October 8, 2014
What 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.
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▪ ‘It’s hard to make policy in the middle of the season.’
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
▪ Gamechanger.io – App that does baseball scoring and stats. Parents can watch game on gametracker
▪ Coaches’ Choice – DVDs to show skills
▪ 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
▪ 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.
▪ Book: ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink – how to motivate people
▪ Book: ‘Talent is Over-rated’ by Geoffrey Colvin
▪ Book: ‘The Talent Code’ by Daniel Coyle
▪ 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.
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