Few knowledgeable sports fans would disagreee that a good coach makes all the difference in the world when it comes to helping a player or a team succeed. Aside from coaching every individual athlete to bring out the best in them, baseball coaches face another difficulty that all coaches of team sports do – managing the different and oft-colorful personalities of every player in order to get everyone working as a whole.
So how do you coach a baseball team, anyways?
You could say that in-depth knowledge of the game as well as what separates a good baseball team from a less-than-successful one is what comes first and foremost when determining a coach’s merit.
But perhaps even more important than that, a coach should be an attentive individual who can recognize different personalities and emotional states in order to relate to the players well. To put it in blunt terms, some players will react better to gentle suggestions – almost as if you’re asking them nicely to play a certain way – while others will get more motivation from your shouting and cursing. Failure to recognize what makes each player tick can lead to lost games faster than you can say “Out!”, while succeeding in doing so will have a huge impact on every individual game.
No matter the team you’re coaching and the level at which they’re playing, aim to relate to every individual on a personal level – juggle the roles of the best friend, the cool uncle, the strict-but-benevolent father, the wise grandfather and so on.
Likewise, never let any one player undermine your authority in any way – everyone has to know that your commands are absolute as a single mutineer can completely destroy even the best strategy.
Here are some useful resources for more in-depth info on the art of baseball coaching:
- Coaching Youth Baseball the Ripken Way: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that the coaching you’ll be doing revolves around youth – we all want to see our young ones succeed in everything we do to the point where we’ll pull our hair out when things go awry. This program will do a great job of preventing that: the Ripken family has decades of experience coaching youths from all backgrounds and transforming them into miniature versions of MLB stars.
- Coaching the Beginning Pitcher by Daniel Keller: Many consider the position of pitcher to be the toughest one in baseball, if only due to the sheer room for error – without a doubt, these people would also agree that coaching pitchers is nearly as big of a challenge. This book approaches pitcher-coaching in a friendly way while showering you with info that’s meant to make your player shine – while special emphasis is placed on fathers coaching their sons, the program can just as easily help any coach who works with beginners.
- baseballpositive.com: When you’re done analyzing programs that help bring out your team’s A-game, try checking out this coaching blog that focuses primarily on youth coaching – written by coaches with a clear passion for what they do, the blog tackles various aspects of transferring knowledge to the players and motivating them without ever burdening you with too much technical information or critique.