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Guest Mike

Motivating 8-10 Year Old Baseball Players

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Guest Mike

I have 13 8-10 years boys, some who have been playing baseball for sveral years. 7 of these boys are highly motivated , want to win and are there to learn the game. The other six could care less what goes on. I am looking for mativation tips for these boys. The team is actually embarassing to watch on a baseball field. I feel for the boys who want to play!!!

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Guest Schann

Coach,

Motivating young athletes can be tough. Each player has a different reason for playing the sport; spending time with friends, love of the sport and parental pressure can all be reasons that the child is playing the sport.

Understanding why each child is playing is a critical first step towards helping a child to have the best possible experience. You must gain their trust and respect. Remember that you are coaching young people not machines. Show interest in each child as an individual regardless of their skill level. Set some short term goals for each child that they have the ability to accomplish. Give them opportunites to succeed.

Create a positive practice environment, one that focuses on what the athlete is doing right rather than what they are doing wrong. The athlete should not be affraid to make mistakes. Help them to understand that people who don't make mistakes are people who are not trying very hard and don't care about becoming a better athlete. Let the team know that they can help motivate each other. The team should provide positive support to those players who are struggling. Each player has a responsibility to the team and should share in the short-term goals of improving attitudes and basic skills. If a player is put in constantly put in a situation where they can not stand out, then their motivation will be suppressed.

Get the parents involved for support. Let the parents know that you expect them to be

supportive of all players at all times. I have had many players through the years who did not seem interested in playing. One player in particular I have had for 4 years. To be honest Each year I had hoped he would not return. He never put any effort into practice or games. He would go up to the plate and stike out on three pitches and come back to the dugout laughing. I made it miserable for the kid hoping he would quit. We are talking about a kid who is now 8 years old.

Finally, this year I decided to change my coaching style. It has been difficult at times but I believe it is working. I got to know this kids parents better and I got to know the kid better. What I found out was that the kid did want to do better, he just didn't know how. He laughed because he was embarrassed of his performance. The kid is not an all-star now by any means, but he has progressed 100% this year.

He usually makes contact, he runs the bases harder, he goes after fly balls and he always wants to be in the game.

Don't expect miracles overnight but if you stick with it you will slowly see the difference that

positive coaching can have on motivating the kids to work harder.

IC,

Schann

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There is nothing embarassing about watching young kids play a sport. Physical and emotional development occurs at different times for kids in the same group.

Teach them to have fun. Break practices down to small groups for individual attention.

With this age group, when all the kids leave the field, none of them think about the game anymore. Focus on teaching them how to play. Help them have fun. Have fun yourself.

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