The more I watch youth sports, the more I think coaches try and control the game too much. From the number system to calling every single pitch, coaches seem to need control over every aspect of the game.
What does the coach making all the decisions teach our players? I’ll tell you…it teaches them to obey a command instead of teaching THEM how to play the game! We wonder why players have low baseball IQs these days…this is why!
They are being told exactly what to do and when to do it, rather then being show the WHY behind the decisions. Why is this a good count to run on? What should the bunt defense be in this situation? What pitch should I throw 0-1? None of this is learned from an ultra-controlling coach.
I am convinced it stems from prioritizing “winning” over development. I would hope that most coaches can “outsmart” a 12u team by calling the right bunt play or picking up a tendency from the pitcher that allows them to steal with a high rate of success.
But to me, that isn’t the point of all this…it’s not to win at all costs. The point is to teach our players how to pick up those things up on their own and learn the naunces of game! The only way to do that is by allowing them to make decisions in games and constantly talk with them about the strategy behind those decisions, both in practice and in games.
You will be shocked at how quickly players can pick up these things and how much more involved in the game they become. They just need to be taught what to look for and encouraged to take ownership of their own game.
Most importantly, we need to be patient and not have the “win at all costs” mindset. Think long term development. Not short term “success”. Create baseball players with high IQs by giving them freedom to play the game and make mistakes. It will pay off in the long term. Be obsessed.
Director of Teams
Maplezone Sports Institute