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 > Little League Online > Learn More > Newsletters > Coach's Box Newsletter > 2006 > Coach's Box - Nov/Dec 2006 > Positive Coaching - November/December 2006

Positive Coaching - November/December 2006


Volume I, No. 8  

  November/December 2006


Tools for Teaching and Talking in the Off-Season
by Jim Thompson
Positive Coaching Alliance

In much of the United States, winter weather means no outdoor baseball. Although players still can work on their games at batting cages and other indoor facilities, let’s face it, November through February means baseball downtime for most Little Leaguers.

That does not mean baseball must be forgotten. In fact, winter is the perfect opportunity to work on mental aspects of the game. Players are free from practices, which tend to focus on developing physical skills, and games, where reaction often overrides mental preparation, no matter how often you remind players to be aware of baserunning situations, the number of outs and the count.

Using the winter for “mental practice” prepares players for those situations in the coming season. More importantly, it encourages conversation among coaches and parents and their players, giving players a better chance to learn life lessons -- such as conversation skills and problem-solving abilities -- from baseball and softball.

To do this, pose a problem such as, “You’re playing third base with runners on first and second and one out when a slow roller is hit down the third base line. What do you do?”

One correct answer would be, “See if I can get the runner going to third and if not, throw to first.” Because there is more than one right answer, you can keep a dialogue going, improving the player’s on-field IQ and conversation skills, while strengthening your bonds and keeping the player’s love of the game stoked even through a long, cold winter.

Little League coaches can learn more about helping players reach their potential on and off the field by registering for the online Little League Double-Goal CoachTM course at www.PositiveCoach.org/LittleLeague.

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