Coaching Youth Baseball – Preventing Injuries

Youth baseball coaches have many duties. An important one is to reduce the risk of injury to players during practice and games. There are several things a youth baseball coach can do to help prevent injuries to their players. Some involve practice and pre-game routines, other involve teaching the players what they can do on their own time to keep their injury risk low.

The coach should require the following before all practices and games:

1. Significant stretching. The coach should establish a stretching routine for his team early in training so that players will know what to do before practices and games. The coach should ensure that adequate effort is put into the stretching routine by all players.

2. Running. The coach should require a certain amount of running at every practice and before every game. This cardiac warm-up will get the players ready for the physical activity that is to come.

It is important that the warm-up routine be well defined and communicated to the players. All players should start at the same time. The coach needs to be involved in these activities, not spending this time visiting with parents.

During practice, the coach should always watch a player’s form in all activities. Improper form should be addressed and worked on until corrected. Proper form in pitching, hitting and throwing the ball will substantially reduce the potential for injury.

The coach should encourage, and perhaps require, the players to do some training on their own. This could involve the following:

  • Age appropriate weight training or band work.
  • Calisthenics, such as sits up, pull ups and push ups.
  • Cardio work, such as jumping rope or bicycling.
  • Yoga. Most kids will think this is silly, but yoga can increase flexibility and therefore reduce the risk of injury.

If a coach is diligent, he can reduce the risk of injury in his players significantly. This will lead to more enjoyable games for all involved – players, coaches and parents!

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