Coach to Your Players’ Skills, Not to a Philosophy

Many baseball coaches are philosophy-driven. They believe that players have to adapt to their systems and try to execute what the coaches think will be successful. I have seen that philosophy backfire consistently throughout my coaching career. At coaching clinics I continually stress that coaches must adjust to the skills and temperaments of their players to maximize their abilities as individuals and teammates. Because, in all levels of youth baseball, they haven't advanced to the same level as collegians and professionals, players can't be expected to follow coaches' philosophies when their techniques aren't fully developed. Even in college and professional baseball, players have trouble executing plays that are called because they were never asked to do them as youth players.

In bunting situations when players don't have the necessary bunting skills, do something else. On hit-and-run plays where players have trouble making contact, don't call the play even though you believe in it. Maybe the runner can steal instead.

Explore all options! And don't call plays just because you feel like it. The following statement should be the universal baseball coaching philosophy, "Be smart, teach your players to be smart, and be able to adjust to any baseball situation."