So you have either been asked or you have volunteered to coach your child’s tee-ball team. The first thing to remember is that you are coaching a group of very young players who may be having their first exposure to any type of organized sport. Chances are, their parents have signed them up with the hope that they would like the sport and make some new friends along the way.
As the coach, and possibly a first-time coach, you won’t be judged on wins or losses. In fact, scores are rarely kept. What you will be judged on is introducing the game of tee ball to the kids in a way that is fun and with the hope that they’ll learn a little about the game. Here some tips that can get you on your way to having a positive impact on the players and their parents.
Whether it’s tee ball or any other level or sport, a coach needs to be organized. That means everything from how you communicate with the parents to how you run the practices and the games. One thing you can be sure of is that you’ll need to communicate effectively with the parents, and especially the kids, in order to keep their attention. Being organized and having a plan will put you on the right path.
Practice the Basics
For players at tee-ball age, you really want to make sure they try to learn the basics. That would be hitting, catching, throwing and running. Hitting drills should include setting up tees and having players get in the correct stance and hit balls into the backstop.
Baserunning is an important part of baseball, especially at the younger ages. No one wants to see a player make an out because he didn’t understand how to run the bases. And baserunning is a fun way to get the kids warmed up and excited at practice. Here are some baserunning drills to add to your practices:
For catching and throwing, pair players up and have them play a game of catch. Have your helpers watch them and provide tips on proper throwing and catching skills. And for base running, practice having them run from one base to the next, to the next so they learn the proper way around the diamond. The Smush Balls from MVS are a safe way to get tee ball players confident and have them feel safe
Get Everyone Involved
Every player wants to play pitcher and first base and no one wants to sit on the bench. While coaching tee ball has been compared to herding cats if you stay organized your tee ball team can run very smoothly. Use our baseball lineup rotation template to make sure every kid gets to play an equal amount of time and try all the different positions.
Make it Fun
Above all else, tee ball needs to be a fun experience. If you don’t make it fun, it won’t take long for most of the kids to realize that it’s probably an experience they would rather not do. Try to incorporate a few fun drills that players can do when you get together for practices.
Baseball Zone has some really fun baseball drills and games for you to add more fun to your practices.
Get Some Helpers
Another thing you’ll learn quickly is that it will be hard to work with the team without some helpers. At practices and at games, help is needed to keep things moving and make sure fielders are positioned properly and know where to throw the ball. Parents or grandparents are usually willing to help if asked.
Always Be Positive
This is a big one. At this age, kids can sometimes be unsure about another adult telling them what to do. As a coach, you need to work with them on how to hit, field and throw the ball, but you need to do so in a way that is positive.
A tee ball coach should never show that he is upset at a player or the team. You should constantly encourage them and root them on no matter how well they do. A coach should also encourage his assistants to do the same.
Show Good Sportsmanship
Believe it or not, a tee ball coach is an early role model for kids in how to show good sportsmanship. This is a chance for the young players to learn that although they are competing against another team, they need to show them respect and always shake hands at the end of each game. Learn more in our article about baseball sportsmanship:
Always Keep Teaching
Tee ball will be one of the first times the kids will learn some of the basics of the game. Things like how to hold the bat, where to stand on the field and which way is the next base. And you can be sure that even though you may have told them multiple times, you may have to tell them again. This should never cause you to show frustration, just that it’s a continued teaching moment.
Practicing Baseball Skills Away From Practice
A lot of parents are interested in helping their player work on baseball skills at home but don’t know where to start. We have an article that addresses just that:
Know the Rules of Baseball
A solid understanding of the rules will really help coaches teach the game of baseball and improve your confidence. This article about the rules of baseball will help:
Coaching tee ball, above all else, needs to be fun for you, the players and the family. Make that your goal and you won’t go wrong.