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How to be a fun and engaging Little League® coach

little-league-coach

With Spring fast approaching, it’s time to start preparing your team for a successful season.

What learnings can you apply from last year? What should you be looking to improve on? What tools and practices did you use last year that saved you time and made your life easier?

Because Little League® utilizes a volunteer system, most coaches have full-time jobs in addition to their coaching responsibilities. From scheduling practice, to hosting team gatherings, planning drills and activities and helping the team improve as the season progresses (all while having fun!), coaching a Little League® team can seem like a full-time job. GameChanger is here to help make sure you’re prepared.

One of the toughest challenges coaches face every year is time management. As a coach, you’re responsible for recording pitch counts and playing time, team and player stats, all while emphasizing sportsmanship and the fundamentals. Playing baseball and softball is fun, but as a coach, it can be stressful at times.

Thankfully, it’s 2015, and advancements in technology make it easy (and free!) to track all of this information. Getting your team set up with GameChanger is the first step—it only takes five minutes! If you find yourself stuck at any point, we highly recommend checking out our rich library of video tutorials so you can learn the basics of scoring on the app before the season starts, here: training.gc.com/littleleague.

GameChanger is the simplest way to track every stat, from the traditional (Batting Average & Hits) to the advanced (Slugging Percentage & First Pitch Strike Percentage). You keep score, we do the math. Little League® rules mandate minimum levels of playing time and set limits on pitch counts for players. With GameChanger you’ll have this information at your fingertips to ensure an inclusive environment while reducing injury risk for every child.

While this kind of technology might seem over-the-top for a Little League® team, we’ve made these tools incredibly intuitive, with a big emphasis placed on simplicity and is helpful in following Little League® rules and policies

Beyond the Game: value-driven coaching with success-driven metrics

Coaching Little League® baseball and softball is one of the best opportunities to help foster a good value system for kids. One of the most challenging aspects in any youth sport is keeping players interested for long enough to have a substantial positive impact on their lives. With this responsibility—and the equally important consideration of the kids’ emotional well-being—how do you effectively identify points of improvement, and design a practice plan for the team designed to enhance engagement and understanding of the game while maintaining a fun environment?

Imagine having player-focused developmental stats for every player from every game. Just posing that scenario can start your mind churning at a mile a minute on how to design a better practice. Imagine running drills that target particular areas of improvement, such as throwing more First Pitch Strikes or improving Quality At-Bats.

Another key to incorporating the benefits of stat tracking into practice planning is being able to identify areas of improvement regardless of individual ability levels, and to positively reinforce it. Praising success will increase engagement, but is merely a subjective goal until you set a standard for improvement and can measure objectively against that standard. Your players can and will appreciate clear communication on goals and priorities, especially if they know the definition of success for a specific drill or routine, and can work towards that goal.

When trying to decide on how you will measure success in a drill, practice, exercise or game, it’s important to understand the difference between processes and results-driven metrics. Decide on a core set of metrics to measure development and start thinking about how you would design/use drills to improve those skills.

Our advice: clearly communicate goals to your players, implement drills to improve development, and measure and praise success. You’ll not only make the team better, but you’ll show those players that hard work pays off, and that’s a life lesson that goes well beyond baseball and softball.

Set up your Little League® team today: training.gc.com/littleleague.

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