T&C Baseball

Baseball Coaches’ Corner

The T&C Baseball program offers kids the opportunity to play this great game in a family oriented environment of learning and sportsmanship. T&C welcomes your interest in coaching, whether as a head coach or assistant coach, to ensure we create a successful, positive and fulfilling experience for our youth. Coaching is not only a wonderful service, but many find it highly rewarding and enjoyable.

How to Become a Coach or Volunteer

All T&C volunteers, from coaches to team managers, must successfully pass a background screen and complete an abuse prevention course to be in compliance with the federally mandated Youth Safe Sports Act.  All volunteers who engage with players in practices or games in the dugout or on the field must complete the volunteer process.

To become an approved coach (or volunteer of any kind), you must fill out a Sports Engine coach application at the beginning of a season. The application will generate a criminal background check and direct you to watch an abuse prevention video.  The Baseball Board will review the applicants who have successfully passed the background check and abuse prevention video and select the coaches for the season. Both the background check and abuse prevention training must be completed prior to contact with players.

The certification is good for two years from the date of completion. Coaches whose certifications have expired will need to reapply following the process above.

Coach Application

T&C COACHING 101

At T&C we want our coaches to feel comfortable with their coaching duties. The Baseball Board wishes to share with you some coaching organization tips all new coaches need to learn. Here are ten key items that will help you get organized and started.

YOUR T&C BASEBALL PROGRAM

Youth baseball is made up of various national, local, and independent associations.  T&C expands on the major league rules with local league rules. Learn as much as you can about the rules on the Rules page. Stay in touch with the association, go to all coaches’ meetings, and learn the association’s total offerings. There will be coaching clinics, literature, and other material. You will have tryouts, team photos, uniform pick-ups, registration, and more. There will be information on important dates, practice field availability, equipment to pick up (a large duffel bag of it!), and various rules and regulations. You will have a role and some responsibility for a few or all of these.

EDUCATION

Baseball is largely a game of skills. Talent is important but skills must be learned even for the most talented players. Skills are the mechanical movements your body must execute to perform a task like swinging a bat or throwing a ball. Correct mechanics are important to learn early because bad mechanics are hard to correct once a player has performed them over several years. It is very important that coaches learn the correct mechanics and drills to teach these skills. Coaches in T-Ball and Coach Pitch need to get young players started correctly. Advanced league coaches need to continue to reinforce good mechanics, so it is important that all coaches know them. Don’t assume you know the correct mechanics, because chances are you may not. Even if you do, you may not know how to teach them. Read, watch videos, and attend coaches’ clinics to learn the correct skills and drills for teaching this skills. Have your assistant coaches and parents learn them too. They will be spending a large amount of time teaching these mechanics as well. It will benefit their child and others on your team.

GET PARENTS ORGANIZED

As noted above, there is a lot to do. Additionally, there will be the need for assistant coaches, phone numbers, score keepers, people to help lug equipment, bring refreshments, and plan the end of season party. Yet, you need to focus on coaching the team. This is what I expected to spend my time on, but the administration side can take up valuable time. You are a volunteer too, and can give only a certain amount of time, so find help. Meet with parents before practice begins and tell them you will need their help. Hand out a list of what must be done and discuss the extra things which would be nice to have. Select a team parent, he/she will be a great help. You don’t need to control everything, so accept help and delegate responsibility.

PLAN YOUR PRACTICES

It’s important to have your practices planned out in some details, to most efficiently use time, maximize repetitions, and keep the kids from drifting off. Three or four assistant coaches are helpful if you want to break the players into small groups for drills. Find someone who can pitch. Baseball is largely about batting, and batting practice consumes a large amount of practice time. Find some people who can pitch and all assistants should know the correct mechanics of swinging.

Adequate practice time is often a major problem, since there are often too few available fields. You will need to find a good practice field or two. Younger players can use small fields and parks, but older players need more room. You will need to locate parks and fields near you. T&C allows practice on their fields before the season begins, but only by going through the T&C Field Coordinator.

CREATE A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

Set expectations early. Players need to know they are expected to hustle around the field. They should not get down on other players. Outbursts and tantrums are not acceptable behavior. Players shouldn’t nag the coach about when they can bat or play a certain position. This does not mean they can’t talk, but nagging the coach is not acceptable. If you communicate this early, they will learn to understand and what to expect. Violations of rules should result in some form of consequence so, speak to their parents and let them approve the consequence. Do not ever punish poor performance. Spend a few minutes with the players at the beginning and end of practice. Go over what you intend to do, and what you expect. Take questions. Foster teamwork as a top priority. Talk about what a team is. Tell them it means that they should be buddies, on and off the field. They should not expect themselves or other team members to goof off during practice because it will cost the team. They should want each other to get better, so the team gets better.

KNOW THE PLAYERS

It is important to try to spend a little time here and there individually with each player. How is school going? What other interests do they have? Who is their favorite ballplayer? Kids will be more comfortable with you if they know you care about them personally. Furthermore, you can learn a lot about how to coach a kid if you know a bit about what makes him tick. It is also an opportunity to reinforce the need to practice. You should have a general sense of the goals for each player, after a while. You should communicate these goals to the players and parents. Maybe they need to work on the batting, or their throwing mechanics, improve their footwork, or be more patient at the plate. Use this opportunity to suggest practice on their own time in certain areas.

SAFETY FIRST

Always make safety a priority. Coaches will be required to get coaching certification through T&C. These courses go over many safely issues and concerns. We also encourage you to get first aid training through the Red Cross. At young ages, some kids are not good defensively. Fly balls can be hazardous for a kid who cannot catch. You can use tennis balls initially for certain kids and urge their parents to get them up to a minimum level of skill. Dusk presents problems, and line drives, at all ages, can be deadly at sunset. Check the practice field for potential problems, glass, rocks, holes, etc. Make sure your first aid kit, ice, water, phone numbers, and a cell phone are at the field. Do not let a player continue if there is a sign of injury. Follow the rules and insist others do too. Safety gear must be worn at all times, or a player must leave the field. Warming up by light running, agility drills, throwing, and stretching should be mandatory before practice.

MANAGING PARENTS

Youth baseball can do funny things to otherwise very nice people. Parents care deeply and want the best for their child, and some will go overboard trying to get it. Many will think their child should be playing shortstop or pitcher. Others will criticize their child severely for mistakes. Some parents just do not care, and the child will have trouble getting to practices or games, furthermore they will not get any additional practice at home. You will face these issues, and there is no clear correct way to deal with them. It is the toughest thing about coaching. For the overzealous parent, be patient and explain what you are trying to do. If they want their child to play more at a certain position, I suggest they help the kid to earn it, and give them some ideas on how to do it. The critical parent needs to be dealt with more firmly. Take them aside and tell them as nicely as you can that it’s not helpful to the confidence you’re trying to build, and it has to change. If a player has trouble getting to the field, maybe you can help arrange a carpool with another parent. Sure, it is the parent’s job, but you are a team.

KNOW YOUR GOALS

Volunteering to be a T&C coach makes you a part of the T&C baseball organization and we want all our coaches to have the correct motivations and goals.
What are you seeking as a coach? Did you get involved and volunteer to be a coach so your child would always play a good position? Are you coaching so your child will have a better chance at making an All-Star team? If these are your motivations for coaching, you need to check your priorities. You have goals that will interfere with your team’s success and the success of other children on your team.

The most common coaching objectives are, to have fun, to help players develop their baseball skills, and to win. Thus, your goals involve the priorities of these objectives. To coach successfully, you must know how you rank these objectives. In just what order do you rank the importance of fun, development, and winning? You need to think through this and know before the season begins. Take the following actions to better define your goals: Determine your priorities for the season. Prepare for situations that challenge your priorities. Set goals for yourself and your players that are consistent with those priorities. Plan how you and your players can best attain those goals. Review your goals frequently to be sure that you are staying on track.

ORGANIZE YOUR SEASON’S END

Do not measure the success of a season by wins and losses. Measure it by how much the players has learned and the amount of fun the team had. Always have an end of season party. Have a pool party, go to the pizza place, or have a picnic. Get everyone together and give thanks to your players and parents. Give thanks to assistant coaches, the team parent, and other parents that may have made special contributions. Pass out awards for this and that to your players. Certificates of participation, MVP, most improved hitter, most improved fielder, etc.. You can usually come up with 11 or 12 so everyone gets one.

Good job coaches, and thanks from the T&C Optimist and Baseball Boards for your efforts.

Coach Application

FAQ's

Learn More

Registration

Sign Up!

Become a Coach

Apply Today!