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Understand that your job as the coach is to guide, but it is your player’s job to lead. You can’t force them to care or force them to play better, but you can support them and nurture their confidence. Coaches who care too much about winning lose sight of the real reason we coach, development. Always take a step back and view the bigger picture. Distance yourself from the game and remember this is not your team, it’s theirs. If you stress out about W’s & L’s your players will too. If you care about the individuals you will free them up to be able to play their best for each other, not for you.
Baseball is a game of mistakes
Never criticize players who fail while trying their best. We see so often that coaches will yell from the dugout things like “get in front of the ball!” or “hit your cut off man!”. Don’t be the 90 foot coach; the guy who coaches from across the diamond via yelling and hostility. If a player messes up, pull them aside after the inning ends and talk about it like adults. “By not hitting your cutoff the trail runner advanced an extra base and we lost the double play ability.” Explain why the player messed up, and the importance of doing it differently the next time, and I promise they will respect you and internalize the concept way more than if you huddled the team together and chewed the player out. No one likes to be made an example of, especially when they were trying their hardest and just had a mental lapse. Mistakes are teaching moments. So what if a guy got doubled up on a line drive to second base to end the game? How can we all learn from it, like adults, and not make the same mistake twice?
Umpires are human
There is absolutely no reason that a High School and below level coach should be yelling at an umpire over a bad call. No singular call will ever be important enough that you should lose your head and verbally abuse a grown man in front of kids. All your griping and complaining does is allow the umpire to become an excuse for failure. “We should have won but the umpire screwed us.” is such a boring, outdated take. Keep the focus constantly on the next pitch and the next play. Next time a kid gets a bad strike 2 call on him watch how his body language slumps and carries into the next pitch. We all do it as players, it’s your job as the coach to refocus your players after a bad call, not to draw more attention to it.