This is from an e-mail I got from Coach Baker, I’d like to get everyones opinion on the subject, and I’d also like to thank him for the thoughtful contribution he has brought to our site… I’ve been a volunteer coach now for 20+ years…2 family members 10 years apart from t-ball to, well now my youngest is going to be a senior this coming year.
[u]I’ll continue this at a later date…
Amateur Baseball Coaches – Agendas, Benefits and Limitations
Three (3) Basic Types of Amateur Baseball Coaches
The volunteer baseball coach is the most prolific and spans the complete spectrum of competitive baseball. They’re found at the T-Ball level and well into the collegiate game. Most of these coaches are transit. In other words they move along an age or talent level that parallels a family member or a social group. These coaches have a wide disparity in competency ranging from no experience to highly experienced. A major portion of this coaching population seems to serve the fifteen and under level. This age group normally draws a generic coach that is not well suited to coaching position players. Going beyond the fifteen year old age group usually requires a higher degree of competency which draws semi-professional and professional into the picture. There are exceptions of course. Some clubs lwith the American Legion and similar programs have had good success with a core of coaches that are strictly volunteers. However, the majority of volunteer coaching pool often finds it difficult meeting the travel and competition schedules that are associated with the older players.
What benefits can a young player look for with the volunteer coach with varying degrees of experience?
The first thing that has to be considered is the age and level of competition. Normally, the fifteen and under age group is basically a learning environment for everybody. In this regard, the players on the field aren’t the only ones learning. And if that wasn’t enough, toss in a couple of dads that are going to be gone in a couple of years doesn’t make the learning curve any easier to climb. Then there’s the prodigal son/daughter – who’s going to shine like the moon over the Wabash regardless of what happens. And then we add to all that the expectation of perfection ---- and it’s no wonder so many youngsters walk away from the game.
But for those kids that stick to it there are benefits that can be drawn from this coaching experience. However, let’s not expect those benefits to be earth shaken. Simple things like references to the next coach up the line are very important. Why? Well, consider the nature of the beast (the coach). These coaches are usually a close knit group – same church, economic environment, same social circles, same group of kids know each other at school, etc. So, the best possible benefit that one coach in the fifteen and under can give to another coach at the fifteen and over is — “This kid is outstanding, great go-getter, always ready to get in there and help out, polite kid. ( Get the picture! ) Don’t expect a ream of comments about ERA’s, base on balls ----. These coaches are not oriented to that , so don’t look for it!
A volunteer coach with the fifteen and over age group, can change the picture for a youngster dramatically. The primary reason being a future with college on the horizon may not be that far away. Therefore, these coaches tend to be more competent and deliberate. Some even limit their coaching to a specialty –like pitching, hitting, infield, etc. Cultivating the benefits from these coaches is more difficult and a bit more tricky – but not impossible. The first order of business: bring the acknowledgements from other coaches at the lower levels. In fact, for freshmen entering high school this one personality-reference is one quality that’s often overlooked. Most freshmen baseball coaches (JV) are knowledgeable of the facts-of-life out there playing park & rec baseball. And there not ignorant to the realities of mom-&-dad baseball team(s). So basically what these coaches are looking for is something to work with. So---- go in with an open mind, don’t pre-assume anything, be eager to cooperate, and play your heart out. Volunteer to bring equipment out/in, help pickup the locker room, shag balls when no one else does. If you’re out on a play, jog back to the dugout/bench, place your helmet down, put your bat back in the rack/holder/fence, then sit down without any antics[/u]