Making local training a priority, helps managers and coaches contribute to a better Little League® experience. Players enjoying Little League® softball or baseball starts with improving their fundamentals, to increase their confidence, and better their chances for success. In addition, properly responding to any medical accident makes a big difference in ensuring a player feels safe during assessment and treatment, and recovers from injury as quickly and pain-free as possible. Both of these elements — fundamentals and first aid response — share a key connection: coaches and other volunteers who are properly trained. Current ASAP Safety Plan requirements address the training required of your league, but behind them lies so much more than just completing what’s mandated.
What’s Required — Fundamentals
As explained on the LittleLeague.org, in the Safety Plan requirements, a chartered league must provide fundamentals training for representatives from each team, with at least one coach or the manager from each team attending annually.
These training sessions should cover a list of coaching fundamentals including:
These informational clinics can be led by a high school coach, college coach, or someone else with extensive experience in coaching. But it need not be someone outside your organization, either. Often, a Majors or Juniors Division coach will have served several years in the league, and will be a good candidate for the younger divisions’ coaches. Not only does this provide a well-rounded coach, but also someone who understands Little League’s rules and regulations.
What should these coaching fundamentals clinics cover? Training should be adjusted based on which level of play attendees will be coaching. Little League University provides free online resources to help you get started.
Your coaches’ clinics may be divided into sections:
Tee Ball and Minor Divisions: Coaches at the Tee Ball and Minor Divisions (including coach pitch and machine pitch) receive training focused on basic ball handling and batting skills, with related safety aspects included, and strategies for operating practices that are short enough to keep the players attentive and engaged.
Majors Division and Teenage Divisions: Managers and coaches in the Little League and upper divisions (intermediate 50/70. Junior and Senior) receive a second, more detailed clinic that breaks down offensive and defensive plays, and introduces more advanced skills.
Document who attended the clinic(s), when and where they were held, and who led the session(s). Ideally, everyone involved with improving players’ skills should attend.
What’s Required – First Aid Training
Like training coaches to properly teach fundamentals, training them and other volunteers in first aid practices isn’t just a requirement to be fulfilled. It’s an extra tool in place to help the season be a beneficial and safe experience for the Little Leaguers®. At least one manager or coach from each team in a league should attend a first aid class, though you should encourage attendance from as many league volunteers as possible. First aid knowledge is an invaluable tool to have for all of life’s emergencies.
Start by organizing classes for volunteers to attend. These classes can be taught by local medical professionals. Sports injury specialists, firefighters, EMTs, colleges, hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other organizations in your area may already have programs available that your coaches could attend. You may also be able to encourage them to volunteer to conduct a clinic for your league. Not only would enlisting an individual from the community help to provide low or no-cost training, but it would also help to promote their professional medical services. Again, be sure to properly document first aid clinics.
Learning and Improving
Knowledge is a powerful tool in the effort to make the game safer and more enjoyable for the players and volunteers. Visit www.LittleLeague.org for a great collection of ASAP fundamentals training material.