PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE (AND ENLIST HELP FROM OTHERS WITH LEAGUE APPROVAL):
Have a lineup prepared before you get to the field.
Arrive early so players are not waiting on you.
Actively engage the players with prepared practice and pre-game warmup plans.
PARTICULARLY IN REGULAR SEASON, MIX UP THE BATTING ORDER AND POSITION ASSIGNMENTS:
Rotate Lineups, Give Kids Opportunities and Reward them for Effort:
Never pre-judge or pigeon-hole players; children grow and develop at different speeds. All teams make the playoffs in spring and fall baseball and summer friendship league; all players should have an opportunity to try all positions (subject to safety concerns).
WHEN CLOSE TO MERCY RULE WIN, GIVE KIDS MORE CHANCES AND GO EASY ON BASES:
Winning should not be the primary goal; and “how” you win matters.
Always show respect for the opposing team and its players.
ALWAYS SHAKE HANDS WITH THE OTHER TEAM AND UMPIRE AFTER THE GAME.
TAKE CARE OF FIELD AND EQUIPMENT:
Remember to place tarps back on home plate and pitcher’s mound at applicable fields.
Remember to close and lock bins and lock pitching screens at applicable fields.
Never put quick dry in the equipment bins. Literally, never!
Rake fields after games. Do not rake mud or sweep away puddles!
Pick up trash, look for leftover equipment, and make sure nobody is left behind.
AVOID SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF COACHING
NO ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, VAPING OR DRUG USE AT GAMES OR PRACTICES!
DO NOT ARGUE WITH UMPS – PARTICULARLY JUDGMENT CALLS (questioning rules and genuine rule protests WITH RESPECT are okay)!
DO NOT ARGUE WITH OPPOSING COACHES!
DO NOT EMBARRASS PLAYERS BY CALLING THEM OUT ON MISTAKES OR OTHERWISE!
DO NOT BREAK LEAGUE SAFETY RULES (on-deck swinging, USA bats, etc.)!
DO NOT BREAK – OR BEND – ANY OTHER LEAGUE RULES (cheating sets the wrong example and even considering doing so should demonstrate to you that you are driven by the wrong motives)
DO NOT LIVE STREAM OR POST VIDEOS OF GAMES ON YOUTUBE OR THE LIKE (Little League policy; photos and short videos to friends or on Facebook should be okay)
Running Practices and Suggested Practice Plans
Running a practice requires planning and organization. With limited field space, optimizing practice time is more essential than ever. Some basic suggestions for structuring a practice:
Keep the practice to 90 minutes. Anything longer and players will lose focus.
Plan your practice a head of time. Take a few minutes and write down the skills and drills you want to emphasize. Go over the plan with your coaches while players are warming up and be ready to go.
Organize the practice using a stations-based approach where you and your assistants break into smaller groups and emphasize specific drills/skills. Rotate the players through the various stations. This keeps the players moving and engaged.
Avoid hitting or pitching to a single player while remaining players stand and watch.
Be positive and enthusiastic, the coaches set the tone for practice, keep the energy level high.
Players will struggle as they learn a new technique or skill, stay patient. You’ll see tremendous improvement from the first weeks.
Be creative. Vary the drills used at each practice-incorporate competition. Keep it fun.
Talk to other coaches, share drills, and use coaching websites (see below) to expand your arsenal.
Each coach will be required annually to attend a league sponsored coach’s clinic. Whether you have coached before or are just getting started the clinics are well done and great way to pick up some pointers on organizing a practice and teaching the fundamentals to young players.
Below you will find links to age appropriate training sessions that can aid coaches throughout the year. These sessions were created by Needham Little League to help coaches develop player skills, confidence, fitness, and to create an atmosphere of teamwork.
The plans are segmented by league: K - Single A, Double AA - Majors. Click on any of the links below to download the appropriate training sessions. Feel free to mix and match the sessions to fit your teams individual development needs. For those challenging occasions where you find yourself coaching alone we have also created a Coaching Solo plan.
For those looking for additional coaching resources click here.
If you have any questions about these drills or have other drills you would like to see incorporated into our training program, please our Training Director (found here).
Never underestimate the effect you can have on the lives of every player who calls you "Coach"! Stay positive, have fun.