By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck and SAFE Baseball
When coaching youngsters, I institute three rules from Day One. 1) No kids pick up a bat, or, for that matter, even touch one, until they are handed one by a coach. That’s an absolute. 2) Never swing a bat without looking around first to make sure the coast is clear. 3) When we’re up to bat, no one gets up off the bench unless it’s their turn to hit. (Some organizations allow for an “on deck hitter.” As long as the “on deck” area is clearly defined, safely away from the dugout and the plate, this is OK if your league rules allow. There is never an “on deck” batter allowed at any level of Little League). I’ll make them repeat the rules to me to ensure that they understand all three. Yet as you know, sometimes, kids don’t listen or remember really well. Safety is one issue where I can justify having a coach raise his voice to young players because, (assuming he’s not yelling the entire season), it makes an impression. (I’m not saying you have to reduce the kid to tears, but I’ve been around some coaches who are seemingly so hesitant to speak up and make firm corrections that the kids don’t even know they’re running the team). So if you see a kid doing something that endangers others, it is OK to get his attention verbally. All of this information and more can be taught to your coaches in an online course at www.SAFEBaseball.com.