008: Team Practices are for Team Activities

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Happy Tuesday, and happy Election Day! I will not discuss politics except to say, go vote! And no matter who wins the election, we’ll continue to play youth baseball, and I’ll continue to do Elbow Up!

Before I get into this week’s topic, I wanted to clarify something from last week. If you missed it, you can go back and listen here. I talked about not coaching mechanics during games.

I got more push back last week from parents than I have with any other topic so far. Push back isn’t necessarily bad, but let me clarify.

I’m not saying you should never mention mechanics in a game. There are small things or simple cues that you can mention during a game in some situations and depending on the skill level and ability of the child/player.

You’ll treat this different if you coach a more advanced 15U team than you would a 9U team.

The point is to let them play. Focus on playing the game, the situations, how they react. Video and take notes so you’ll remember and can show them later. Use individual practice time to work on mechanics.

Now, this week’s episode may seem to be geared towards coaches, but it’s just as important for parents to hear. In fact, developing your child into a better baseball player is a partnership.

I encourage you to listen for the full details, and here’s a few of the things I hit on:

  • Quick clarification of last week

  • Disagreeing with me is not bad

  • We don’t practice enough

  • We need team practice to practice ‘team things’

  • Individual practice doesn’t really happen at team practice (for most)

  • Coaches need to schedule planned team practices

  • Coaches should partner with parents, set expectations, and encourage work at home and on the side

  • Parents also need to understand and have realistic expectations

  • Keep listening to and reading Elbow Up for how to help get this done

  • Become a premium subscriber for even more help!

  • Obviously there are exceptions, but this is all accurate for more than 90% of 12U and younger teams unless you have a very large coaching staff, a lot of time, and many practices

I loved all the feedback from last week. Hit reply to this email, click through to leave a comment, or look me up on Twitter or Facebook to let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading and listening! Have a great Tuesday!

About Kevin

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 11U “travel” team, Tennessee Prime, based out of Chattanooga, TN.

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