Congratulations, you have decided to coach a youth baseball team. Now it's time to meet with the parents and the players to set the tone for next season. Coaching youth baseball is a big responsibility and requires organization, planning and defined objectives. Requesting help from parents, and outlining communication. Player expectations need to be addressed as this is really the reason you’re coaching, for the kids.
This meeting may be the first opportunity for you to meet the parents and players who are anxious to learn what your knowledge base is, your coaching experience, and what style you use. Stating your objectives for the team and what it is you want to accomplish will put the parents and players at ease.
From my experience based upon youth feedback, youth baseball players want to experience success and have fun. As the coach you need to keep in that in mind, and so do the parents. But keep in mind that the reality is some parents view winning at all costs is the only thing that matters is their little superstar.
Explaining your coaching philosophy, rules for playing time, will it be equal playing time or based on performance, this will most likely depend on the age level you’re coaching, and player positions, how will you determine who plays where.
Parental involvement is sometimes glossed over. Since most kids state fun as their main priority, a close second is to be engaged with their parents. I stress the need with running practices, pre-game warm ups, and base coaches. Kids see this as an opportunity spend quality time with their parent. It is important that parents view it the same way.
You may want to comment for the benefit of the parents unwilling to participate on the field their assistance will be needed in other areas. In youth athletics there are numerous opportunities for parents to get involved by volunteering to coordinate any fund raising events, securing hotel rooms if your team is traveling out of town, will there be money that needs to be collected, what about the concession stand, so helping the team run smoothly is not limited to just the field.
Don’t over look the communication. Email is a great way for the Coach to disseminate information quickly, and for parents and players to keep the coach informed. As the coach you should informed the parents they can discuss anything with you, except playing time or positions. I have found this will eliminate the majority of your headaches if you state it like that.
Player expectation’s also needs to be expressed. Part of the learning process is how to take responsibility for themselves. Each player needs to be accountable for himself.
Baseball players need to think on their feet, react, adapt, overcome, by letting them know they, not their mother are responsible for insuring all their equipment is ready to go, is a great way to start teaching accountability. They further need to know there are consequences to not being accountable or improper behavior
Remember your job is to be the teacher, and at times a mentor. I would suggest that you start a list of items that need to be addressed at your parent/player meeting and add to it throughout the year as things come up. This will help you in future years to avoid any pit falls along the way.