Youth baseball coaches have a lot of responsibilities. They are responsible for baseball management, teaching young baseball players new skills, teaching the rules of the game, teaching life lessons, and about a dozen other things.
One obvious component which can sometimes be lost in the shuffle is the tactile equipment for which youth baseball coaches are responsible. Don’t have catcher’s gear? Your team can’t reasonably be expected to take the field. Forgot the scorecard? Somebody’s mom or dad had better run to the sporting goods store.
There is certain equipment which is required for your team to suit up and take the field. Baseball is a more complex sport than others like basketball and soccer, where you just need a ball and a field or a court. Make sure your team is well equipped with the following:
Baseball bats - without bats, there is no baseball. Many leagues have specifications for bats which may include length, barrel size, and the differential between the length and weight. Generally speaking, each team should have at least two communal bats of differing sizes.
Catcher’s gear - as we mentioned in the introduction, this is flat out mandatory. Catching without a full set of catcher’s equipment and a cup is extremely dangerous, even at youth levels.
Batting helmets - right behind catcher’s gear in terms of safety is the batting helmet. Many youth leagues suggest or mandate a full cage. Ensure that your helmets meet league standards.
Baseballs, gloves, and more - carrying extra equipment like bat donuts, an extra glove or two, plenty of baseballs, etc. will help your team succeed.
Youth Coaching: Health and Safety Equipment
Health and safety is a top priority for all sports, particularly when they involve our kids. Youth baseball coaches should carry at least the following pieces of safety equipment:
First-aid kit(s) - all sports come with some risk of injury. While serious injuries are rare in youth baseball, over-preparedness is always a great idea. First-aid kits should include medical supplies to handle burns, cuts, sprains, skin problems, and allergies, just to name a few. Click here for a full list of first aid essentials.
Water and/or sports drinks - hydration is no joke, especially in the summer months. Make sure your youth baseball squad has plenty of water or sports drinks without excessive sugar and without any caffeine.
Cell phone and caregiver contact - although they would surely like to, each of your players’ parents will not be at every game and/or practice. Having a reliable cell phone with emergency contact information is a must.
Practice Equipment for Youth Baseball
Practice at the youth level is just as important as the games. This is where our young men and women learn the fundamentals of this great sport. Give them a great practice with the following equipment:
Baseballs - there can be no baseball practice without a good supply of baseballs. However many you think you may need, you probably will need a few more.
Tees and hitting stations - batting tees are used at every level of baseball for training purposes. There are also swing trainers such as rebounders which can allow for your players to swing away as many times as they’d like without needing a partner.
Practice balls - youth players may need to participate in certain drills with balls that are a bit more forgiving than the real thing. Replacements can include tennis balls, wiffle balls, racketballs, and more.
Baseball Management Paperwork and Accessories
Often the last consideration, paperwork and housekeeping items are extremely important for baseball managers and their assistant coaches.
Scorebook - some leagues require score to be kept, but we recommend keeping score regardless. Your players will love to know their stats, and more importantly, any potential disputes over the outs, scores, or previous goings on of a game can only be settled with a proper scorer’s book.
Pitch counter - we have frequently advocated for keeping young pitchers on a strict pitch count. A simple pitch counter is the best way to track a young arm’s usage.
Pencils, lineup cards, scouting information - any information you might want to consult during the game should be considered beforehand. A simple lineup card can help even at the youth level. And of course, none of this would do any good without a pencil.
Youth Baseball with Hustle Training
Pittsburgh-based Hustle Training is a growing startup created for the sports-driven players and coaches out there looking to up their game and maximize performance potential. Their website coupled with the mobile app makes it easy for players to improve their fundamentals and move on to master advanced techniques by providing crafted workouts and drills created by college coaches, professional players, and expert trainers.