I’m here, I’m here! It’s encouraging to have so many of you reach out and ask when the next newsletter or podcast is coming.
In August, I published a couple of podcast episodes, and then COVID struck! My wife and I both got sick. Thankfully our symptoms were relatively mild, and now we’re ready for fall baseball!
First time here? I send a weekly newsletter and record a youth baseball podcast. I’d love for you to join!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re involved in some type of fall baseball. Even with the crazy year we’ve had, many youth leagues and “travel” tournaments are still having their fall games.
As our team makes the transition from 8U coach pitch to 9U player pitch, I wanted to hit on a few things that are important to remember. After our first fall tournament, this is important to share.
1. Make your goals drive your actions
I’ve written on this several times, but it’s at the core of everything we do. We don’t just play to play. We play to have fun, get better, learn life lessons, and spend time with our friends and families.
While those reasons are why we play in the spring and summer too, the fall provides a specific opportunity to really focus on those things in a lower pressure environment while preparing for the next season.
Check out my previous writings and podcasts on goals and why we do what we do. Spend a few minutes reviewing these to help get you in the right mindset for the fall season.
2. Fall is about development
I would argue that ALL youth baseball is about development, however the shorter fall season is a time to really work on areas of opportunity and preparing for the next spring and summer.
For coach pitch teams it’s really a time to focus on fundamentals, developing a wide range of skills, and having fun. Learn the game and get better every time you’re on the field.
For young player pitch teams the focus really needs to be getting experience doing all the new things - pitching, catching, hitting live pitching, stealing bases, etc. The game has changed, and the fall is a great low pressure time to learn it. If the pressure is high, go back and read number 1! ⬆️
3. Other sports are okay, encouraged actually!
Encourage your players to play other sports. In our area, most fall tournaments are one day only on Sundays. This allows our kids to play football on Saturdays. We also only practice once per week which allows them to practice their other fall and winter sports.
There are a million articles on why kids should not specialize at a young age, so I’m not going to get into that here. The bottom line is we need to be developing athletes, not just baseball players.
Encourage other sports and time away from baseball. Those experiences will help them be better baseball players and teammates too!
4. Keep the Spring/Summer in mind
Going back to number 1, what are your goals? For my team, we want to have a deep pitching staff that’s ready to go by Spring. We also want as many kids as possible to be as versatile on the field as possible. We’re going to move guys around to learn and get comfortable at different positions when there’s less pressure.
Look back at the summer season you just finished. Identify areas of opportunity and set specific and measurable goals to achieve by next spring. Write them down, plan your practices and games around them, and measure your progress. It works!
I’d love to hear them! I’m working on new articles, recording podcasts, and a REALLY cool new premium service that will give you more content with LESS of a filter! Leave your comments below and let’s start a conversation!
Thanks for reading, subscribing, and helping us all have a better youth baseball experience.
Kevin Burke is a dad and coach, having coached baseball at all ages tee ball through varsity high school over the last 18 years . He currently coaches his younger son’s 9U “travel” team, Tennessee Prime, based out of Chattanooga, TN.