Escondido National Little League: Coaching Corner

Wednesday, September 16
Coaches Corner

Coaching Responsibilities

Coaching a youth sport program such as Little League Baseball is a privilege that is not to be taken for granted. As a coach, appointed by the Escondido Little League Board of Directors, you have an important role in the development of the youth in the community. We strive to teach each child the positive values of good sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork – values they can use throughout their lives. In order to ensure each coach is acting in the best interest of the children and Little League Baseball, a Code of Conduct for Coaches should be adhered to for interactions with players, parents, fans, coaches, and umpires.

1) Players – When there are interactions with players, appropriate language and behavior is expected.

  • Language - At no time is cursing or yelling at a player acceptable. As a coach you are a mentor and should focus on the positive. A coach should always be looking for opportunities to praise and encourage the players.
  • Discipline – At no time is physical discipline of a player acceptable. At the beginning of the season, coaches are encouraged to establish and communicate rules of acceptable behavior to players and parents, and the consequences if not followed. Coaches have a variety of discipline measures at their disposal including restriction to the dugout, dismissal from practice or games, and, with approval of the ENLL Board of Directors, dismissal from the team. (Coaches are responsible for supervision of the child until the parents arrive at the field.) If a coach wishes to discipline his own child, he is expected to pull the player aside for corrective action.

2) Parents / Fans – Coaches are expected to interact with parents in a professional manner. Appropriate language and behavior is expected. At no time should a coach respond to comments from fans during a game.

3) Coaches – Coaches are expected to interact with opposing coaches in a professional manner. At no time should a coach yell from one dugout to another at an opposing coach. Coaches are to address other coaches between innings and with the umpire present. If the need arises to address an opposing coach before the end of the half inning, the coach should ask the umpire to call timeout to address the opposing coach at home plate.

4) Umpires – Coaches are expected to interact with umpires in a professional manner. At no time should a coach yell from the dugout, 1st base coaches box, or 3 rd base coaches box to an umpire. Coaches are to address the umpires between innings with the umpire's permission. If the need arises to address an umpire before the end of the half inning, the coach should call a timeout and request permission to address the umpire at home plate. If a coach asks for the umpire's permission to discuss a call, the umpire will be more willing to listen. Umpires are generally unpaid volunteers. Some are high school students. Adult coaches should be mindful of this when interacting with them.

5) Drugs, Alcohol, & Tobacco – A coach determined to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be asked to leave the field immediately. An infraction of this type will (with approval from the ENLL Board of Directors), result in a termination of coaching privileges. In addition, the use of tobacco (in any form) while coaching is strictly prohibited. In the event a complaint is received by the ENLL Board of Directors of a coach failing to comply with the above listed code of conduct, the Board may decide to 1) dismiss the case, 2) draft a warning letter or 3) revoke all or part of the coach's privileges. By signing in the space provided below, you are agreeing that you have read and understand the Coaches Code of Conduct for Escondido National Little League Baseball.


The safety of players, coaches and fans should be of utmost important to all who participate in Little League. Canastota Little League has developed a comprehensive safety plan that should be understood and adhered to by all coaches.

Coaching Resources

Resources abound for Coaches of Little League players. In addition to the Informational Packet provided to Coaches by the Canastota Little League, online articles exist that cover everything from conducting practices, developmental drills, and dealing with issues relating to players or parents. Some of these links are listed below. Pay particular attention to the resources made available to Little League International.

Manager Commitment and Background Checks

Manager Commitment:

As a manager for Escondido National Little League you will be expected to satisfy several requirements:

  • Attend Manager Meeting(s) prior to start of season.
  • Participate in ENLL functions such as Opening Day and Family Day.
  • Handle administrative requirements of the team.
  • Attend tryouts and draft team (Minor A thru Majors Only).
  • Hold TEAM MEETING prior to first practice.
  • Select a Team Parent.
  • Take responsibility of equipment issued to you by ENLL.
  • Participate in Tournament Team and Manager selection (9-10 thru Majors Only).
  • Learn and abide by Little League International Rules and Regulations, as well as ENLL Local League Rules.
  • Promote safety, sportsmanship and league camaraderie.
  • Encourage appropriate level skill improvement.
  • Represent ENLL in a positive manner at all times.
Application to Coach and Authorization to Conduct Background Check
Little League requires that background checks be completed for all Managers, Coaches, or Team Volunteers. By submitting this signed application you authorize Escondido National Little League Board of Directors to conduct a background check, which may include a review of sex offender registries, child abuse and criminal history records and checking with any players and/or their parents who have been on teams you have coached and/or managed in the past. In addition to this Manager Application, the Little League Volunteer Applications must also be completed.

Completed applications will be reviewed by the Escondido National Little League Board of Directors for approval and team assignments. Escondido National Little League appreciates the importance of the Manager role as a position of trust and responsibility in Little League. Acceptance of an appointment as a Manager in Escondido National Little League constitutes a contract with the players, parents, other managers, other coaches, umpires and league officials to demonstrate your appreciation of the philosophy of Little League and cooperation with others in making the program benefit all who participate.

 Please complete the Little League Volunteer Application – 2012, which can be found on the Escondido National LL front page. Please attach a copy of both applications and your driver’s license. Little League Volunteer Application must be submitted with this coaching application.

All volunteers will be checked against a national sex offender registry, as required by Little League. The requirement of background checks is necessary to protect children by maintaining a hostile and unwelcome environment for those who would sexually abuse or exploit children in any way.

Wednesday, September 16
Coach Info

Managers and coaches must provide a positive role model for all players. Please read and become familiar with the league's local rules for your division, codes of conduct, parent handbook, and saftey codes

Managing a Little League typically begins with a parent meeting. Hold a parent meeting prior to your first practice to set proper expectations and cover logistics. Each parent needs to sign on for volunteer duties during the season. As well, keep track of player participation.

Tools and Tips
Managing a Little League team requires organization. Field practices, batting cage time, and game preparation are all part of delivering a quality experience to the kids. Below are some resources that may help you in managing or coaching your DLL team. 
Setting up phone tree or other form of communication branch helps keep your parents informed of any changes in practice or games schedules.

Coach Clinics
Each year, Escondido National Little League coordinates clinics for coaches of all levels. The clinics cover the development of players on both mental and physical levels. For information on this year's clinc, visit our clinics page.

Practice Planning
Practice time is when skills, knowledge and sportsmanship are taught. Young players are limited in their mental bandwidth, so practices should be well planned and efficient. Break practices up into individual drill stations versus conducting a one hour scrimmage. Limit stations to small, manageable groups and rotate stations every 8-10 minutes. 

Practice Plans - Feel free to print and use to help organize your next practice!
T-ball/Rookies (5-6 yr olds)
Minor B/Machine Pitch (7-8 yr olds)
Minor A (9-10 yr olds)
Majors (11-12 yr olds)

How to build a Hitting Screen

Tips and Drills
Player's skills develop more rapidly by repetitions of 'good' actions. Ensure each player is receiving an adequate number of repetitions each practice.

COACHING T-BALL? This will help!

Prepare to learn enough about baseball to be able to present the material in “kid terms.”       



Tips on how to hit. Discusses every aspect of a swing.



Learn the proper way to field a ground ball



Finding a glove, fielding a ball and throwing straight.



Awsome drills aimed at improving onfield performance.



Great quick drills to get your ball players headed in the right direction.



Great quick drills to get your ball players headed in the right direction.



Great quick drills to get your ball players headed in the right direction.



Great quick drills to get your ball players headed in the right direction.



More fun drills for your players!


Helpful web sites

What to Look for During Tryouts and How to Draft Accordingly

Establish an overall philosophy and stick to it throughout the entire draft. The two main draft philosophies are as follows:
1. Draft by position need:
• The two premium positions are pitchers and catchers;
• After that, fill your roster with the rest of the up the middle players – shortstop, center fielder and second base in that order. All good defensive teams are built up the middle in this fashion.
• Next, build out the corners in this order – third base, first base, left field and right field
• When drafting on a position need basis, evaluate your roster of returning players, and see who you have returning that can and will fill the up the middle positions first, and determine if you really need a more skilled player from the draft to fill one of those positions or if the ones you have returning are best for those positions.

2. Draft by best athlete available at the point of the draft you are choosing:
• Choose the most athletic player available, regardless of position, at each turn when you have to choose.
• Athleticism is based on how many of the five tools (hitting with power, hitting for average/contact, arm, defense, speed) the player you are choosing has in comparison to the remaining players available in the draft pool at that point.
• This philosophy emphasizes the ability of an athlete to learn and become skillful at a particular position because of his athleticism and not because he may have played it before.
• This philosophy relies less on “labeling” a player a pitcher, SS, etc.; instead, it relies more on the versatility of the athlete.

Characteristics and skills to look for in a player at each position:

Pitchers –
Players in this position need to be very confident, even to a point of “cockiness”; having the ability to bounce back from, or shake off, a hit by a hitter, a run scored, or an error by a fielder behind them. They need to be athletic, agile and have good flexibility, particularly in their arm motion. The arm motion should be free and easy, natural looking and not labored at all. Look for players with good arms, making the strongest throws from the outfield, during that portion of the tryouts, as possible players who can develop into pitchers. Preferably, in the major, senior and high school prep divisions, look for left-handed throwers, who will be able to naturally hold on runners at first base, simply because they are left-handed and looking at the runner.

Catchers – These players should have a “take charge” personality, who is outgoing and loud, not shy and withdrawn, and displays some baseball savvy in order to shout out calls of where the ball should go as plays develop in front of him. He should also be fearless and have a willingness to sacrifice his body in order to block and keep balls in the dirt in front of him. He should have a good arm, but quickness is more important, especially with his release on the throw and with his feet, in order to get to a ball.

Shortstop –
He is your best athlete, very athletic, good arm, baseball instincts, carries himself confidently, wants to be in the center of the action, with a “never say die” or “no quit” attitude, and wants the ball hit to him with the game on the line. Player displays good, sure hands, light on his feet with quick footwork and good lateral range (left and right).

Centerfield –
Very athletic, your fastest runner on the team, with a “ball hog” attitude to cover ground in the left and right center field gaps, as needed, in order to run down balls. He is the best of the three outfielders, can judge and catch flyballs and throw with above average ability.
Second base – This player is your next best infielder after your shortstop; has good sure, soft hands, doesn’t flinch in fear on groundballs, a lesser arm than the shortstop, quick feet, and can adequately fill-in at shortstop in the event that your shortstop also pitches.

Third base – Must be able to field groundballs without flinching in fear of being hit by the ball, good enough arm strength to make the throw across the diamond to first base; doesn’t have to be your most athletic or agile player as long as he can field groundballs and make contact at the plate as a hitter.

First base –
Description is very close to third base (see above) and you can sacrifice some agility, foot speed, and arm strength to make sure you have someone who can definitely catch throws in the air since he will have to catch throws from all of the other infielders on groundballs.

Leftfielder – Must be your next best outfielder at catching fly balls, more so than your rightfielder because there will be many more right-handed hitters in the league and most of them will pull the ball far more often than they will hit to the opposite field.

Rightfielder – This player will probably be your least skilled outfielder, but he should have at least one defensive tool (speed, arm, or ability to catch flyballs) of at least average to above average quality.

The Bench – Do not underestimate the importance of the remaining three players on your team that make up your bench. How well you fill these three spots, usually the last three rounds of the draft, is crucial! Your bench players should have at least one of the five tools of at least average ability if at all possible (hit with power, hit for average/contact, arm, defense, speed). When observing a player, with less developed skills, going through his tryout, and it appears that he will have low marks in all of the tools listed above on your rating sheet, start looking for the intangibles that you can note in the “miscellaneous notes” column of your rating sheet. As a “rule of thumb” – the lower the scores on the skills of a player, the greater number of “intangib
le notations” should be in the “notes column” of your rating sheet. These two are very much in direct proportion to each other – lower skills scores, greater numbers of intangibles needed.
Many times coaches during a tryout simple stop observing a player, when that player has lesser skills and is struggling during his tryout, and simply marks “ones” or “minuses” (whatever the coach’s low score scale is) and stops looking at the player. This is the worst thing a coach can do, because inevitably, he will probably have that player in the pool to choose from late in the draft and has no idea why he should or shouldn’t choose him. I’ve even heard coaches in the draft say, “Give me Billy or whoever, they’re all bad now (rounds 10, 11 or 12) and it doesn’t matter who I take at this point in the draft.” Nothing could be further from the truth – it isn’t hard to find the players to draft in the first three rounds – the ability level of those players is usually very obvious. The not so obvious are the players left in the draft pool to choose from in the last three rounds; usually players that will only play 2 innings on defense and have only 1 at-bat, and the same players that coaches will usually blame first in a loss because “they had to play” 2 innings and have one at-bat. If you don’t want that to happen, then look for the intangibles listed below in order to find the best available player in the late rounds of the draft.

Final thought before listing the intangibles to look for, always have reasons or a rationale for picking each player you draft for your team, whether it is your first pick or last pick. You have to be with that player for the better part of nearly 5 months (February – June). So, ask yourself the following question before drafting a player in any round, “Do I really want to draft and coach this player – and everything he brings with him – for 5 months? And if you can’t answer that question with a yes and with specific reasons after having observed that player, then you better choose someone else from the remaining draft pool of players at that point in the draft; otherwise, be prepared for your coaching experience to be less than copasetic.

1. Does he sprint and hustle from station to station, even if he isn’t doing well during the tryouts? Does he have a bounce to his step? If so, then this is usually a good trait that he would probably continue to display on your team during practices and games, and is a sign of a good attitude which is worth noting on your rating sheet.
2. Is he dressed like a baseball player (baseball pants, shirt, hat, with a good, quality glove and bat) rather than “skater” gear or jeans; and looks like he wants to be there, not dragged there because dad or mom wants him to play. If so, this is usually representative of some prior experience or at least a care on the part of the parents to properly prepare the player, both good signs when making a choice late in the draft.
3.What kind of personality does the player exhibit during the tryout?
Is he smiling and looking like he is having fun; outgoing, polite, asks questions, appears attentive to instructions given during tryouts and accepting those instructions well? If so, this is usually a good sign that he will most likely be a “coachable” player – or –
Is he sullen, scared, shy, withdrawn, appears not to be focused, daydreaming, seemingly appearing to have a chip on his shoulder, less than polite and snaps with answers such as, “I know, do you think I’m dumb or something.” Probably signs of a less “coachable” player.
4.Listen for over-bearing parents trying to “micro-coach” from the stands, shouting instructions at each stage of their child’s tryout. It will usually be this parent that will second guess your decisions and probably be difficult to deal with; while only seeing their child through “rose colored” glasses and will not understand why their child is a 2 inning/one at-bat player. Probably not a player you want to draft unless he has some very overwhelming skills to overcome the baggage his parents might bring to the table.
5. When a player does any running on the bases during his tryout, such as from home to first or from first to third, don’t just observe him with your eyes, but listen with your ears also! Visually judge his running style with your eyes (gracefulness, athleticism, powerful runner with strong legs or quicker with long legs; is he slow with short, squatty legs; is he a long strider or does he take a lot of short choppy steps to get to the same place; and does his arms move in good rhythm with his legs or is it out of sync). Equally important, listen with your ears to “hear” if he is a good runner – does he run with heavy feet, sounding like a heard of animals on the run; or, are his feet quiet as they hit the ground when he runs. The quieter his feet are when hitting the ground, the better the runner he is and will be in the future.
6. Look for the “energy level” of the player. Is he moving around freely, energetically, active and free of complaints about things such as how long the tryout is taking, or about the weather and how hot, or cold, or windy, or rainy it might be. – or -
Does the player appear lethargic, slow, lazy, bored, sitting down at every chance, or leaning on things and acting tired; complaining that the tryout is taking too long or that the weather is too hot, cold, windy, rainy, etc. This player will probably act and complain similarly during your practices and games
7. During the actual skills portion of the tryout – when groundballs or flyballs are being hit or the player is taking his batting practice – does he make excuses and blame his lack of performance or execution on his surroundings – the sun is in my eyes, the pitches were too slow or too fast, etc. This player most likely will not change his strips (attitude) after you draft him and he will exhibit the same behavior, failing to take responsibility for his actions and continue to blame his surroundings during your team’s practices and games for his lack of performance.
As you observe the tryouts, imagine them as just one long practice, and observe players from that point of view. Evaluate players on their skills and how they “act” as if it were your practice…how are the players acting – are they conducting themselves in a manner that you would like to see are your practice?

Managers and coaches, if you are closely observing players, and not just as they are doing their skills portion of the tryout, but observe them in their entirety, with your eyes and ears wide open, you will see and hear which players you will want on your team and which ones you don’t. I’ve always told players during tryouts on my high school and college teams, that they cut themselves with the things they do or don’t do…I simply observe their actions, and not just the catch, throw, run and hit part, but their actions in total, and it usually becomes clear as to who makes the team and who gets cut.

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