If you are like most youth league coaches, you have probably been recruited from the ranks of concerned parents, sport enthusiasts, or community volunteers. Like many rookie and veteran coaches, you probably have had little formal instruction on how to coach. But when the call went out for coaches to assist with your local Babe Ruth League program, you answered because you like children and enjoy baseball, and perhaps because you wanted to be involved in a worthwhile community activity.
Making the decision to become a coach carries a tremendous amount of responsibility. A coach is a teacher and a trainer. When the coach speaks, everyone listens. A coach identifies educational goals, organizes information, develops lesson (practice) plans, provides learning stimulus, and monitors the progress of athletes. Whether in practices or games, the coach seeks to create and maintain an effective learning environment. This is especially true with young players.
Your Responsibilities as a Babe Ruth League Coach
Coaching at all levels involves much more than making out the lineup, hitting, or coaching third base. Coaching involves accepting the tremendous responsibility you face when parents put their children into your care. As a Babe Ruth League coach, you’ll be called on to do the following:
Provide a safe physical environment.
The safety and security of our players, volunteers, and spectators has always been a major consideration of Babe Ruth League, Inc. Playing baseball or softball holds inherent risks, but as a coach you’re responsible for regularly inspecting the fields and equipment used for practice and competition.
Communicate in a positive way.
As you can already see, you have a lot to communicate. You’ll communicate not only with your players and their parents, but also with the coaching staff, umpires, administrators, and others. Communicate in a way that is positive and that demonstrates that you have the best interests of the players at heart. Babe Ruth League coaches who clearly explain all team rules and coaching philosophies are off to a good start in developing team chemistry.
Teach the fundamental skills of baseball.
When teaching the game to young Babe Ruth Leaguers, FUN should be the number one goal. If the kids don't have fun, they won't continue to play when they are older. Therefore, you want to be sure that your players have fun while learning the basics. We ask that you help and encourage all players to be the best they can be by creating a fun, yet productive, practice environment. To help you do this, we’ll show you an innovative “games approach” to teaching and practicing the skills young players need to know—an approach that kids thoroughly enjoy. Additionally, to help your players improve their skills, you need to have a sound understanding of offensive and defensive skills.
Teach the rules of the game.
Introduce the rules of the game and incorporate them into individual. Many rules can be taught in practice, including offensive rules (such as the definition of the strike zone, rules related to the baseline, and when sliding is mandatory) as well as defensive rules (such as the force play, the balk rule, and obstruction). You should plan to review the rules any time an opportunity naturally arises in practices.
Direct players in competition.
Your responsibilities include determining starting lineups and a substitution plan, relating appropriately to umpires and to opposing coaches and players, and making sound tactical decisions during games. Remember that the focus is not on winning at all costs, but on coaching your kids to compete well, do their best, improve their skills, and strive to win within the rules.
Help your players become fit and value fitness for a lifetime.
We want you to help your players be fit so they can play the game safely and successfully. We also want your players to learn to become fit on their own, understand the value of fitness, and enjoy training. Thus, we ask you not to make them do push-ups or run laps for punishment. Make it fun to get fit for baseball or softball and make it fun to play the game so that they’ll stay fit for a lifetime.
Help young people develop character.
Character development includes learning, caring, being honest and respectful, and taking responsibility. These intangible qualities are no less important to teach than the skill of hitting the baseball. We ask you to teach these values to players by demonstrating and encouraging behaviors that express these values at all times. For example, in teaching good team defense, stress to young players the importance of learning their assignments, helping their teammates, playing within the rules, showing respect for their opponents, and understanding that they are responsible for having a role in every play—even though they may not be recognized individually for their efforts.
Become A Role Model
Just as kids imitate their parents and teachers, they take their cues from their coaches when it comes to how they act on the diamond. A coach’s attitude and behavior set the tone for the atmosphere surrounding a team.
Coach’s Bench Conduct
For the reasons listed above and because every Babe Ruth manager and coach has an obligation to his/her players to provide them with the best possible instruction and leadership of which he/she is capable, Babe Ruth League, Inc. requires all rostered managers and coaches are required to complete coaching education and certification. To visit the Babe Ruth League Coaching Education Center, please click here.
These are your responsibilities as a Babe Ruth League coach. Remember that every player is an individual. You must provide a wholesome environment in which every player has the opportunity to learn how to play the game, and while having fun and enjoying the overall Babe Ruth League experience.