Become a Student of the Game

  • Baseball is the most difficult game to teach and play. Give the teaching of skills your highest priority.
  • Place development over winning. Strive to win every game but take into account the importance of HOW you win. Don’t overuse a dominant pitcher, show favoritism to more talented players or lose your control over player miscues and flaws.
  • Learn something about baseball everyday. (The kind of information that is not in the box scores.) Most effective coaches eagerly soak up every scrap of information they can get their hands on.
  • Whether at practices or games develop the ability to see the entire field at once. This is a learned skill and must be acquired. It will bring your coaching ability to the next level.
  • Remain in control at all times, including umpires’ questionable calls. This may not seem to you as if it belongs in the “student of the game” category but by controlling your temper (and realizing that the umpires are just part of the game) you will find that you are more open to learn from negative situations. Don’t take bad calls personally.
  • The more you learn the better your team will be. Teams seem to play at a higher level of competence when they believe their coach is superior to the opposition’s. They will play with more confidence because they will feel their coach can handle any situation.
  • Discuss the game with your players, immediately after the game. Take them away from everyone (Down the foul line in the outfield grass is good) and talk about the game; why you won, why you lost, stress great defensive plays and talk about the next practice. Listen to the feedback you get from your players. The students can often become the teachers.
  • Become proficient in all areas of the game. Even though you need assistant coaches make it your business to learn all you can about pitching, hitting, base running, etc.
  • Baseball skills all have various movements that are efficient and correct. Learn what they look like and correct them when you find flaws. With (just a few variations) there are correct ways to throw a baseball, pitch, hit, field and run. Don’t try to reinvent the game. Learn the correct way it is supposed to be played. Like the old scout said, “I don’t know how to describe it but I’ll know it when I see it.
  • Learn the basics of each skill and expand from there. For instance, an experienced coach looks at how quickly a hitter can get his bat from the back of his shoulder to the contact zone; a very short distance. Teach the correct path to the ball and other things fall into place.



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Tim Kafer has coached over 25 years of youth baseball. He has worked with players at college, High School and youth