Pre-Game: Coach Preparation and Warm-Up
Arrive early. Arrive early to setup and greet players as they arrive and make note that they have arrived.
Setup and start warm-up. With help from assistant coach, setup for the warm-up activities and get players warming up. Have assistant coaches oversee warm-up.
Prepare/check field. Help prepare the field or ensure that the field is being prepared and that it meets your satisfaction.
Prepare lineup and get yourself and supporting people organized. If not already prepared before coming to the game, prepare lineup. Make sure you have everything you are going to need close at hand. Touch base with your scorekeeper, pitch counter, and team manager to make sure they have everything they need and that they are ready to go.
Check in with other team and umpire. Exchange line-up and check in with umpire and other team’s coach to decide home team, game start time, how the other team is doing, injuries, field conditions, rule clarification and so on.
Check players’ equipment and hold any one-on-one discussions. Check players’ equipment and uniform and ask them how they are doing. Hold your one-on-one sessions with players at this time.
Conduct team talk. Allow at least 10 minutes before the start of the game to have a little talk and to let players rest.
Pre-Game: Team Talk
Read lineup: Read the starting lineup and discuss any points in regard to the lineup, including when the subs will be going in and their position, if you know.
Discuss updates. Discuss any updates from your discussion with umpire and other team.
Reinforce: (Note. If you are starting in the field, end with Defence)
Play position: Some of the players may not be familiar with the position, so you may want to make sure they know where you want them to play.
Cover bases: Covering bases for overthrows is a skill that separates the good teams from the best teams.
Cut-offs: Remind the infielders their role when a ball is hit to the outfield.
Be ready: Emphasize the importance of always being ready and knowing what you are going to do if the ball comes to you.
Watch your throws: Take the time to plant your feet and take a proper stride to ensure you make a good, hard throw.
Communicate: Communication is about making sure your teammates know how many are out and what the team needs to do on a play. It is about checking with a teammate or coach if you are unsure of the defensive play. It is also about encouraging your teammates and keeping spirits high.
Show sportsmanship: Sportmanship is about showing respect for your teammates and coaches, the other team’s players and coaches, and the officials, playing safe and setting a good example by your behaviour on and off the field.
Be ready. Readiness is knowing when you need to start to get ready and being ready when it is your turn to bat. Well in advance of your turn at bat, watching or asking questions of your coach and teammates about the pitcher and the other team’s fielding. Being aware when you are at the plate where you are going to try to hit the ball.
Be aggressive. At the plate and on the bases.
Watch for coach’s signal. And calling time if you aren’t sure about a signal.
Run hard and smart. Be aware of when you need to run and don’t watch the ball when you need to run hard.
Be aware of other baserunners. To help you determine where you should hit and when you are running the bases.
Show sportsmanship. (see above)
Don’t coach a player fielding a ball. Avoid telling a player what to do when they receive the ball. Allow the player to make their own decision with the ball. If a wrong decision was made, discuss with the player one-on-one at the next opportunity.
Let players keep track of the number of outs. Players need to pay attention and think for themselves.
Support players. Identify what can be improved, individually and collectively, and discuss how to fix with players at appropriate time. Try to avoid singling out individual players in team discussions. Instead talk to the players one-on-one.
Use the Question and Answer and Guided Discovery teaching techniques as much as possible to help players to learn how to play. You want the players to learn to think for themselves.
Have fun. Remember that you are there for your players. Baseball is about the players and having fun. Make sure they are having fun and you are too.
Look for weaknesses in the other team. Watch, and encourage your players to watch, to look for weaknesses or patterns in the other team’s play that your team can use.
Show respect for the other team and umpires. BC Baseball and our association are very serious about coaches and players not confronting the umpire. You must set a good example for your players, coaches, and parents. If you allow yourself to cross the line, you risk suspension and losing an opportunity to coach summer ball!
Stay on top of line-up changes. Stay on top, or delegate to an assistant coach the responsibility, of line-up changes. Let players know about the changes.
Manage the dugout players. Ensure players in the dugout are watching the game, encouraging their teammates, showing good sportsmanship, and staying hydrated.
Communicate with assistant coaches. Communicate with the other coaches to keep each other up-to-date and to ensure your messages are consistent.
Post-Game: Team Talk
Went well. Identify what went well and ask players to give their thoughts on the game.
Needs improvement. Identify what can be improved and discuss how to fix for next game. Try to avoid singling out individual players in team discussions. Instead talk to the players one-on-one. Try to keep tone positive.
Positive departing message. Send players away with a positive message (e.g., ”keep up the good work” or “we are getting very close”), and emphasize the importance of practicing at home and school, and remind them of the next practice or game.