The one thing most parents will get roped into doing at one point or another is coaching their children’s sports team. This could be football, squash or even dodgeball, but it’s likely to happen at any point during their kid’s lives. It’s a great chance to provide youngsters with a healthy, competitive way to engage with their friends, so don’t hesitate to jump on board.
But exactly how do you go about things? Baseball is among the most popular sports in the world, so there’s a good shot your kids will be interested in it. If you decide to start your own youth baseball team or simply run a pre-existing one, you may be stuck for options. Well, look no further! This is the ultimate dad’s guide to starting their kid’s baseball team. Good luck!
Firstly, choose a team name and team colors
Every team needs to stand out, no matter their level of competition. Whether you plan on entering a league, or simply playing casually, you need to ensure your kit won’t clash too much with another one. Make it stand out! There are dozens of vendors up and down the country that can provide you with professional looking kits, so your options are many.
Gather some safe, suitable equipment
If there’s one thing kids aren’t, at times, it’s careful. So, you’ll want to make sure that the tools of the trade are suitable for youngsters, but still functional. In terms of bats, big barrel youth bats are usually used by younger players, so start with these. These bats can also make the game more fun for the children as they’ll have an easier time hitting the ball.
Next, you’ll want to invest in a couple of helmets to protect those most at risk from getting hit. There are literally hundreds of options to choose from here, but it only comes down to one thing. Finding a secure, solid helmet that fits a kids head properly. It’s not rocket science!!
No matter what equipment you choose, if you plan to enter a league, be sure it falls in line with the regulations of that particular league. You should talk with the league officials before purchasing, to check what the rules are. There’s no point in buying blind, else you may end up with a ton of stuff you can’t use.
Consult with other youth team coaches for advice
Before you’re all ready to go, take a minute to talk with somebody a little more experience. If this is your first time coaching a children’s youth team, whatever the sport, you could be in for a difficult ride. Talk with your friends who have done it in the past, to glean those useful nuggets of advice. Go and watch some local baseball games and consult the manager afterward. There will always be something you don’t know, or something you missed. Unless you’ve been coaching youth baseball before, it may prove difficult!
Speaking of watching local baseball games, you should be doing this anyway. It can give you a bit more of a feel of how children play, and the level of competition they bring. Even if you don’t plan on entering a league, your team can still foster rival relationships with other local clubs. So try and glean how best to promote this rivalry in a friendly, albeit competitive, fashion. Healthy competition is great for a child’s mindset, because it allows them to have a positive goal to focus on.
Run tryouts and gather a full roster
No team is complete without enough members, so set about finding some. Whether they’re friends of your kids or complete strangers, select children that all get along and will bring a level of commitment to the team. Yes, they’re young, and the primary focus is on having fun, but there needs to be a standard of dedication that the whole team upholds.
If you’re unsure as to how to run tryouts, there are a number of online resources that can help you. Essentially, you want to test all areas of playing ability in one session. Run fielding drills, batting drills and pitching drills to get a sense of all-round ability.
If you don’t want to run tryouts and you just want your kid’s friends to join, this is fine too. It’s no secret that children feel more comfortable when surrounded by their classmates and friends, so use this to your advantage. If they’re more relaxed, it’s likely to make your coaching job slightly easier. Or, if you want to go one step further, why not have your other children join the team? Baseball is a great way to involve the whole family in fitness, and can also make your job just a little bit more stress-free.
Gather contact details and establish payment fees
The reality of the situation is, nothing in life is free. Except maybe air. And even that sometimes carries a price tag. The point is, all those kits you forked out for, all those bats and helmets, they cost money. So don’t be afraid to ask the parents of your players for reimbursement. Most sports teams charge nothing for the first training session, then set an extremely low price for each session thereafter. Only two or three dollars, nothing expensive. This allows you to cover your base costs, and ensures that your non-profit operation won’t be costing you too much.
Additionally, you’ll want to gather all parents contact details. Of course, accidents and emergencies do happen, so it’s important to know exactly where you’re going to be calling. Make sure you note these down either on your phone or on a separate piece of paper. It’s a good idea to make a backup too, just in case.
So, there you have it! That was your ultimate guide to creating and running a youth baseball team. Your kids dragged you into it, but it doesn’t have to feel like a chore. As with any sport, as long as everyone remains safe and has fun, you have absolutely done your job.