Ultimate Baseball Coaching Guide

Ultimate Baseball Coaching Guide

Baseball

Are you new to coaching baseball? Looking to brush up on your coaching expertise? Regardless of your level of experience, our ultimate baseball coaching guide will provide you with a library of knowledge for mastering your role on the field.

We got you covered with the top baseball drills, player report examples, invaluable tips for giving player feedback, and more.

Let’s slide in!

Part 1: Baseball Drills

Whether you aim to evaluate a player’s mechanics & movement or seek to enhance your team’s skill level, baseball drills are a must-add to any tryout (and practice!).

Below are the top 5 baseball drills we recommend, assessing players on core areas of fielding, catching, throwing, hitting, and running.

1) Round the Bases: Baseball running drill

Preparation

  1. Separate the tryout players into three teams.
  2. The first team are baserunners at home plate.
  3. The second team are fielders starting behind 1st base.
  4. The third team are fielders starting behind.
  5. The coach or player positions themselves 10-12 feet from home plate in a soft-toss position. 

How To

  1. The first base running player steps to the plate.
  2. Next, the coach tosses a baseball, and the player hits a line drive and then proceeds to round the bases.
  3. The 1st player in the fielding lines from bases 1st and 3rd immediately runs to field the ball. 
  4. As soon as both fielders touch the ball, the baserunner must stop.
  5. Baserunners earn one point for each base they touch.
  6. Repeat the drill until all players have had at least one chance to round the bases. 
  7. Ensure you keep track of points to declare a team the winner. 

2) The Shoestring Catch: Baseball fielding drill

Preparation

  1. The player and coach stand approximately 15-20 yards apart in the outfield. 

How To

  1. The coach will throw or hit a ball directly at the player’s feet.
  2. The players will sprint in, attack the ball, and attempt to use proper technique to make the play (shoestring catch).
  3. After making the play, the player returns the ball to the coach, returning to their starting position.
  4. Reassure players that the ball will not bounce higher than their knees; this will allow them to catch the ball with confidence. 

3) Power the Hips: Baseball hitting drill

Preparation

  1. Ensure every player has a bat.
  2. Place cones at a safe distance from each other but close to the fence.
  3. Provide every player with a ball.

How To

  1. Ensure that players are aware that turning their hips through the hitting zone is the focus of this drill.
  2. Have players stand at their designated cones while ensuring that there is a safe distance between each player.
  3. The coach will blow the whistle, and players will begin hitting their ball into the fence while powering their hips through the hitting zone. 

4) The Three-Minute Drill: Baseball throwing drill

Preparation

  1. The pitcher stands on the mound.
  2. A coach or player is next to the picture with a bucket full of baseballs.
  3. The catcher is at home plate.

How To

  1. The pitcher throws as many pitches as they can in one minute before taking a one-minute rest. They then repeat this twice more for a total of 3 minutes of pitching, hence the name “three-minute drill.”
  2. Ensure the pitcher completes their pre-pitch routine each and every time. 
  3. Once the pitch is completed, have the player or coach quickly pass the pitcher the next ball. 

5) Reaction pop-up drill: Baseball catching drill

Preparation

  1. The player takes a “ready” position, about 10 feet away and facing backwards from the coach or player.
  2. The player should have their knees slightly bent and feet shoulder-width apart.

How To

  1. Once the player is in the ready position, the coach or player will say “Go.”
  2. As the player spins around, the ball will be tossed into the air.
  3. The player will move into position beneath the ball and catch it.
  4. Repeat this drill several times, changing the height and direction of the ball.

Part 2: Gain player insights

Tryouts are done. The scores are in. Now, what next? You may be asking yourself, “How do I begin to make use of this player data I have just collected?”

One answer. Reporting.

Below are three reports to run that will provide you with a clear & comprehensive understanding of the top players worth drafting to your team(s). Hint: Player reports don’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) conducted manually. With a baseball evaluation app, input player scores AND gain access to auto-generated reports with a single software.

Let’s walk through the three main reports that every baseball coach should run:


Player Grid


Look at players scores across categories, skills, or metrics. Click on the arrows to rank players from highest to lowest score.

  1. Categories: Positional, Pitcher, and Catcher
  2. Skill: Within pitcher, look at skills such as hitting, speed, infield, and outfield.
  3. Metrics: Within hitting, look at metrics such as power, contact, mechanics, and bat speed (see below).
Player comparison report

Weighted Reports


Assess players according to your unique coaching formula with weighted reports. For example, you might want to look at players who rank from highest to lowest with “hitting: to choose the right positional players.

With this information in mind, create a weighted report on SkillShark’s athlete evaluation app.

  • Select the skill “Hitting” for the metrics to pop-up (see below)
  • Assign points to metrics within hitting: bat speed, power, contact, and mechanics.
  • Create your weighted report.
Customizable evaluation template

Strengths vs. Weaknesses


Do you want to compare a few top players to see who would be a stronger hitter on your team? The strengths vs. weaknesses report provides you with a detailed analysis of athlete performance of a maximum of 3 players at a time.

  1. Select which players you want to compare (up to 3).
  2. Choose the metrics within “Hitting” to compare (see below).
  3. Run the report.
Strengths vs. weaknesses report

Part 3: Best practices for athlete communication

Creating teams, selecting practice drills, and devising strategies for tournaments are integral aspects of the job.  One core component of coaching that shouldn’t be overlooked is communication with athletes. Here are some tips for effective coach-athlete communication:

Communicate individually


Personalize your approach when communicating with athletes. Sure, locker room pep talks can be effective in delivering a general message to a larger group of people. However, athletes are more receptive to feedback when it is delivered individually.

Tip: While offering individual feedback may not be possible in person, communicate an athlete’s progress and development through individual reports. Bonus: Not only will your athlete have access to reference this report at any time, but their parent(s) will too!

Be specific


When providing feedback, whether that be during practice verbally or through a report in written form, be as specific as possible. For example, if you want an athlete to improve their shooting mechanics in basketball, focus on the specifics. Rather than saying, “Work on your follow through,” adjust your languaging to this “Ensure both of your wrists are relaxed and keep your fingers pointed to where you shot the ball. Hold this position until the ball goes through the net.”

Listen with intent


Communication is a two-way street that goes beyond just talking. Listening is an important component of carrying out a successful conversation. More specifically active listening:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Confirm understanding
  • Ask open ended-questions for clarification
  • Avoid interrupting
  • Give your undivided attention

Part 4: Streamline your season with a baseball planner

Drafting teams and drill selection are both time-consuming tasks for coaches. In order to make your season run as smoothly as possible and assist in proactive planning, we have created a baseball planner. This planner includes a:

  • Scoresheet
  • Tournament schedule
  • Field planner

Part 5: Providing athlete feedback

How often to provide athlete feedback?

Depending on the level of play, whether your baseball team is little league or varsity, the frequency of feedback will vary. However, as a rule of thumb, provide formal feedback three times a year: beginning (tryouts), mid-season evaluations, and year-end evaluations.

Between explaining drills & game scenarios at practice and offering helpful tips on technique throughout, having to add in time to provide formal feedback can be overwhelming. Therefore, carving out three times throughout the season to provide feedback will ensure the task at hand is accomplished.

What do we mean by formal feedback? Beyond a pat on the back or a simple “good job,” in passing after practice, formal feedback is provided through reports, leading us into our next segment…

How to provide athlete feedback?

Athlete feedbacks= athlete reports. The formula is really as simple as that. Let’s review the steps to providing feedback in reports using SkillShark.

Host evaluations: As your tryouts will act as a “beginning of season” evaluation, add in mid-season and post-season evaluations as well.

Create an evaluation event: Create an event, for example “2024 mid-season baseball evaluations” to keep player scores separate from other evaluations.

Score players: After you have create an evaluation template, we advise using the same template for the entire baseball season. This way, you can monitor athletes progress on the same skills throughout the season.

View reports: After an evaluation is done, player scores are automatically stored on the app. Simply just navigate to the report section and navigate to “individual reports.”

Send reports: Select players in bulk, ensure their email is filled out, and click “send reports.” Seconds later, that athlete will have that report in their inbox to review.

Athlete report card

Part 6: Integrating athlete self-assessments

We all know that 90% of the game is mental; and any mental blockages can greatly affect your athletes’ performance.

By conducting athlete self-assessments, you can now find the answers to many helpful questions such as, “Is a player’s perception hindering their performance or pushing them forward?”

Picture this: You are asking an athlete to rank their own batting skills in baseball. With a self-assessment, you are asking them to self-reflect (and evaluate) on an area that they might not have given much thought to before. I.e., “How would you rate your ability to [insert skill]?”

The end results? Through this self-assessment, the athlete is now self-aware that their batting skills are an area they need to work on, they develop a “batting mentality” over time (as you might implement more batting drills in practice and offer extra one-on-one support in this skill), and their batting performance is improved.  

Athlete self-assessment

Part 7: Why is it better to use a baseball evaluation app?

1. Efficiency and time-saving


A baseball evaluation app can save coaches hours on their next athlete evaluation. Coaches can:

  • Score athletes directly on mobile devices — eliminating the need for pen-and-paper forms.
  • Create a centralized evaluation template to be used by all evaluators.
  • View auto-generated reports, ready minutes after an evaluation is complete (based on entered athlete scores).

2. Real-time data analysis


Data is automatically stored in the platform the minute an evaluation is complete. Therefore, reports are instantly ready for viewing, from individual report cards, ranking matrixes, and weighted reports. Therefore, coaches can make informed decisions promptly, whether it’s team selection or identifying areas for individual player development.

3. Customization


Tailor the evaluation criteria and scoring system (i.e., single score, multi-score or comment-only) to align with your coaching philosophy in your evaluation template. Whether you’re evaluating varsity or youth baseball players, evaluation templates can be adapted to suit your unique requirements.

4. Player feedback and development


A baseball evaluation app fosters seamless communication among coaches, players, and parents. Coaches can share feedback with players through individual reports, which includes the added ability to add comments and videos (so players can see how they are performing a skill). Better athlete feedback ensures continuous improvement and growth among athletes.

Wrapping Up

There you have it, the ultimate baseball coaching guide! Incorporate new baseball drills into your tryouts and practices, constantly provide athlete feedback, integrate athlete self-assessments, and run the right type of reports to garner valuable insights.

Looking for a baseball evaluation app that does it all? Look no further than SkillShark!

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FAQ — Baseball Guide

As a simple rule of thumb, provide athlete feedback after each evaluation. Whether that is a tryout, mid-season evaluation, clinic, or post-season evaluation, send formal athlete feedback in the form of athlete report cards

Some of the benefits of adding athlete self-assessments into your baseball season are:

1. Confidence building
2. Self-awareness
3. Goal setting
4. Relationship building
5. Improved performance

When replacing pen-and-paper forms with an athlete evaluation app, this benefits coaches in the following ways:

1. Hours of data entry saved
2. Real-time player insights
3. Customizable to your coaching formula
4. Enhanced player feedback

Make an effort to communication in a one-on-one setting, be specific when providing verbal feedback, and listen with intent.

We highly suggest checking out our baseball tryout drillsto see the top 8 drills for running baseball tryouts.

Danielle Stringer

Danielle is a dynamic content marketer with a unique blend of creativity and analytical expertise. She is driven by her passion for helping companies scale through lead generation, always finding distinctive ways to connect with her audience. Drawing from her extensive background in B2B SaaS, she is thrilled to apply her skills and knowledge in her current role at SkillShark Software Inc.