Congratulations on volunteering to coach. Each League conducts their affairs a bit differently, but generally speaking here is what will be involved.
· Your first order of business is to contact the players and introduce yourself and arrange a first meeting/practice. There you can hand out the caps + jerseys (if you have already received from the League). Baseball pants, belts & sox are to be purchased by parents. Grey baseball pants are recommended as they don't share the wear/dirt like white pants and they aren't as hot as black and they go with most colours. Shorts are forbidden at games (but may be used at practices where sliding won't be involved). Players must have protective cups + batting helmets.
· Usually team baseball equipment bags are provided by the League.
· The equipment provided will include bats, catcher’s equipment, game & practice balls, first-aid kit.
· For levels where umpires are used (usually Minor and up), home team will need to bring the umpire bag. At the lower levels, the umpire is often a designated parent by the home team.
· Read the League rules – receive them from the League President or go to the District website.
Meeting the team & parents:
· Your success will often be a result of getting parent volunteers to help-out. You will need the following:
Team Manager: acts as the point of contact with parents / send out notifications (eg. Games to be rescheduled due to weather).
Parent Pitchers (this applies to coach-pitch): they will pitch to your own team during games. It’s best to have 2-3 parents identified who can help pitch. They do not need to be a coach.
Score-keeper: will write down the batting line-up for both teams at game time and keep score. Both teams have to do this (not just one team).
· Don't forget to confirm contact information of all players. Sometimes things get missed at registration.
Prior to game:
· Establish a batting lineup (a simple option: pick a batting lineup and stick with it throughout the regular season).
· Set a baseball lineup (you must rotate players).
For coach-pitch, there is a maximum of 10 players on the field (includes ‘rover’ + ‘pitcher’s helper’)
Free tool to set line-ups: http://freebaseballlineups.com/lineups.html
All players should play be given an opportunity to try every position over the course of the season. At the lower levels, as coach you reserve the right to limit who plays first base + pitcher’s helper (for safety considerations). Note: pitcher’s helper must wear a batting helmet and catchers must have a jock/jill.
Remember to keep close track of the weather on game-day (in case of potential rainouts - you will need to contact players).
At the game:
· Exchange batting line-up with other team (have your score-keeper do this).
· If you are home team, you must set-up the bases. Some levels will require you to hammer in the bases – there are markers painted in white on the fences to spot where they need to go. Other levels will have the break away bases that will need to be installed.
· As home team, you must provide a ‘game ball’ supplied to you.
· For coach-pitch, as home team, you need a parent from your team to count balls & strikes for both teams. For the older levels,beginning in 2011 home teams will have to provide a Game coordinator if no adult umpires are officiating.
For coach-pitch, each player receives 5 pitches or 3 strikes (whichever is first). A player can go beyond the 5 pitch maximum as long as they continue to foul off the ball.
· While your team is batting, you may opt to be the first base or third base coach. Have a parent help out at the other bases if you don’t have enough assistant coaches. There must always be 1 parent in the dugout at all times.
· Respect the umpires. The umpires are either youth umpires learning the game (and trying their best) or adult (unpaid) volunteers.
· Coaches may not leave the dugout during play until they ask the umpire for time AND are granted time by the umpire.
· The best way to run practices is to setup stations (particularly for batting). That way players aren’t standing around: Soft toss station / Batting-tee station / Pitching station. Look on the internet for ideas. Make it fun.
· If you don’t have enough assistant coaches, get parents to help out at these stations.