Getting Kids to Practice on Time
By Marty Schupak
As the season starts, we want to get off to a good start with our team and what is expected of them. Of course, youth baseball is unlike a school team sport and you cannot force a player to practice or even force them to be on time. However, there are certain things you can do as a coach to ensure your team develops good habits.
My own personal pet peeve was having the players arrive late for practices. My practices usually run no longer than one hour, and if a player is fifteen minutes late he misses a full quarter of a practice. I have tried a number different tactics.
The first one is, I give each player a number as they arrive at practice and they keep that number throughout the practice. Whoever arrives first is number one and when it comes to batting practice he or she goes first. The players remember this and after a couple of practices, you will notice the difference with players arriving early to get a good number.
Another technique I use is to start practice with a mini batting practice even before warm ups. After you do this a few times, you’ll notice the players arriving early and telling you that they go first. Do not do this technique every practice, but every once in a while.
Practices, especially early in the season, will set the tone for a successful and fun season.The kids take notice when the coach arrives early and organized. Use these two techniques to get your players to arrive on time.
Marty Schupak is an active member of the American Baseball Coaches Association. He founded the Youth Sports Club, which is devoted solely to the improvement of youth sports, and his instructional videos on youth baseball are recommended by the National Alliance of Youth Sports, the largest amateur coaching training organization in the country. Schupak has a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Arizona State University and his youth baseball teams have won championships year after year.