Some youth baseball-coaching decisions, even at the little league level, can be gut wrenching ones that coaches lose sleep over. Some of these are in game decisions and some of these youth baseball coaching decisions actually occur before the season even begins. It is best that coaches recognize these possible tough coaching calls before the season, so they develop their coaching philosophy, which they should review with parents of their players to avoid having big issues during the season.
Following are possibly the toughest youth baseball coaching decisions that coaches have to deal with.
1. The first difficult decisions have to do with coaching in the first place and especially with decisions involving their own child. Coaches should ask themselves the following:
A. Do I have the time, knowledge, and proper perspective to coach the age of the players?
B. What are my plans for coaching my son or daughter, especially with their ability to treat their own the same as they do the other players? When coaches cannot do this and hold their own to a higher standard, or a lower standard, they are not ready to coach their own child. A higher standard generally shows with less patience when dealing with their child and a lower standard usually involves giving their own preferential treatment, when they did not earn it.
2. The next toughest youth baseball coaching decisions involve choosing assistant coaches and players for the team. Coaches have to decide the following:
A. Is it best to have people who are the most knowledgeable or parents of players, who are friends, to be coaches?
B. Are coaches out to have the best team possible, which means a totally objective tryout system, or do they choose players who are friends of their kids and/or kids, who are children of friends of theirs? If they choose to have the best team possible, are they willing to alienate friends, which would be the scenario when going for the absolute best team?
3.The next tough decision has to do with playing time. Questions that need answering include:
A. What should coaches do when players miss practices? To penalize players with less playing time or not is definitely something that needs preseason addressing. Of course, penalizing players over missing practices due to injury or health issues is not right, but even that may become tricky, when it happens often.
B. Maybe the toughest youth baseball coaching decisions involve choosing player positions on the field and for choosing the batting order. Nothing upsets parents more than feelings of unfair treatment of these with their son or daughter. Coaches should prepare to answer this treatment of player positions and batting order, and as mentioned, having a preseason policy to let parents know your intentions with those is always best.
C. Determining when players' injuries are to the point they are incapable of playing? This is often a difficult call at all levels of baseball, of course.
Of course, many other tough youth baseball decisions come into play during games during games. Tough decisions include some of the following and decisions that all baseball coaches must deal with:
A. To pinch hit or not is a difficult decision. Figuring out if the move will diminish the replaced players' self-esteem is tough. Some players are more emotionally equipped to handle the switch than others are.
B. When to take a pitcher out is another of the tough in-game calls for youth baseball coaches. Players' arm health should always be the first coaching consideration.
Finally, the level played, age of players and league goals must all considerations that help coaches with these decisions, but a win at all cost attitudes should not be any youth baseball coach's philosophy.
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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