T-ball is often when a child is first exposed to the sport of baseball, and as a coach, it is important to make sure that it is a positive experience. You need to teach them the necessary skills as well as the ethics of the game. However, you can’t instruct them properly unless you are prepared yourself.
To get the most out of your season, you’ll want to be ready from the start with the proper gear and equipment for your players. Some players may prefer to use their own gear, but you’ll want to be prepared regardless, especially in such a young league as T-ball.
Before you begin assembling your equipment, though, you must remember that despite the similarities, T-ball is not baseball. With this age group, the game is more of a time to play with friends and run around. What you need to do, as a coach, is to take that reality and blend in the necessary skill development in hopes that they walk away from the field with a smile on their face and aspirations to continue playing in more developed leagues. Once you have this mentality set, you can begin to gather the necessary gear.
First and foremost, you should make sure you are ready with plenty of T-balls. T-balls are a softer, smaller version of a baseball specific to the league. It’s also recommended that you have a few team bats with you. Some players may choose to use their own bat, but you shouldn’t assume that everyone will do so. Having a variety of T-ball bats for your team will not only help them begin to develop fundamentals in the batter’s box, but will also help them begin to understand which bat is best for them.
Water, of course, is also a necessity to add to your checklist. You should encourage your players to bring their own water, but you should also bring extra for those who don’t or forget.
Aside from a batting tee and some practice or wiffle balls, T-ball doesn’t necessarily call for training aids. This will save you space and time when getting ready for and wrapping up your day. Remember, T-ball is about learning the very basics. They must first learn how to hold and swing a bat before using hitting aids, so you can leave the training equipment behind.
When it comes to game day, you should prepare by bringing a lot of the same items you bring to practice, such as batting helmets, extra bats, a batting tee and extra T-balls. You won’t need a scorebook, as there is no score in T-ball. The main goal is to ensure a positive time for the children and to help them grow as athletes.
Furthermore, be sure to keep a charged cellphone, first-aid kit and your players’ emergency contact information and medical records on hand. If there are any other league-required documentation, make sure to have those at the ready as well.
Lastly, the final thing you should always remember to bring is a positive mindset. You need to look at the game from your players’ perspectives and be realistic about their skill sets. Kids at this age will get distracted. They will drop the ball. They might not play well. What you need to do is ensure that they are having fun and learning to love the game.
One way to keep your team organized is by using DICK’S Team Sports HQ. This coaches’ resource offers many benefits such as online management software to help with registration, scheduling and communication with parents and players. With TSHQ, you can even design custom uniforms and fan gear as well.
A successful T-ball season starts in the equipment room. Be sure that your team is prepared for the game and ready to have some fun on the diamond!
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