How to Coach Youth Baseball: Book Review

As anyone who has been to this site or my truck knows, I am a youth baseball coach. I've published articles on my baseball coaching and league website admin experiences here as well as a paper I wrote for one of the Master's Degree classes I took last fall. There will undoubtedly be many Little League stories in the coming months as our tryouts are March 31 and practice begins April 4. Coaching a Little League team is an all consuming task if the coach takes it seriously and I do.

Apparently an author (with incredible good taste) named Beverly Carroll noticed my passion for coaching Little League and asked if I'd give her book a read. I received the book, How to Coach Youth Baseball, in the mail on Monday March 19 while in the midst of preparing schedules for our league, setting practice plans for my team, preparing for our annual Little League Auction and praying all this snow will go away before our tryouts! Since the weather is looking grim, I'll be able to read it quickly :o(

It is written in a very simple, easy to understand style. The author makes no assumptions that the reader knows anything about baseball (who really does) which may frustrate more experienced coaches, but overall the style does not distract from the content.

The book is divided into sections that address fundamental drills for each baseball discipline. It's chock full of drills and practice ideas. The drills are explained in detail and many have accompanying photographs to illustrate the proper execution. Incorporating lots of repetition with fundamental drills while varying the activities and keeping the kids engaged is tantamount to the success of any youth baseball squad and the drills outlined in this book will help a coach accomplish this. I was surprised and delighted to find many drills I use in my own practices described. I also got some good, new practice ideas which to me is the measuring stick for a good coaching book or lecture: "did I learn something new?" If I did, I consider the book or lecture a worthwhile endeavor! All the skills need to be covered and taught in practices, so having several different exercises for each fundamental is important. You'll probably find you don't have the time to do all the drills in the book in your practices, but it sure is nice to have something new up your sleeve if you do have some extra practice time.

The practice outlines in the book are invaluable, particularly to a new or less experienced baseball coach. Having a plan for practice is important- I like to set up 6 or 7 stations at my practices and rotate the kids through each station in pairs every 5-10 minutes. This keeps each kid engaged and actively working on skills and fundamentals for over an hour of each practice. The drills in How to Coach Youth Baseball are very well suited to this sort of practice organization.

There are things I do at my practices that are not in this book (maybe I'll write my own...), but there are more than enough fundamental drills to fill any team's practice season. I had one problem with the book-they actually cover throwing a curve ball! Kids should NOT throw curve balls until their teens and coaches who need to read this book shouldn't be teaching them to throw it!

I've read many books, attended many lectures and coach's clinics and searched for hours online to help me be a better coach and to help me make my practices productive and educational for my players. When I think back to that first tee ball team I "coached" years ago, I wish I had How to Coach Youth Baseball then.

If there is one book a coach, particularly a new baseball coach, should read, this is it. The season starts soon, get your copy today!

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1 comment:

stratz said...

Hey there mr. hotdog man, Your review is up in its category on www.ourblogreview.com amd should be featured on the main page within a week.

Love this one.

Greg

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