There are many moving parts when maneuvering through a baseball season. As manager, having a multitude of coaching techniques at the ready can help lead your team to victory. Managing your baseball roster wisely can be especially important during postseason runs. From facing new opponents to dealing with pitch count rules, there are many factors to take into consideration.
We asked managers at the PONY League World Series how they handle their rosters deep into tournament play. Find out what their rules for success are in this Pro Tips breakdown.
IDENTIFYING YOUR OPPONENT
Heading into a postseason run can take your team far from your local league in terms of travel. Continued success can see your squad face off against unknown opponents. As manager, it’s your duty to adjust your roster accordingly to put your best nine on the field every game.
“A lot of homework goes in. One, trying to find out what you can about the opposing teams that you’ll be playing,” Simi Valley, California, manager Ken Gill says. “But also, your own team and personnel.”
Being prepared through scouting can help you set your lineup and adjust defensive strategies. Every bit of information can potentially be enough to edge out a win and continue your season.
KEEPING YOUR PLAYERS SAFE
Managing your roster is not just a pre-game job. Taking your players’ health and safety into account is also important. This means ensuring your youth athletes get the appropriate rest and recovery.
“You [have] to manage, not only the pitch count, but the young kids’ arms,” Youngstown, Ohio, manager Scott Ruark says. “As a manager, I’m not here to make a kid throw every single day.”
Making sure your pitchers get the appropriate rest between starts can help keep everyone’s arms fit and healthy. In addition, adding post-game recovery practices – like icing or stretching – can also be beneficial.
UNDERSTANDING PITCH COUNTS
Lastly, managing your baseball roster requires you to accommodate league rules. In youth baseball, pitch count rules exist to help keep athletes safe on the mound and help limit potential injury. To give your team a quality chance at success, coaches should be mindful of these rules. Knowing the pitch count rules can help you structure your pitching rotation accordingly.
United Kingdom manager Warren Furst says, “We’re real precise about our pitching rotation … so we know who our starting pitchers are going to be.”
“We have to make sure we get through a six-day tournament that we have our pitch counts right,” he adds.
Knowing how to manage your baseball roster can lead to a successful postseason. Learn to navigate the ebbs and flows of youth baseball with these coaching Pro Tips.
Another duty of being a manager is being a mentor. Listen to these PONY Baseball coaches on how they preach selflessness to their rosters and pass along more lessons for life and baseball.