The member of your team for whom you should have the highest expectations is yourself, the coach. Begin your season by asking yourself “what can my players – and their parents – expect from me this season?”
Child safety is your highest concern. Commit to ensuring that all players know and follow all safety guidelines. And strive to teach skills properly to avoid long and short term injuries.
Create a fun, healthy atmosphere on your team by constantly reminding yourself that this is a game and these are kids. Baseball and softball are supposed to be fun – that means laughter and anticipation, joy, friendship and memories that last a lifetime…not screaming and yelling and a single-minded quest for victory.
Strive for fairness in all that you do from making up the batting order to assigning positions. And communicate this to the parents of your team. Let them know that you will be doing your best to be fair and that they should bring any concerns they have directly to you.
If complaints arise, tell parents that you’ll be ‘emphasizing the positive’ with your team during the season and they’re expected to do the same!
Show your team that you’re organized and in charge by doing your homework and showing up prepared for games and practices. Have practice plans that start with stretching and include skills work, conditioning, game situations and plenty of FUN!
Show up for games with a plan to involve every player as much as possible and make sure that winning is only the icing on the cake of a great day at the ballpark…not the sole objective.
Know your stuff. Read your rulebook. Talk to experienced coaches and umpires to expand your knowledge of the game. Be a student of the game and you will be an even better teacher.
Above all, be positive, patient and realistic. Recognize that different players have different abilities and celebrate great effort and steady improvement as much as great athletic achievements. The chances are slim that you will coach a future professional ballplayer…but you are guaranteed to have future parents, leaders and coaches in every line-up. Coach each player with an eye on their future which you will shape through your leadership.