How to Coach Tee Ball without Going Insane

How to Coach Tee Ball without Going Insane

by Robert Doss

Paperback

$12.95

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780966594409
Publisher: Bullhorn Media Group
Publication date: 06/28/1998
Pages: 108
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Game In Its Proper Perspective

As managers, coaches, and parents grow in their understanding of the game and try their hands at teaching young players the game, they come to realize that there is much more to properly coaching a Tee Ball team than simply chaperoning kids with gloves on their hands. They learn, some sooner than others, that these children bring with them all of the elements that favor the coach in his role as teacher. It is an incredible waste of an opportunity and a great injustice if parents and coaches don't do their best to teach their players as much as they can.

How do they do this? How far do they go? Is it reasonable to expect 5, 6, and 7 year old children to learn to stop the ball when it's hit to them? How about catching fly balls? And throwing the ball to the right base? Should they be drilled on throwing accurately? Should they be taught to hit properly? Does it really make any difference if the players develop terrible bat swings or that they don't get in front of the ball when they field it? Let's look a little further. Knowing that your players are going to slide into bases, should they be taught the right way to slide, or should they be allowed to do whatever they want to do? Most parents and coaches agree that these things should be taught, particularly when they learn that the game is made safer by quality comprehensive instruction, but few progress further because they either lack the knowledge to teach the right thing or they're reluctant to get too deeply involved in the game, or both.

You see, this is such a difficult issue for many because parents and coaches often confuse perspective with commitment. They don't know where the line is between taking their responsibilities seriously and taking an excessively aggressive approach to the game. They're uncertain whether they have lost their perspective or upheld their commitment when they take the time to develop their players' skills with a lot of practice and drills. That's why some leagues don't keep score -- they're concerned about the outcome. I recommend parents and coaches remember two important things about Tee Ball:
First of all, they should remember that Tee Ball is only a game. Secondly, they should remember that understanding that Tee Ball is only a game is not a good excuse to avoid teaching their players about winning, losing, sportsmanship, gamesmanship, and "gutting it out."

Ask a coach why he doesn't teach and drill his players on basic baseball skills and he'll usually tell you, "We're not that serious about the game here." Well, why aren't they? And why does the chief complaint people have about youth athletics usually have something to do with someone taking the game "too seriously?" Many attribute this problem to the competition, but as far as I'm concerned, the problem, insofar as it is a problem, is actually caused by poor behavior by adults who should know better. My children have played in both, competitive Tee Ball leagues where score was kept and outs were counted and so-called "non-competitive" Tee Ball leagues where there was none of that. However, based on my own experience as a parent and coach, I can confirm that the one thing that is common to both types of leagues is the presence of a relatively few obsessive adults who always seem to find ways to have a problem with the umpires, the coaches, the parents, the score, and so on. Precautions such as changing the rules of the game and not keeping score don't prevent these problems, they simply provide them different grounds on which to surface. The problem is not that the game is taken too seriously -- the problem is that we adults can tend to lose our perspectives.

The fact is that it's essential that everyone take the game seriously -- coaches, parents, umpires, and children. Taking your responsibilities as a manager or coach seriously means that you don't lose your head during a close game. It means that you teach your players as much as is reasonable and give them every opportunity to become good enough to have bright moments in games. It means that you teach them how to lose gracefully after a tough game and it means that you teach them how to be generous and polite when they win. It means that you teach them about teamwork and cooperation and it means that you help them become disciplined enough to do what you taught them to do. It means that you teach them to play aggressively and ambitiously, but it also means that you don't win at all costs. It means that if your team is a little short of talent that you do as much as you can with your team and your individual players anyway. In Tee Ball, there's always something to be successful at.

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