Advanced Youth Baseball Training Tips and Techiques

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coaching Little League Baseball - The word is work!

Today’s four letter word is W-O-R-K:

Work – Work is practice. Work is hustle. Work is execution. Work is commitment. Work is being focused. Work and knowing the value of work may be the most important thing that you will teach your players. A player can have all the talent in the world, but if that player is not willing to work hard to develop that talent, the player is destined to be an underachiever.

Work is what allows a player, a team, and a coach to reach their maximum potential in the game. Every player has the potential to be great at something in the game! Hard work is the key that unlocks every players door to baseball success.

We all know of players that we played with or that we coached that had great God-given abilities but terrible work habits. They refused to push themselves to greatness. They would always spend more time looking for a way to get out of work, than actually working. They were simply lazy. They did not have the drive. It made no difference what the coach did, what the parent did, or what their peers said, they simply did not have the focus and commitment to work hard. These underschievers always come to their senses but it is always too late. When they look back to the “good old days” they always say, “I just wish I would have worked harder”. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have pushed myself harder and did what I should have done.”

Players and coaches must understand the value of hard work. Anything worth having is worth working for. You must work hard. The assistant coaches must work hard. The players must work hard.

What are the keys to teaching players to work? Here are 7 keys to building good work habits in young players:
1. Praise – Praise the player when work is done. Instant positive feeback can serve to motivate players to work harder and harder. You should always correct a pleyr when he does something incorrect. But when you do, always find a reason to pat that kids on the back later. Keeping a balnce between “correctiveness and praise” is a valuable skill every coach should master. Always try to send the players home on a positive note with a positive frame of mind.
2. Fun – The kids must enjoy practicing, playing and spending time together. If going to the basefield feels like going to the dentist, they are going to lose interest and drive. When they lose interest and drive, they will stop working. Plan your practices with a variety of drills and activities to prevent boredom from setting in. Always include a couple of competitive games or drills to make the practice as fun as possible. I am not saying make your practice “play-time”. Just plan and organize your practices to include as many fun and motivating activities as is practical.
3. Discipline - Discipline including solid team and individual self-discipline. Players should be expected to have a high level of self control and follow all team rules. One important team rule is always showing respect to coaches and adults on and off the field. You can be “firm” and still keep a fun and comfortable atmosphere.
4. Role Model – The players must see their coach work. Kids can sense when a coach practices what he preaches. Do not expect a kid to work for you if you do not work for him.
5. Short-term Goal Setting – Setting a goal for a drill or workout activity will often motivate players to put forth more effort. Have the goal be something simple and have the reward instant.
6. Long-term Goal Setting – Setting team goals for the season is an important tool to improve a player’s focus and add value to the work done at practice.
7. Individual Goals – If you have a gifted player that is “above” everybody else in talent and ability, you may want to have each player set 3 individual goals for the season. Have players set a target abtting average, a goal of stolen bases, a goal of a number of base hits or such. Thes type goals is all it takes to make some players work harder.

It baseball, as in life, “You get what you deserve” and “Your deserve what you get”. Your team must outwork other teams. There is no subsitute for hard work.

I hope this information is useful to you. Good luck, Nick.

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