How do I become a coach?
To become a coach, you must fill out a coaches application during registration. You are also required to give permission for a background check. You need to give coaching background, if any, and character references. The Baseball Board will review all applications and select the coaches for that season.
What is coach certification?
Our certification program provides training, support, and continuing education to adults who volunteer to coach out-of-school youth sports teams. Our program works to "sensitize" coaches to their responsibilities when working with children in sports and hold them accountable to a Coaches’ Code of Ethics. We require all coaches to become certified. See the Calendar page for dates. Coaches can renew their membership from their web page.
You can now access coaching tools and documents here.
Congratulations! You have just taken a step which will fill your spring or fall with one of the great pleasures in life. 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 all new coaches need to learn. Here are ten key items that will help you get organized and started.
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. Try to meet our expectations, and remember the board members are volunteers too.
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 too. It will benefit their child and others on your team.
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 business 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 mom, she will be a great help. You don't need to control everything, so accept help and delegate responsibility.
Refer to Plan your Practices for details. 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 group 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'll need to locate parks and fields near you. Many will reserve fields while others will be first come, first served. T&C allows practice on their fields before the season begins, but only by going through the T&C Field Coordinator. To schedule practices, Head Coaches can send an email to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with their age division, team name, requested date & time after they have checked the Master Field Schedule (see "Schedules") for availability.
Practicing Offsite: From time to time T&C teams need to practice at a location other than the T&C fields. Occasionally these locations require a formal roster. It is against T&C policy to release the contact information of its volunteers, players, and parents without express written permission. Below is a sample email that can be sent to your entire team in order to gain that permission. Please be sure to copy both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org in the original email. If they do not require a roster, but do require proof of insurance, this can be issued to you by sending a request with the full name and address of the location you are looking to use to email@example.com
To reserve (Name of Field) for (Sport) practices, I need to provide (Entity) with a formal roster on T&C letterhead, including addresses, phone numbers and emails for each of the coaches and players/parents. Since your contact information is private, T&C will not send the roster details without permission from each of you.
If you are not comfortable sharing your info with (Entity), please let me know and we'll try to find another location If you are comfortable, please forward this note to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (copying me) and simply state that you "permit T&C to share your contact information with (Entity)".
I need to get this roster to the (Entity) by (Date), because they are making reservation decisions on (Date). So, please forward your permission ASAP.
Set expectations early. Players need to know they are expected to hustle around the field. They shouldn't 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 doesn't 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 punishment so, speak to their parents and let them approve the punishment. Don't 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 shouldn't 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.
It's 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's 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.
Always make safety first. 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, 5-9, some kids are not good defensively. Fly balls can be hazardous for a kid who can't catch. You can use tennis balls initially for certain kids, and urged 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. Don't 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.
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 don't 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 over zealous parent, be patient and explain what you're trying to do. If they want their child to play more at a certain position, I'd 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 an a car pool with another parent. Sure, it's the parent's job, but your a team.
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. 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.
The most common coaching objectives are, to have fun, to help players develop their baseball skills, and to win. Thus your goals involves 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.
Don't 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 a 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, team mom, 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.