Story Of The North Ryde U9s (White)
Why limit a player’s development by the ability of the coach?
In early November the North Ryde U9s (White), coached by Wayne Trattles, were a team looking for their first win. Not only were they sitting in last place looking for their first win of the season but they also had never won a game in nearly two seasons. Wayne, scratching his head and looking for answers on how he can improve his team sought the advice and coaching of Diamond Dreams Baseball & Softball Instruction. Together Wayne and the Diamond Dreams coaching staff laid out a plan of action. Wayne would develop the defensive skills while Diamond Dream would address the offensive needs of the team.
On a weekly basis the team would come together to learn how to hit. Players were no longer allowed to refer to themselves as “batters” but rather “hitters.” For those of you wondering, yes there is a big difference. Each player was able to work on their specific individual needs over the next few weeks would learn major keys to their own swing. Even at this young age, kids have the ability to develop mental and physical skills with repetition and functional training. The positive results were immediate. After just one hitting session, the team won their first game the very next weekend. Could that have been a fluke? Possibly! But the team then went on to win every single game for the rest of the season as they headed into the grand final.
On grand final weekend, this team had come all the way from last place and now in a position to win it all. Win or lose, the season was obviously a major success for the team, largely because their Coach had the foresight and courage to ask for professional help as his players clearly needed it.
Coaching Points Adopted by Wayne
Length of practice
Any less than 2 hours per week is essentially useless. 2 hours of efficient practice is a good starting point. Kids like doing anything that they are good at. Help them improve their skills and watch as their enthusiasm for the game increase.
Limit player rotation
We see little benefit of constantly rotating players through all the positions on a continual basis. This only hinders the player and creates lineup causes chaos for coach.
Ask for help
Know when you need expert help. Adding quality coaches helps everyone. Expert coaches are experts for a reason. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Don’t be confined to the limits of your current level of knowledge.
If you don’t have a good pre-game and post-game routine, make one! Kids need routines. They have them at school, at home, and almost every facet of life. Adding routines to your warm-up, in game, and post-game activities gives the players structure. A good solid routine is basically like putting the players on autopilot.
No training on game-day
Game day is too late to be training. Giving players instruction as a coach during and even before the game is counter-productive. If something has not been learned then, as a coach, you are wasting your breath. Save all instruction for practice. Strategy is different to instruction!
Parents are not coaches
As a parent, if feel you need to provide coaching to your child, put your hand up to coach the team. It is both disrespectful to the coach and distracting to the player to jump in with comments and opinions.
Fun, fun, fun
Baseball in and of itself is a fun game. It has everything you could ever ask for in a game. The game has been traced back to the 18th century and certainly does not need us changing it in order to make it fun. Adding mindless activities to an U9 practice adds nothing. If a player needs to play a game unrelated to baseball at practice in order to have fun, well then maybe they need to be playing that game and not baseball. So coaches, teach your players about the game. Guide them on a path to success and remember success in the game is fun.
If you can include some or all of the above mentioned coaching points will be a great start to setting your team on a course for success.