Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Teaching How To Play Second Base

One of the problems we face as a baseball coach is teaching youth players how to field a position that we never actully played ourselves. If you were a shortstop it's usually easy to teach how to play shortstop. If you were a catcher, you can teach kids how to be a catcher. The problems comes when you were a shortstop and a kid wants to learn how to catch.

I had this problem more times that I can care to talk about. Searching for information on how to teach other positions I came across a site that shows the proper way to teach how to play second base. The article was very helpful in showing how to teach a second baseman how to turn a double play and cover the bag on a stolen base attempt. The site has numerous articles on playing all different positions. So far I've found it very helpful.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lack of Instruction in Youth Baseball

In one way or another I've spent the last 30 years involved in youth baseball in some aspect. I was a player while growing up, I've coached T-ballers through high school players and I have a little league player in my house now.

Youth sports have changed tremendously over the last 30 years. Some of the changes, such as pitch counts to protect young arms are very good and important. Other changes are not so good.

The biggest downfall that I've noticed in youth baseball is the lack of actual instruction that our young baseball players get. If you watch nearly any little league practice you see the same things. Kids show up and haphazardly play catch for a few minutes to "warm-up." Then the coach assigns positions, hits some ground balls and pop-ups, then throws batting practice while the kids behind him "field" the ball.

This pattern of practice is very inefficient. Not only are a lot of kids just standing aound, but very little actual instruction is given, outside of the coach yelling the old standbys like "keep your elbow up" or "get down on the ball." When was the last time you actually saw a coach "teach" a player how to field a grounder, make a "proper" throw or swing a bat correctly. If you have ever seen it you have seen the exception to the rule, not the standard. You have probably witnessed a very good youth coach, regardless of what his win-loss record says.

My definition of a good youth coach is one that teaches players the skills needed to advance to the next level. The point of this blog is to help people find the resources that will help them teach children how to play the game properly and improve.