The key to successful baseball coaching is developing a philosophy. A baseball philosophy should encompass your approach to the game, how you want your team to play, and how you want others to perceive your team. If you are able to effectively communicate your philosophy to your team, then everyone – coaches, players, and parents – will be able to work together towards the same goal.
Where to Begin
The first step in developing a baseball philosophy is considering your past experiences. Think back on your growth as a player and a coach and remember who had an impact on you and why you wanted to play. Try to define the style of baseball you like to play.
In baseball coaching, especially when first developing a program, it is important to remember that baseball will not always be the number one priority for your players. Other factors, like family, school, and church, will be – and should be – more important to them. When developing your philosophy, try to use baseball as a way for players to round out their established priorities.
Remember the Past
When looking back at past experiences in baseball, it is important to remember both the good and the bad. What made something a positive or negative experience? How did your coach’s interaction with you make you feel? Use these memories to determine how you want to treat your players – or those you have to cut from the team.
Keep in mind that being a successful coach is less about being a good player and more about being a good teacher. Good players can’t always explain how they play so well, but a good teacher should be able to explain any skill in a way the players can understand.
Learn from the Present
A good baseball coach is willing to learn from others and adjust to make necessary changes. Use every interaction with other coaches and teams as a means of expanding your understanding of the game. Everyone has a different approach and style, and if you find some new way that works, you should feel free to incorporate it into your coaching. Ask questions and let coaches know that you admire what they are doing.
Look to the Future
The final step in developing a baseball philosophy is setting goals. What do you want to accomplish with your team? A good goal is to get to the point where every player is playing to the best of his ability. This would mean your team is successful, even if you don’t have a winning season.
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Kenny Buford is a youth baseball coach, and the owner and publisher of Baseball-Tutorials.com, the web’s #1 resource for youth baseball drills, tips, and practice ideas for coaches.
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