To be a Little League® coach is fun and exhilarating. Being Little League manager can be much more daunting and unnerving, especially if you aren’t comfortable with the program’s rules and regulations.
Local leagues that have a Coaching Coordinator on its Board of Directors can help to shape the training schedule and serve as a liaison for rules-related questions, but with accepting the role of coach or manager, the individual becomes responsible for learning the Little League game’s guidelines.
Little League® International publishes its Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies for the Little League Baseball®, Little League Softball®, and the Little League Challenger Division® and makes these available on a mobile app. Each year’s rulebooks have playing rules that are updated or added, it is critical, for volunteers approved as coaches and managers to read and understand them.
The offseason is the best time to research if there are any significant rule changes. Here are five easy ways to expand your knowledge on your own time.
- Schedule a rules clinic hosted by your league, district, or region. This can be done in-person or via a web conference.
- Register to receive monthly electronic newsletters such as Little League Coach’s Box and Little League Notebook.
- Visit Little League’s free online resources for coaches – LittleLeagueUniversity.org.
- Review the current year’s Official Regulations, Playing Rules, and Policies.
- Utilize a local league or district coaching mentor program.
As you become more familiar and comfortable with Little League’s rules and regulations, it can be assumed that managing and coaching will become noticeably easier. As your confidence grows and your ability to strategize will improve, as will the way you coordinate your team and utilize your roster during a game.
If a manager or coach has volunteered in Little League for several seasons, complacency with the rules is a pitfall that must be avoided. It is the league and the individual’s task to outline what changes have been applied, so each can go into the season with a working knowledge of the current rules.
Also take into account the third team on the field – the umpires. Whether a two, three, or four-man crew, umpires recognize and appreciate managers and coaches that have a grasp of the rules, because it contributes greatly to the pace of play and management of the game.
Certainly, the effectiveness by which a volunteer coaches and manages a Little League game is never criminal, but when talking about understanding the program’s rules and regulations, the statement that “ignorance is no excuse” seems applicable. Researching, asking questions, and being able to use rulebook terminology are sure to make the experience much more positive, regardless of your years in the program.