Know your roster
The tournament roster is important to winning youth baseball tournaments. We encourage coaches to know their players' potential and allow them to play the positions where they can best succeed.
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Talk about your goals
Communicate your expectations for the tournament to parents and players.
Being competitive, winning the tournament, and playing to gain experience against high-caliber competition are three examples of goals coaches can convey to parents. Communicating expectations between coaches and players is vital to giving players confidence in their ability. A youth baseball player will play up to his coach's expectations if the coach remains positive and teaches the game the right way.
The warm-up is critical to mental as well as physical preparation. A great youth baseball tournament warm-up can be found at xtballer.com.
WATCH: Baseball Warm-Up With Evan Longoria
Set your lineup
The lineup should be established as soon as possible so the players know where they are playing, who is pitching, and who is catching. Here's a breakdown of how to build a lineup:
- Player with highest on-base percentage
- Best contact hitter who can bunt
- Best overall hitter
- Biggest power hitter
- Second-best power hitter
- Second-highest on-base percentage
- Contact hitter who can bunt
- Hitter who can work the count
- Second lead-off hitter with speed and high on-base percentage
Start with an even, positive attitude
A coach's pre-game speech should consist of positive motivational statements and set the tone for the game. We encourage coaches not to get too "pumped up" at this time, because youth baseball tournaments can last many hours—a long time to keep young athletes excited. A coach's constant positive attitude allows the players to follow their leader.
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Think about your closing comments
The post-game speech is the most important communication with the team. The players leave afterwards, typically get in the car with their parents and have a conversation—often started by the parent asking, "How do you think the game went?" or "What did coach say to you after the game?" Parents can be your biggest asset or your worst liability, so your post-game speech should be encouraging regardless of the final score.
Winning a youth baseball tournament against even competition is not easy. The most important things a coach can do to win are to have a solid roster, encourage positive communication, supervise a great warm-up, pick a strategic lineup, and maintain a positive approach in his or her pre- and post-game speeches. We encourage coaches to focus on winning each pitch, inning, and game. The coaches who are positive, and who focus on winning each pitch will be more than coaches to their young athletes for years to come.