball is upon us. Today is an important practice to get the boys ready for the season. Here is our long weekend at a glance.

·Thursday - Practice @ DAVES at 4:30PM

·Saturday - Game @ BLOSSOM HILL AA (normal game field) home against the (insert team name).  Game time is 9AM.  Arrive at 8:30AM for warm up. Please be on time... dressed and ready to play.

·Sunday - Practice 2PM @ DAVES.  This will be a light practice and be focused on "fun" activities.  

I thought I would share a little bit about the AA season as well as the style I am trying to teach the boys.

·FOR THE KIDS:

        Offense:

We are going to be a team of hitters.  We want the boys to pay attention to the strike zone, but at the same time be aggressive hitters. In short, I want the kids swinging. As the season goes on, this practiced mindset will pay off.  I will never send a kid up to bat and say "don't swing until the umpire calls 1 strike on you."  Although this is a strategy that can at times be effective, I feel this is a shortsighted approach, so we are not going to play this way.

You will see some very aggressive teams on the base paths, and we will have our moments but I am trying to teach the kids the game. We will be working on proper situational base running. By this, I mean base running that will carry over to more advanced levels of baseball... not just what we can get away with in AA. I want the kids looking at base coaches and thinking about what to do in each situation. You may even see me call time out and send a kid back a base... it has happened.

        Defense:

"Control the baseball". You will hear me say this 100 times this season. Situations can get exciting and you will see plenty of "snow ball fights".  We are working with the kids to calm down, control the ball, and then make the play only if one exists. 

Skill fundamentals.  Most of the players still need to focus on fundamentals before we start working on more advanced skills and situations.  To this point, we will be working mostly on getting one out... and often the easiest out will be at first base.  Getting over mistakes. Every practice I try to remind the kids that everyone will make an error at some point. It is how we recover from the error and make the next play that is important.

                                                         

FOR YOU PARENTS:

•  The Umpires are Kids - For many of them this is their first job, as well as the first time when they are the "Authority". Please support these kids like you would support your own child. In general, everyone should avoid yelling "Great pitch" or "Good Eye" prior to the umpire making the call. I think it is important to hold off on commentary until after the pitch is called, and then only if their comment supports the umpires call. It is difficult at times, especially when you hear other parents do the same, but please make an effort. The Umpire program can be a great experience for our local kids. Parents in the stands can make or break the experience. The kids will absolutely make bad calls. This is Baseball. Bad calls happen at the professional level. So just as you would not yell at a kid for misfielding a ball, please do not yell at the umpires for a missing a call.

• The other team is full of kids - This seems obvious, but at times we all get caught up in the moment. Understand that we as parents need to be good examples to our kids. I will do my best as a coach to be a good example. My goal is for EVERYONE on the field to have a good experience. As coaches, we will concentrate on the things WE did on the field, and not bad calls, or things the other team did. Your support on this is important to building a level of sportsmanship that the kids can take forward in life.

• Let me know if you want to help out. I love the help and will find a way to get you involved if you want to be involved. I have to miss several games this year and your familiarity with the other coaches, as well as the kids will help us out a lot. You don't have to know much to help. So please let me know. 

If you have made it this far in the e-mail, I thank you. We will have a great time this season, and hopefully, at the end of it all, your kid will be on the path to loving this game the way I do. I look forward to seeing you all this evening. 

 

Welcome Email - Sample 3

 

Hello everyone and welcome to LGLL Fall Ball AA (insert team name).

I don't have all the necessary information regarding logistics and such - some of that information is has yet to be sent to me.  I will forward as soon as possible.

Here's some things to be aware of:

Games: Games are every Sunday - there is schedule sent to everyone from the league - I’ll forward that to you or post it here (if possible) just to be sure you're getting it

First Game: 9/9 at 12:45 at BHS

 

Practice: We have not been assigned scheduled field/practice time yet.  However, I am requesting Weds, Fri, Thurs - in that order of preference.

 

First Practice: Due to my work travel schedule, our first practice has to be this Friday (9/7) at 6 PM.  Hopefully I can get us on the BHS field, but if that's not possible, we'll practice at a neighboring school - probably Van Meter.  Stay tuned for location confirmation.

 

Coaches: We have two coaches right now but could really use 1-2 more - whether that is official, unofficial, spot-duty, etc.  But it would be nice to have at least 3 coaches as that will really allow us to spend more time quality time with kids coaching them and running 3-4 different practice stations during practice.  With 2 coaches, then you're left with 2 practice stations and kids end up standing around a bit more.  So, I encourage anybody to who is interested to help, to please do.  

 

Uniforms: Uniforms will be handed out at first practice (9/7).  If anybody misses this practice, I'll come to the first game early and I can give you your uniform there and your kid can pull a “Clark Kent” changing routine.  

 

Playing Time and Positions:  Looks like most games will go 4+ innings - I’m planning field positions for 4 innings a game

 

Field Positions

12 kids on team

10 field positions (4 outfielders at a time + 6 infielders)

Assuming we have all kids show up for game, then we have 2 kids sit-out each inning 

There are 6 infield positions: P/C/1B/2B/3B/SS

4 innings (per game) x 6 infield positions = 24 infield positions to fill a game

24 infield positions / 12 kids = 2 infield positions per kid / per game

 

This is also perfectly aligned with LGLL fall-ball rules (every kid plays 2 infield innings)

So, every kid will play 2 infield positions a game, unless they don’t want to do so.

It's also likely that most kids will not play more than 2 infield positions a game.  To play more, other kids would either have to no-show or the game would need to go 5+ innings.

 

3 Key Positions we are very purposeful in assigning: P/C/1B

The rest of the positions more or less just slot in.  I'd love to be able to balance strong arms on 3B, weaker arms on 2B, but quite often, we just have to slot players into open available positions 

 

If any player wants to try to pitch, catch, play 1B, whatever - this is the league and this is the team to do it on - we encourage it 100% - even if it's not a position the kid will pursue past this season - if the kid just wants that experience of having pitched a game, having caught a game, of wearing all that equipment, whatever... this is probably their best opportunity in organized play to do so.  We’ll of course practice with the kid 1-2 times before game situation to 1) make sure their experience is as gratifying as possible, and 2) help ensure game flows well - but we do really encourage your kids to try whatever they want to try.

 

Batting:  If a kid is sitting in the first 2 innings, we pretty much make sure he's one of the first 4 batters of the game - meaning, we'll make sure every kid is getting action in the first inning - either in the field or batting

 

Communication: I hope to use this as primary method of communication.  If you need to reach me, I am at (provide contact info).

 

Welcome Email - Sample 4

 

Hey everyone - Greetings - this is coach (insert name) - if you are getting this email you are on the (insert team name) for spring baseball season.

 

We have two official coaches (myself and coach - insert name).  (Insert name) and I co-coached the (insert team name) last year for fall ball we pride ourselves on making sure each child has a really good experience learning the game of baseball, concepts of team sports, and good sportsmanship.

 

We encourage any parent to assist if you can and want to - especially in practice.  Last year in fall ball, we had probably 4-6 parents helping out consistently and it was such a great experience for the kids (and parents).  With more help, we're able to spend a lot of quality time with kids and there's not so much standing around (there's a lot of that in many baseball practices).  And the kids really improved dramatically over the course of the season.  So, even if haven't done this before or can only help out every so often, that's OK - if you'd like to help out - just let (insert name) or I know.  We really welcome your help and will find a fun role for you as often or as infrequent as it needs to be.

 

The league has just sent out a schedule and I will forward shortly.

 

But please note:

1st Practice: Tuesday, 2/26, at 3:30 at Blossom Hill School

1st Game: Saturday, 3/15, at 4:40 at Blossom Hill School

 

I'll send more information as the season gets closer.

 

Thanks and looking forward to wonderful season.

 

 

Welcome Email – Sample 5

Welcome to the 2015 Team Name. My name is XXXXXX and I will be the Manager for your son this fall. My friend XXXX will be helping me, but I love to have more help.   So if any of you would like to help out, please bring a glove to practices/games and jump in. There is always plenty to do on the baseball field.
 
I have coached LGLL for about 4 years now so you may recognize me from the baseball field, if not somewhere else in town. Fall is a great opportunity for the boys to play in a more relaxed environment from the spring season. The boys will have many opportunities to try new positions so it should be a lot of fun. 

 
For those of you I have not met, I look forward to getting to know you and your kids. We have a good group of boys and a nice spread of boys from the various schools in town. It is very likely that your son has a few friends or at least a few familiar faces on the team.
 
We don't yet have a schedule for practices and games, so I will forward the information on as soon as I get it.
 
Please reply to this e-mail so I know I have the right contact information for you, and please cc any other members of your family you would like to have included on future team e-mails. If you have any questions for me, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or cell (XXX) XXX-XXXX.
 
Now the important stuff... the roster.
 
Our Roster is as follows:
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
XXXX
 
We will get uniforms soon, but as I am sure most of you know, pants do not come with the uniforms. If you do not already have a pair, please purchase a pair of white pants to go with our uniforms.
 
I look forward to seeing you all soon.