8 Ways to Be a Better Baseball Coach Next Year

September 24, 2018 | Category: Coaching,Preparation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What to Do When the Season Ends to Make Sure Next Year is Better

The season just ended and let me guess, you’re relieved. Next season isn’t for a couple months. You can wait a while to get ready, right? Wrong! The reason why you are probably so relieved is that the season was stressful to begin with. Take care of all of the things that caused you stress in the off season by doing something each week. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Start with one task each week and agree not to spend more than one hour doing it. Here are some things you can do to make your season a breeze by getting the tough stuff done in the off season…

1. Order uniforms in advance
You don’t have to wait until you pick your team to order uniforms. Most companies can ship in a few days in January but come April it can take weeks because everyone is ordering them at the same time. Now I know what you’re thinking, how do I know what size they’ll be if I don’t know who is playing? Easy, ask who is going to be back next year, order their uniforms, then pick a range of sizes and numbers based on what most kids that age will wear. Order a few big ones and small ones for the outliers but for the most part all the kids will be about the same size, give or take. What about the names on the back? Companies will often take jersey orders back for printing after they have shipped them because it takes very little time to put a name on them. They can have them back very quickly. Making the jersey, however takes time. You can also have a separate company (something local) print the names on the jerseys you have the same day you drop them off once the team picks their numbers after tryouts. If you aren’t worried about names on the back, then this is one task you’ll have done weeks in advance.
“Now I know what you’re thinking, how do I know what size they’ll be if I don’t know who is playing?”
2. Scheduling

Take care of your schedule in advance so that parents can prepare. This also gives you time to reserve umpires for your games. If you get good at this, you can even arrange scrimmages for the preseason or long periods of time off during the season. It’s easier to cancel games than it is to set them up so get to the teams you want to play first when they are available. You can always call off games if it gets too busy. Understand that the schedule is an ever-changing Rubik’s cube and it never ends, but if you can alleviate as much pain as possible in the off season, you’ll thank me later.
3. Practices
It might not be a bad idea to have a practice here and there for your players to keep them in check. Some players won’t practice if they aren’t in season and this often leads to lost progress. This may be because they play other sports but it might also be because they can’t put down the video game controller. Scheduling time to hit or throw in the off season guarantees no player will be too rusty and it let’s you see who is committing to the next season’s team. It doesn’t have to be a long practice and these should be fun. Plan some activities where the players can be active where you aren’t focusing on rigorous coaching. Get them excited about the next season and you’ll build better relationships with your players and parents.

4. Healthy rest
It’s important to take care of your body, but kids will be kids. Even though they take a break from baseball, tearing a muscle in whiffle ball is just as easy. Truthfully, most kids won’t make the connection between “not playing” and resting the proper muscles. Any ballplayer given the opportunity to throw a dodgeball on the playground won’t pass it up because he’s resting his arm for a few months. Of course they are going to play, as they should. But teach them to always use caution. Warm up before doing anything strenuous and don’t try to show off to people at school because you can throw hard. Players should learn how to stay active, but be smart.

“Umpiring is not an easy thing to do so book them in advance, let them know when games are cancelled, and have a few cold waters handy just in case.” -Casey Medairy, Coach COA
5. Umpires

I don’t know about you but I feel like umpires are at a shortage every year. They are harder and harder to book and seem to get more unreliable because they are overworked. Unfortunately, us coaches are part to blame. Be sure to reserve umpires every time you schedule a game. Do it as soon as you schedule it so you won’t have to worry about it later when there will be a rush to get them. Something that I don’t think enough coaches do is build relationships with their umpires. It is a stressful job that no one gets recognized for their good work but I bet you’re the first person to tell them how horrible of a job they did that one play three years ago when they were umpire their fourth game of the day in ninety four degree heat. Did I forget to mention that the umpire probably also has a full time job that they have to wake up and go to after that? Take care of these people! The umpires save your but from getting hit by line drives and throws to second when you have to stand behind the mound and make your best guess at a pitch because you think you have the same view you see on T.V.. Umpiring is not an easy thing to do so book them in advance, let them know when games are cancelled, and have a few cold waters handy just in case.

6. Tournaments
Tournaments are a great way to introduce your new work ethic and goals for the season. It’s also a good way to see each player before the games become more important. If anybody is training for a new position in the field, it would be good to see where they have progressed earlier in the season so you can know if you can trust them not to hurt themselves later on. Also, it can be a good way to get more players on the mound so you can see who can come in relief on those busy weekends. Usually, the tournaments earlier in the year don’t predict the post season rankings well. Don’t take losses personal. There are a lot of teachable moments that should be capitalized on during this time. Take notes, keep stats, and follow your own rules. You build a good foundation early on and the players will follow your lead.
“Fall leagues are great for when players make the jump to the bigger field.” -Casey Medairy, Coach COA

7. Fall leagues
If summer is ending and your players aren’t playing fall sports, join a fall league! This is a great way to keep the season going to build skill sets but also a great way to find new players for next season. Baseball is usually overlooked by football players until fall is over. If you lose a few players to other sports in the fall, your new players to fill in might be worth keeping for the spring too. These leagues don’t seem to be as competitive but it usually serves as a developmental tool. Experiment with new coaching tactics or adjustments to rules. Fall leagues are great for when players make the jump to the bigger field.

8. Training facilities

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Reserve your cage space ASAP. Teams reserve times months in advance so as soon as your season ends, book days throughout the winter months at an indoor facility to hone skills without getting frostbite. Good spots are hard to find so if you can find time in the cage at a decent price, take it. It would be great to hire an outside coach to work with the players too because if they hear you all year, they might be more inclined to listen to someone else off the field. My experience as a coach tells me that players stop listening to parents and coaches after a while but I could repeat the same thing you said and they think I’m a genius. Not that I am, but that’s just how the young mind works. It’s worth it in the long run to have someone work with your team that isn’t on your coaching staff or related to any players in any way.
Casey Medairy, Coach COA

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