How to Be a Good Little League Coach

How to Be a Good Little League Coach

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You've probably seen it at the local ball field. A well-meaning, but overzealous parent-coach screaming at a team full of little kids as if the World Series was on the line. On the other field, another team is wandering around looking for directions from their coach who is trying to figure out who's up next. What does it take to be a good Little League coach?

The number one virtue Little League coaches need to develop is patience. Children do not have the attention span or the discipline of adults and need to be constantly reminded about technique and sportsmanship. Coaches need patience to work with a large group of children who may be at different levels of expertise. Many major league ball players have stories of making it to the majors because of a coach who never gave up on them.

Organizational skills are also helpful to a Little League coach. Balancing playing time can be a sensitive task and good record keeping can help avoid many a dispute. If you're coaching a team that travels you have to be able to organize travel arrangements and have systems to keep track of all your players while you're on the road.

Tact is essential when dealing with parents. Children are remarkably open to coaching and are not typically sensitive to constructive criticism about their skills. Parents, however, frequently stress about their child's amount of playing time, and the amount of individual coaching time their children receive. It takes finesse and sensitivity to deal with these problems. Parents may also become overly concerned about the competition and may need to be tactfully reminded about the importance of good sportsmanship.

If your child is on the team you're coaching, fairness may become an issue. It's important for coaches to be fair to all their players and to judge players on their skills rather than their personalities. At higher levels, it's important to continue to praise and offer second string players at least some playing time, to maintain their interest and help them continue to develop their skills even if they do not have a great career in sports ahead of them.

Finally, every Little League coach must have a deep and abiding love for children of all ages. Coaches are some of the most formative people in a child's life and can imbue children with values they will carry throughout their lives.

By Jonathon Hardcastle

Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Baseball, Games, and Recreation

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