This article outlines several ways baseball coaches can improve their coaching abilities during the off-season. It points out several recommended off-season activities and resources that all youth baseball coaches should consider. Many of these activities are free and are available online.
I have a simple philosophy when it comes to coaching baseball and baseball coaches. Show me a coach that thinks he knows it all and I will should you a coach with a weakness. I have been coaching for over 25 years. I truly believe that good coaches never stop searching for better ways and methods. They never stop studying the methods and procedures of successful programs, teams and coaches. They never lose their eagerness to listen to anyone that will talk baseball.
Great coaches are “students of the game”. They do their homework. I have said many times that I learn something about the game every day and that is what I set out to do every day. I will always seek new and better methods for teaching and instruction right up to the day I retire. I owe that to my players and my supporters.
Here are four recommended sources for improving your coaching skills and knowledge:
1. Baseball Clinics – Most states have state baseball coaches associations. These associations have annual clinics. These clinics features successful college and high school coaches that speak on every aspect of coaching baseball from coaching hitters, coaching pitchers, baseball strategy, to organizing baseball practice. A few states clinics that I have attended are Alabama, Texas, and Ohio and they are all good.
There are two national associations named the American Baseball Coaches Association and the Baseball Coaches Association. These groups have huge clinics that are a super experience to attend. They have a membership fee special for youth baseball coaches. These organizations move their annual 3-day clinics around to different parts of the country each year.
Another notable national clinic are the “Be the Best You Are” Clinic in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It is a great clinic that always has a great lineup of speakers.
2. Watch Practice – You most likely have one of the absolute best sources for learning the game and how to prepare to play it, right in your own home town. Ask you local high school coach if you can watch and observe practices. Most coaches will have no objection. I have open practices at Boaz High in Boaz Alabama. If you come and watch one of our practices, most likely you will learn or observe something that will help you or see something that reinforces something that you already teach to your players.
3. Read, View & Take Notes – There is a tremendous amount of free information available to baseball coaches online. You should fine a couple of these sites and bookmark them. Visit them regularly and print what you can for reference. Visit and bookmark such sites as the Baseball 2Day Coaching Journal, Baseball Coaching Digest or Blog, and the Youth Baseball Digest.
4. Beg, Borrow or Steal Coaching Ideas, Drills, Plays and Strategy – Two things are universally accepted in the baseball coaching brotherhood. Coaches share information and knowledge. And if a coach does not show a willingness to share, then it ok to steal or copy his methods and techniques. If your see another team or coach doing something that is leads to success, you would be foolish and unwise if you did not at least take note of it and write it down for future reference. If you see a drill, strategy or technique that appeals to you always take notes for future reference. Never be too proud to copy or use the good methods and procedures of other coaches that you observe or see.
Watch college and major league baseball games on television. Watch free videos on Youtube. Watch video clips of instruction, drills, coaching clinics, and games footage. The best way to learn how something is done is to watch it done correctly over and over.
If you do your homework, you will improve your abilities as a coach. Work hard to improve your knowledge, your presentation skills, and your situational awareness.
I hope that you found this article to be informative. Thanks for reading my article. Have a great day, Nick.
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for Baseball Coaching Digest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
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