WYC 021 Youth Baseball – Jason Larocque from ‘Winwithinbaseball.com’ – talks Culture, and Avoiding the Worst Case Scenario

jason pic 2What does it take to be a winning youth coach? Listen in as Jason Larocque shares coaching stories and discusses his journey to becoming a successful youth coach.

Jason is a Middle School Director at St. Johns Prep in Massachusetts. Jason is a lifetime baseball player, including 4 years at Harvard, where he was captain his Senior year. He has also been actively involved in training and coaching youth through Winwithinbaseball.com. He is married and to a wife who coaches Division 1 Field Hockey.

Twitter: @CoachWonk

Website: winwithinbaseball.com

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Coaching/Leadership Quote

▪   ‘It’s hard to make policy in the middle of the season.’

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My ‘Cringe’ Moment

▪   ‘My first year I thought I had to fix everybody’ – Sometimes you just need to encourage players and let them struggle a little bit before you offer advice. Also often times kids have unique motions and you need to evaluate whether it’s a problem that needs fixed

Teaching Children & Keeping it Fun

▪   Be relaxed – Avoid phrases like ‘Try harder’ or ‘Run faster’ – these commands often tighten up a player’s muscles and stiffens them instead of loosening them up
▪   Teach the kids to watch what great looks like. Go to a high school game and show them what to watch for in the good players
▪   To keep a fast-paced practice – use a throw-back – can have 5 kids on each side so they are practicing throwing, fielding, then have a net for them to throw into
▪   If you don’t have parents available to help coach – talk to the high school and see if you can get 1 or 2 varsity players to help you coach.

Best Stolen Idea

▪   HUGE IDEA #1 The Worst Case Scenario – Have a few unbreakable rules – so the kids are clear on what is never allowed
▪   Bill Bellichick – Put 6 hours of preparation into a 1 hour practice

Coaching Resources

▪   Gamechanger.io – App that does baseball scoring and stats. Parents can watch game on gametracker

▪   Coaches’ Choice – DVDs to show skills

Discipline

▪   HUGE IDEA #2 Before you talk about discipline – you have to set up the culture- and you cannot bend on what you set up as the culture. Players’ shirts always tucked in; hats always worn forward; equipment always carried by kids not parents; kids always thank parents when dropped off,etc. ‘It’s hard to make policy in the middle of the season.’

▪   Have a discussion with the team before disciplining the whole team for an infraction. Visually show them your expectation.

Reward and Recognition

▪   Don’t keep stats at the youth level! Most of the time keeping stats will teach the wrong behavior.

▪   Idea: Print T-Shirts: Print shirts and number them – Win 1, Win 2, etc – and whoever was the best teammate during the game/week – earns the shirt after a win.

▪   Instead of coach giving recap after a game- have the kids commend their teammates

Inspiring Story

▪   You have to show your players you care about them beyond their ‘use’ as an athlete. Sometimes call a player at home if they had a rough game.

The One that Got Away

▪   In championship game against rival – 2x in 2 innings – his star pitcher balked with runner on 3rd. Sometimes that stuff just happens.

▪   Other team had gimmicky play to fake out his team and get 3rd out. It’s bad coaching – but prepare your team for other coaches to do it.

Coaching/Leadership Motivation

▪   Book: ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink – how to motivate people

▪   Book: ‘Talent is Over-rated’ by Geoffrey Colvin

▪   Book: ‘The Talent Code’ by Daniel Coyle

Parting Advice

▪   Don’t try to re-invent the wheel, but you have to inflate the tires.

▪   Be prepared- take the time to be ready for practice. Then relax and enjoy the time with the kids.

Interview Links / Promotional Partners

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