Ever since my last day playing baseball, I’ve wanted to coach. Whether it was Little League, Babe Ruth or high school, I’ve had the itch. This spring, I’m finally scratching the itch as I coach 11- and 12-year-old Little League.
You might be thinking to yourself, “I didn’t think the man cub was that old.” You’re right, he’s not. Not even close. But I’m lucky enough to live in an area that’s saturated with kids that age, so the league is massive. However, they have a problem finding coaches, so they’re always taking volunteers. That’s where my buddy and I come in. We were talking at work one day and decided we wanted to coach, so here we are.
We had our season opener Wednesday night, and it went much better than we expected. Our kids won big (I lost track of the score) and did just about everything we taught them. We decided we wanted to be aggressive on the base paths and at the plate, which paid off handsomely. Also, our starting pitcher was amazing. Seriously, he gave up two hits and one run over his max allotted three innings. We brought in a kid we call Wild Thing to close it out for the fourth, and final, inning (the time limit and mercy rule kept us from going the full six innings) and we won our first game. As a coach, I couldn’t have been more proud of our players.
Something about coaching that I didn’t expect is that you go to practice and you try to teach the kids the fundamentals of the game, sometimes they take, but sometimes they don’t. It can be frustrating sometimes. Something that was nice to see Wednesday, a lot of the practice did take. Some of these kids have never played baseball before and were able to catch, throw and even hit like they’d been playing for years. One of the kids stuck out in my mind in particular as he stepped up to the plate with two runners on base and ripped a double to right-center field. By the way, he’s been playing baseball for all of two weeks now. It was a cool thing to see.
I know not every game will be like our season opener, but coaching has been fun so far. I’d recommend it to anybody who ever played baseball at a competitive level. Jump at the chance to coach as soon as you can. You learn quickly how much you really know about the fundamentals and strategy of the game. It can be daunting, but there’s nothing more rewarding than watching the players when things finally click and they really start having fun.
Feature image by Brigham Berthold