There is a fine linewith baseball rules at the youthlevel between playing to win and teaching the game. For example, at the higher levels of baseball it is important to keep runners out of scoring position, to cut down scoring runners and turn double plays, when possible. That is good baseball philosophy for advanced baseball, but at the younger ages of baseball, that is not always best baseball rules philosophy. In youth baseball, the "any out is a good out" philosophy works better. Double plays, getting runners out at the plate and keeping players out of scoring position are very difficult at the youth level. Trying for those often lead to more runs, when players could have gotten an easier out, shortening the inning. Therefore, in youth baseball, I believe it is OK to play to winby having players get the easiest outs, as opposed to teaching the advanced, correct strategies of the game.
At all levels of baseball, the winning team usually produces the biggest run-scoring inning of the game. A team that has a 4, 5 or more run inning wins more often than not. Failing to take an out the easy way, although it may not be the advanced winning baseball philosophy, helps teams avoid the big innings that lead to losing games.
For example, on a routine grounder to the first baseman, when they have a possible force out at second, avoiding that tough throw and taking the out at first makes good baseball sense at the lower levels of baseball. Anytime there is an easy out to be made, it is best that youth baseball players take the out and avoid the big innings. Because of this, it is important to have different baseball rules for youth to be sure of getting an out, somewhere, and anywhere.
This does not mean that coaches should not teach the advanced way as players learn the game better, but until players mature, getting any out and the easiest one, is good coaching. With that in mind, here are youth baseball rules that help that philosophy, along with winning youth baseball games.
Good Coaches teach youth to:
Praising kids for getting an out somewhere, even if not the major league way, is good. As players reach the travel ball age, learning the advanced baseball philosophy is necessary. Of course, many baseball strategies are necessary and the same at every level from youth baseball to the major leagues.
As mentioned, as players get a better understanding of the game around travel ball age, then coaches can play with more advanced baseball rules and strategies.
After playing major league baseball, Jack Perconte has taught baseball and softball since 1988 and offered valuable coaching training too. He has helped numerous youth players reach their potential, as well as having helped parents and coaches navigate their way through the challenging world of youth sports. Jack is one of the leading authorities in the areas of youth baseball training and coaching training advice.All Jack Perconte articles are used with copyright permission.
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