Photo Credit by www.youth1.com
One of the greatest privileges you can have is being a coach in youth baseball. You are helping children not only become better baseball players, but you are teaching them about teamwork and hard work. Those examples will stay with them for the rest of their life.
In youth baseball, nearly everyone wants to be the pitcher. The pitcher is the focal point on the field and they tend to get to do the most of any player apart from the catcher. It can feel great for a player when they strike out batters, and that is a huge boost to their confidence. In many ways, it is very rewarding to be a pitcher, but it can also be humbling. When you start losing a game, or you can’t strike out players, it can be tough and your players will feel that.
For some players, being taken out of a game can feel like they were screamed at by you in front of everyone.
In the early years, pitchers are going to be learning more about just getting the ball over the plate but as they move through youth baseball, they will begin learning about the variety of pitches and how to strike a better out.
The sooner you begin working with a pitcher to learn how to change the speed and location of a pitch, the sooner they will become a better pitcher. In your role as a coach, you need to be able to present options to your pitchers in regards to throwing motions. First, stress balance with your pitchers, then move on to arm position, rotation of the hips and more. You can begin teaching the follow-through, and everything else as you go.
For pitches, begin teaching the pitchers about the change-up first. Many coaches teach the breaking ball first, but this can do long-term damage to a young pitcher’s arm if not done right. In addition, teach your pitchers about warming up for half-an-hour before pitching. If you don’t start teaching them that at a young age, they are not going to be in the habit and they can seriously injure themselves later in their youth baseball career.
As a coach, your first responsibility is player safety, and that includes the pitcher’s arm. You should not teach your pitchers to only throw fast and overextend themselves. You should teach them about location, and getting the ball where the batter will go for it and miss. That way, the pitch count is lower, the pitcher has a healthy arm and everyone has a fun time on the field.