The catbirds were singing last night, as the setting sun threw golden beams across the front of 20 Prospect. Standing there in the gloaming I decided that Spring has finally arrived. It’s been a long time coming, but we are now on our 3rd consecutive day of temperatures above 50 degrees, and the brilliant green tufts of grass are pushing up out of the spongy soil. The sounds of baseballs pinging off of aluminum bats drifted in from the High School around the block. It may still be crisp, and cool once the sun goes down, but there is no mistaking the sounds and scent of Spring.
I am coaching 20 Prospect Jr.’s Little League baseball team this summer, my first year as an “official” head coach, after being a parent helper the last few seasons. I admit I was a little reluctant to take on the responsibility of being a head coach. If there’s one thing I have learned over the years coaching soccer, baseball, and hockey, it’s that coaching boys is nowhere near as fun and rewarding as coaching girls. In fact, I believe that it’s probably easier to train a pack of poodles to play baseball, than it is 9 year old boys. Granted, poodles are pretty smart dogs. But still.
So as our first few weeks of practice wind down, and we prepare for our first game next week, I thought I would compile a list of lessons learned.
TOP TEN LITTLE LEAGUE COACHING TIPS
10.) All communication must take place in 3 syllables or less at 100 decibels, or the boys will lose focus and begin wrestling with each other
9.) Never allow more than one boy to hold a bat at a time, or a Jedi light saber duel will break out.
8.) If you do decide to arm one of them with bat, make sure everyone else is standing behind protective chain link, or wearing body armor.
7.) Always wear a catcher’s mask when umpiring if you value your teeth
6.) Don’t try to demonstrate proper sliding technique unless you are under the age of 30, or have a strong desire for arthroscopic knee surgery.
5.) Parents view your practices as 1 hour of free babysitting.
4.) Parents view your games as an “Athletic SAT Test” for their child’s hope of a college scholarship
3.) Roughly 10% of 10 year old boys are capable of throwing a baseball from pitcher’s mound to home plate on less than 1 bounce.
2.) Only 10% of those pitches will actually be within 2 feet of the strike zone