Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Games with no coaches

July 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Coaching

A couple weeks ago I was listening to John Kruk talk during one of the ESPN games.  He mentioned he had a conversation with the head coach of Princeton University who told him that he frequently has Fall games where coaches do nothing but watch.  I’ve done that several times myself with my high school teams and even wrote about it in the past.

Where the game used to be learned

Where the game used to be learned

One of the joys of playing ball as a kid with friends is that you had to figure the game out on your own.  No coaches were there to tell you how to play – when to steal, when to go 1st to 3rd, how to throw strikes, etc.  This is how baseball instincts are developed.

Kruk was lamenting how even players at the big league level have poor instincts and he attributes that to too much coaching at the younger levels.  I couldn’t agree more.  If every second on a field is planned out by adults then young players never learn to think for themselves.  

My son is 7 years old and (in my opinion) too young to play Fall Ball.  However, if you are someone organizing a Fall team, be sure to mix in some games and maybe even practices where the kids make all the decisions.  As I’ve written in the past, you may be surprised what they come up with on their own.  It will also go a long way in improving their instincts.

Tomorrow’s post: The importance of framing


2 Responses to “Games with no coaches”
  1. Barry Bealer says:

    Could not agree more Bob. One approach I used with our travel team was to setup a game where the objective was to take as many bases as possible and you were awarded one point for each base. There was no penalty for getting out and there was no coaching. Players had to figure out if they could stretch a single into a double, double into a triple, etc. Often times younger players run base to base and do not have the instinct to take more than one base at a time. Too many younger players run the bases scared of getting out. When you think about when we were kids playing in the neighborhood, pretty much anything hit to the outfield you were trying to stretch into a double or triple. We need more opportunities for the kids to just play and see what the limits of their abilities are and how to take advantage of situations. Then they will begin to run the bases aggressively and take the extra base without a coach yelling “go to second, go to second!”.

  2. Mike G. says:

    Love it. You will find out quickly who the leaders of the team are. I will use this the first practice after try-outs. We will be in the gym so I’m sure it will be playing wiffle ball, which is okay. I will use again when we get outside.

    Brings me back to the childhood days. Haha

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