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Tips for Selecting and Organizing a Coaching Staff

As youth athletes progress to higher levels of competition, there is often a larger pool of available coaches to potentially lead those teams. But putting coaches together on a staff is hardly a simple process.
In some organizations, all-star teams are selected from the teams that make up local leagues during the course of the regular season. The coaches of those local teams become options to coach the all-star teams.

Travel teams may evolve from an even wider area.          

The nature of youth sports makes it a necessity that parents make up a significant share of the coaching pool, but priorities change as teams are constructed for higher levels.        

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In more than a quarter century of coaching baseball, Chuck Youngman from Dallas, Pennsylvania has coached from the youth to the college levels, serving as a manager (or head coach) and as an assistant.          

Youngman suggests being selective when putting together a staff to take teams made up of top players on the path toward higher competition.        

“Coaches have to be on the same page,” said Youngman, who started this summer as the manager of the Back Mountain National Little League all-star team, and will end it as manager of the Northeast Riverdawgs 12U travel team. “You see two different types of coaches — guys who are there to coach their team and guys who are there to coach their kid.          

“You all have to be able to buy into the same philosophy.”

In the Back Mountain Little League, the board of directors selects the all-star managers for each level, and those managers then put together their own coaching staffs. Youngman was in the position to be selected as an assistant coach last season and then found himself assigned, as manager, to select a staff this season.           

The veteran coach says it helps to consider the selection process like a job interview. He knew potential coaches from working with and against them within the Back Mountain Little League through the years, but also tried to make sure to have conversations with the prospective coaches.        

“Our job is making the kids better,” he said. “When picking assistants, it’s like an interview.            

“You see if they have the mindset you want running the team with you.” 

Instead of finding enough qualified and available coaches to operate all the teams, as can be the case on the local level, higher-level teams have the chance to build an actual “staff” of coaches.          

Youngman said he likes to make sure duties are split up from pure baseball issues like who will coach the bases, make the lineup adjustments, and manage what is happening in the dugout to administrative tasks like planning the team’s travel arrangements and handling scorekeeping.        

If the team practices often, the extra coaches can help in that process. Youngman seeks to avoid the potential problem of too much time standing around at a practice.   

“We want to be creative,” Youngman said. “We try to constantly keep the kids moving.”

From GameChanger and Tom Robinson.