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Monday, May 23, 2011

Baseball Coaching and the Importance of Goals For Team and Player Motivation

Baseball Coaching and the Importance of Goals For Team and Player Motivation
By guest author: Nick Dixon

There are very few volunteer jobs more challenging, time-consuming or rewarding than being a coach in your local league. There are many four letter words used by coaches that I can not use here. Here I want to discuss the 4 four-letter words that can and will determine the amount of success a coach has during the coming season. The four words are Goal, Plan, Work and Time.

Today the four letter word is G-O-A-L:

The Definition of the word Goal is a simple goal can do wonders to drive a baseball toward success. When you set a goal or goals, you accept the challenge to achieve the goal set. With that challenge comes a commitment and responsibility. Setting goals can improve the focus of the team, bring members and staff closer, and unite the groups in a common cause.

If you have a goal or goals to work for, your season will be like a journey to no where. You must set team goals. The setting of goals should be a team effort. It is suggested that team goals be set during a team function, away from the field. Have a team swim party, cookout, and party soon after the draft. Let the parents and players meet each other and the staff. Then let the players suggest what team goals they see as important for the approaching season. The goals should be set before a single practice or workout. The goals should be written down. It is always a great idea to make each player a printed list of the goals. Take a picture at that first team meeting. Use office publisher to make a sheet having the team name, logo, picture, team roster and the list of the team goals. You may also want to put a team motto on the bottom of the sheet.

The players should post the "Team Goal Sheet" in their bedroom. It is also recommended that a few team rules be included on that sheet.

It is suggested that you often mention your team goals during team practices and games. Use the team goals to motivate your players to focus on the practice activity being done at the present time.

It is always a great idea to have a post season meeting to discuss and review the team goal sheet with the team goals that the team set before the season began. You will briefly discuss the goals not met and why your team came up short on them. You will not single out players, plays, or games. You will briefly mention that if you had worked harder, these goals may have been reached.

In this post season meeting you will mostly discuss the great things done and the goals set and met. You should tell the team how proud you are for the team accomplishments. You may also discuss the hard work and great performance level that led to the achieving of these goals.

You may want to give the players a second Team Sheet with the goals achieved, team record, team photo, roster, and maybe a quote or motto you want them to remember in the off-season.

Suggested team goals:

Win the League Championship
Go Undefeated
Score at least 7 runs each game.
Hold the opponent to 3 runs or less each game
Have a team batting average of .375 or better.
Have perfect attendance at every practice.

Suggested team rules:

Never throw an object in disgust.
Never walk on the field.
Never be late for practice.
Answer the coach with a Yes, Sir or No Sir
Never question an umpires call.
Never sit or lay down on the field during timeouts.
Properly warm-up before every practice and game.

Suggested Team Slogans:

Expect to WORK...Expect to WIN!
A Season with a Reason
There is no I in TEAM
Work More, Win More
Work Like a Champion

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baseball Batting Tips for Coaches - How to Improve Your Players' Swings

Baseball Batting Tips for Coaches - How to Improve Your Players' Swings
By guest author: John B. Miller

Many baseball batting coaches claim to have "mastered" the art of the baseball swing. I do not claim to be a "know all" baseball coach or expert. I coach a local little league team and I would like to share four simple batting tips that have helped my team.

Tip 1. Coach your players to shorten up their swing. A compact swing is desired because it focuses and directs all of the swing's power into the ball. By shortening up the swing, it does not give the player time to waste on a long swooping swing that disperses all of the swing's power before hitting the ball.

Tip 2. Instruct your players to swing slightly up. It is important to swing slightly up because the pitcher's mound is raised above the batter's box. A perfectly level swing will actually cause the batter to hit a ground ball at best. By instructing your players to swing in a slight upward motion, beautiful line drivers are ensured to follow. Warning: make sure your players do not over exaggerate the swinging up motion. This will result in fly balls which will easily be caught and discourage your players.

Tip 3. Make solid contact with the ball! It may be difficult for your players to feel the proper sensation of solidly hitting a ball with an aluminum bat. For this reason I would recommend having a few practices using wooden bats. The use of wooden bats will allow your players to feel the proper sensation of a solidly hit ball. Once they learn this feeling, transition your players back to aluminum bats, and tell your players to try to emulate the same feeling they had when using the wooden bats.

Tip 4. Lastly, consistency is king! Once you coach your players proper swing technique and form, you must coach consistency. This is the most important step! A technically sound swing may take months or even years to achieve. This hard work can be for nothing if your players cannot learn to swing with proper form in a consistent manner. It is important that you first strip your players of the years of bad habits and poor technique before drilling in consistency. You don't want your players repeating bad habits! Once correct form and technique is coached, drill in consistency!

Follow these four simple batting tips and you should see an improvement in your players' swings.

John is a little league baseball coach who works with players between the ages of 11 and 13.
In just a few short seasons as a coach, John was able take his previously winless team to a recreational baseball league championship. He writes about the baseball drills his team works on

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