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Friday, January 29, 2010

Baseball Coaching Digest - What is the Most Important Thing in Coaching Little League Baseball?

By Nick Dixon

If you ask 100 baseball coaches the question, "What is the Most Important Thing in Baseball?", you will get a wide variety of answers. Some will say winning is the most important thing. Some will say that "expecting to win" is the most important thing. Others will say that helping kids grow, mature, and develop a sincere love for the game is the most important reason for playing baseball. When I ask myself this question, I have one simple answer. This articles explains what I feel that the most important thing in baseball to me is that I see some level of improvement every day.

This "level of improvement" can be in any aspect of the game. I may leave practice knowing that our team improved their knowledge and skill in defending the bunt. I may leave a game knowing that our team, although we lost, learned how to "come back" and compete when we were down by 4 and made it a one run loss at the end.

You may see an improvement in team unity, team chemistry, or team leadership. You may see a certain player show improvement in pitching control, hitting the off-speed pitch, or reading the pitcher to get a better jump when stealing a base. See these improvements are what coaching and playing baseball is all about.

Is it better for a team to show absolutely no improvement in a season and go undefeated because they dominate their league or for a team to play.500 baseball on the season, but show incredible levels of improvement from the top of the lineup to the bottom? You see what I mean? Improvement is the "name of the game". Improvement is what coaching baseball is all about.

Coaches must keep in mind that only half of the teams that play every day, win. The other half lose. Should 50% of the coaches feel their day was a total loss ever day they play? When it comes to playoffs it is a fact that less than 1/100 of 1 percent of all baseball teams will end their season with a win each year. The other 99.999 % of the teams will find themselves ending their season with a loss or not being in the playoffs.

Now, I want you to know that I value winning as much as any coach on this planet. But what I am saying is that coaches must make winning a goal and getting better a priority. You should feel satisfaction when you see improvement on a daily basis. If you do not see improvement, chances are that you will find it difficult to win anyway. So the message here is to make it known to you team that you want to see them improve as players and as a team every day in some way. It is their job to make it happen. It is your job to give them the opportunity to do so in practices and games.

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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick