My involvement with TFL has been a fun 6 years. Here is my coaching chronology:

5U - Fighting Irish

6U-10U - Sidewinders

We are a pure neighborhood rec team and have never excluded anyone because of their ability. As long as they give a full effort and fit in well with the team, the child is welcome on our team. One of the highlights of the year is to see kids that you would never expect to perform, do so at big moments. One of my most fulfilling years was to take a team that I wasn't sure could win a single game and see them go on a long winning streak and make it to the tournament finals. We got second but you would have thought these boys won a premier level world series.

A couple of words of advice:

  • try to keep it in perspective. These are young kids and they are going to make a lot of mistakes. That's not to say that you can't have high expectations be don't pull your hair out when they don't do it right every time.
  • Never stop working on the fundamentals. My coaching motto is to "do the right things the right way". Continuous work on the basic elements is how you take a young team that is not very good and have them improve over a short time frame.
  • If possible, try to help the parents keep it in perspective. These kids are not going to get drafted as 8 year olds and I promise they are not going to miss out on anything if they don't play baseball full time before the age of 10. If they have talent, they have plenty of time to develop the talent as they begin to enter their teen years. Encourage the boys to play a lot of different sports and to be well rounded.
  • Keep it fun. You can get more regimented as the boys age up but there still needs to be a constant level of enjoyment throughout.
  • Reward and recognize as much as possible. Find a reason to give the kids some form of reward and recognition at every practice or game for doing the right things.