How to Field a Routine Ground Ball

By Doug Bernier

Whether you’re starting from scratch or fine-tuning your approach, this article will teach you how to field a routine ground ball like a Major League baseball player.

First Things

A routine ground ball is hit right at you, your first move is to…

  1. …see what kind of ball is it. Is it a chopper, a ground hugger, or in between?
  2. …how hard is it coming?

The purpose of all this is to compute in your head how you are going to get the ball: Are you going to charge or stay back?

What’s Next

With those two important pieces established, it is time to talk about how to use your feet and properly field ground balls. Remember, these articles are written from the perspective of a right-handed infielder. If you are left handed, you should do it the opposite way.

How to Field a Ground Ball

1. Stay Low.

As you approach the ball, stay low.  This allows you a better view of the hops taken by the baseball.

Also, staying low keeps you in a more athletic position.  It’s easier to come up to meet the baseball than to drop down and get it.

2. Gain ground.

Gain ground on the baseball until the hop makes you stop.  It’s at this moment that you will pick out which hop you want to field the ball.  In other words, decide if you going to get it on the long hop or the short hop.

It is also important during this stage to create the best angle as you advance on the ball.  A “V” shape angle is my preferred approach.  This takes some planning ahead, with the goal being to get yourself in a good position to make the throw after you field the baseball.

Taking a “V” angle to the ball will automatically get you to the right side of the baseball.  Being slightly to the side of the path of the oncoming baseball means you will see it better than if you are directly straight on.  You’ll field the ball in front of your body but slightly to your left – i.e. the left side of your chest is squared up to the baseball (more on this below).

Finally, the “V” angle puts you in a good position to make the throw to first base.

Pro Tip: First Step Quickness

In practice, try to get in front of as many baseballs as possible.  This will (1) improve your range, (2) condition your feet not to be lazy, and (3) best of all, it creates the perception that you have more range than the next guy.

3. Right, Left, Field.

That is, Right foot, Left foot, Field the ball.  This is the rhythm you want to have as you field the baseball.  It will keep you squared up to the ball, and its the same rhythm you’ll use for forehand and backhand plays as well.

4. Small Strides.

If you miss everything else in this article, pay attention to this piece of advice.  Keeping your strides small allows you to make quick adjustments to change direction, accelerate, and decelerate.

The longer your stride, the longer your foot is in the air.  If you are in the air, you can’t make any adjustments until you land.

Next time you’re watching a game on TV, pay attention.  You’ll notice that this is something that all the best infielders do.  If the ball takes a funny hop, they can make a quick adjustment and still make the play.

5. Work through the Baseball.

Your glove should stay in the “zone” as long as possible.  This means keeping a straight wrist and using your arm to move it through the baseball.  (This is especially true if you are backhanding the baseball).

6. Stay Relaxed.

Hands and feet that are relaxed work better.

7. Funnel the Ball to your Chest.

Once you field the ground ball, funnel it to your chest (see image).   In this position, you are balanced and free to move.  Now that your center of gravity is over your feet,  your hands are in a good position to throw and you can shuffle your feet as needed.

8. Don’t Rush.

Most mistakes happen because we try to rush.  You can speed up if needed, but stay in control.  If you are dealing with a fast runner and you feel like you need to be faster, your adjustments should be made in other ways.  You can take a step closer to the batter when getting into your ready position, or even choose to charge the ball rather than wait for it.  These adjustments will buy you more time without making you rush your throw.

Tips from a Pro

I hear many high school and college infield coaches say that they want an infielder to either have their feet squared to the ball or their left foot slightly in front, so they will have momentum and their feet lined up correctly when throwing to first base.
I like to do things a little differently.

  • Glove Position.

    I like to field the ball on the left side of my chest. I am still keeping the ball in front of me but instead of fielding it in the middle of my chest I field it off my left nipple. I do this because this is where my shoulder is and I don’t want to feel that I am reaching in front of my body to field the ball. I would like to field the ball directly underneath my left shoulder. This allows my glove hand to work freely and flow smoothly because I am not fighting my body. Let the glove work from this position.

  • Foot Positioning.

    Ideally I’d like to have my left foot slightly behind my right foot. I like this because I feel that since my glove is on the left side of my body it makes my glove work a lot easier and I don’t have to worry about my left leg getting in the way. I feel I have a lot more room for error I don’t have to be quite so perfect in reading the hops. It makes you work harder to get your feet in the right position to throw to first base, but you have to field it before you can throw it.

  • Making the Throw.

    To make the throw from this position you have two options:

    1. Take your right foot and place it in front of your left foot. Do this instead of placing it behind because when you place it in front your momentum is going towards first instead of falling away slightly. Take a mini hop or a shuffle step (whichever is more comfortable) and make your throw.
    2. Take your right foot and swing it around so your right foot shuffles into your left foot. Make sure you shuffle one more time so your momentum can be in a straight line towards first base. Then make your throw.

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. Where is he now? After a 17-year pro career, Doug has officially retired from playing and is now a scout with the Colorado Rockies. You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier

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Coach Communication Part 4

By Craig Sigl

9) Listen to your players at a deeper level. Let’s put on the table a few human communication tendencies that will be beneficial for you to be aware of for the purpose of improved performance through better communication as a coach.

A. Understand and accept this….most people, in general, are not very good communicators. They say things they don’t mean and they use words that don’t accurately describe what they want to get across. They often speak in line with how they feel AT THE MOMENT which is in direct odds with their greater or longer term goals. They can actually hold a completely different meaning of a word than the person hearing it.
B. The male of our species tends to hear and process words from others much more literally than females (but females do this too).
C. Young people learn quickly, through their past embarrassing experiences with their peers, to not speak up whenever there is a hint of that embarrassment happening again. Without going into it, can you see the potential for all sorts of problems in communication that can occur from just these typical human communication errors? There’s lots more I haven’t even mentioned. All of them have the potential to create long-term destructive beliefs in your players (mostly along the lines of fear of failure and rejection) that trigger nervousness, tension, freezing, timidity etc. at the wrong time and wrong place in their competition, that destroys their performance.

Performance = Potential – Interference

Now that I’ve scared you with all of that, let me give you a secret weapon that can help you navigate all of this like a ph.d. communications expert.

In any communication with your players, or their parents for that matter, you want to hold in your mind this central idea while you are listening to what they have to say:

“What is it that this person REALLY wants and is trying to say?”

In other words, we sometimes call this “reading between the lines.” I could write a book on this but let me give you a typical example:

When you hear a kid say: “It’s just not fun anymore” it’s highly likely that what they are REALLY saying is that I am tired of the pressure and the conflicts.” As a mental toughness trainer having worked with hundreds of kids in person and practicing the skill of listening at a deeper level, I know this is true for most kids. But, even if you didn’t know that, you could ask yourself the key question above and logically conclude that since the sport itself hasn’t changed, that something ELSE has changed to make the experience “Not Fun.”

…and you go from there asking follow up and more probing questions like:

“What do you mean ‘it’s not fun anymore’?”
“When did it start not being fun anymore?”’

In order to go a level deeper into listening to your player or parent to get to the root of the issue.

In simple terms to sum up this tip, have a general rule in mind to NOT take what people say literally unless you are 100% sure. Have your radar up for any time someone communicates something to you in any kind of emotion to trigger you to ask yourself that question:

“What is it that this person REALLY wants and is trying to say?”

10) Do not try to “Motivate” players. Instead, trigger their highest self motivation. One of the biggest problems I hear from coaches is lack of motivation from their players. It shows up in the form of not hustling in practice, lack of focus, too much horse play or joking around.

So what do most coaches do when they run into these problems? Why, they crack the whip, get tough, and enforce consequences to MAKE them do what you want them to do whether it’s in practice or competition. Now, I’m not saying to throw those tactics out, there’s definitely a time and place to use them. However, those tactics tend to be over-used, they usually get short-term compliance at best and, even worse, risk causing interference programs that hinder athletic performance.

(Notice coach how I continually tie my communication advice here back to improved performance because I know that is YOUR self motivation strategy for even reading this!)

There’s another tactic to add to your arsenal.

In my H.S. Coaches Mental Toughness Toolbox program, I teach coaches how to deliver mental toughness to their teams in 8 pre-practice meetings. Meeting #1 is ALL about this tactic here and what it entails is getting each player to specific WHY they are here on this team and what they want to get out of it. Here’s the kicker….you get the players to write this down and sign it! It’s a statement of commitment based on their self motivation! You are going to use this to the max.

You, as the coach, collect these papers and if you don’t memorize them, keep them on your clipboard and you pull them out often and everywhere and use the exact same words they wrote on their papers to help them connect THEIR desires to what is happening in the moment. And then, when appropriate, you re-communicate that connection to the player. It might be in the moment in practice or it might be a 5-minute chat after practice.

Speak in simple terms like:

“Do you remember writing down here that what you want out of this team is to give yourself the best chance at a college scholarship? Why is it that you want that scholarship? Why is that
important to you? Tell me how what I am having us do right now contributes to you getting what you wrote here? Tell me how what you were doing (not doing) is in line with what YOU WANT?”

The reason why this communication technique is so beneficial is because of the fact that kids’ brains are not fully formed until their mid 20’s. And one big part of that functioning that is lacking until then is this concept:

Delayed gratification

No surprise right? The younger the kids are, the more they want instant gratification. Us adults are here to help them bridge that gap until their brain finally forms. So, what happens
is…in the moment of you asking them what they want to get out of playing on this team, they will tell you honestly. But let’s face it, a few weeks later during a boring practice, that moment is completely disconnected in their mind and it’s busy looking for some kind of instant gratification. Our job is to keep them connected to their own longer-term self-declared motivations and the best way to do that is to get them to write them down and you bring it back to them when needed. They can always update their motivation page too which gives them a sense of empowerment that contributes to them owning their confidence. Try this, you will be shocked at how many headaches you will avoid and how much more self-
motivated your players will become, especially in practice and training.

11) Model and teach leadership
When I went to my first “leadership” training, I went in with the impression that I was going to learn how to emulate great people I admired like Bill Gates, Martin Luther King jr. and Queen
Victoria (yep, look her up). I thought I was going to learn how to magically instill a power inside people that would make them want to give up everything and follow me to the ends of the earth to create amazing world discoveries and advances. (a bit of sarcasm intended here).

Boy was I wrong about what leadership meant and that’s where we started with the training.

So what does leadership mean in the context of coaching sports? Well, think about this… as a coach, you already are in a structured position with a group of people who are highly desiring to do whatever you say, so fantasies of what people think “leadership” means are a given in your position. They have volunteered to follow you already! So that’s not what we seek.

What I believe REAL, effective leadership can do for a coach is to evoke an emotional connection to a player that results in a player tapping into a reservoir of energy and determination that would otherwise go unused. Everyone has this “extra gear” as they say and you want that going for you with as many players as you can get it from, right?

How to get it?

Start by redefining what you think leadership is all about and it’s what I learned at my training:

True leadership is turning others into leaders.

This means having in mind your intention to groom everyone on your team to potentially become a leader themselves! With that intention coming from you in all of your communications, your leadership actions and choice of words should naturally follow. You won’t even have to try to remember any specifics like:
a. Be congruent with your teaching anything. Live what you teach.
b. Encourage people to pass on knowledge/assistance to others
c. Teach them to think for themselves in situations and remove barriers to doing that
d. Master your own emotions and show players how to do it. (Leaders don’t just scream at
people to get them to do things for them under penalty of harsh consequences.)
e. Help your players understand what makes people tick so they don’t make up self-destructive
stories and WANT to help/lead others.
f. Leaders inspire and encourage others…

Starting to get the picture here? Leadership is really about teaching others how to be leaders all the way down the organizational pyramid. Even your least-talented player will develop confidence from leading someone at something (even if it’s at home and not about sports) which then translates to overall confidence bleeding into improved sports performance. (bringing it back to your self-motivation to improve performance again!)

Craig Sigl is the Mental Toughness Trainer specializing in youth sports. Visit https://MentalToughnessTrainer.com/coach for FREE tips for coaches to teach mental toughness to their athletes.

Scoring More Goals

By Bruce Brownlee

Does Your Team Play Well But Struggle In Scoring?

You get a new team and get to know them. Technically you improve, and you start to get some team shape tactically and stop giving up so many goals.  Pretty soon, you have some decent midfield play and get the ball into the wings, and your team starts to get up and down the field. You win a few games and the parents are happy.  However, after a while, there is some frustration because you don’t seem to get a break.  The lucky goal doesn’t happen and the team doesn’t get the reward it should have.

You start to realize that your team can play great out of the back, doesn’t give up too many goals, and gets up and down the field with opponent.  Despite this, your team doesn’t score enough to win your fair share.

The Diagnostic Checklist

Knowing what training to use depends on recognizing the real problems that might be holding your team back.  Compare your team’s play against this checklist of common problems to help identify the problems.  Which of these statements describes your team?

  1. Play too Slow    We play too slowly.  We are fast enough running up and down the field, but are slow at changing the point of attack.  This happens a lot when we are attacking the goal where we should be able to move the ball quickly to the feet of an open shooter or isolate an attacker 1v1 against an opposing defender.
  2. Not Getting Numbers Up    Although we get up to the final third often, we have lost our willingness to get numbers up near the ball. Instead of having 6 players in the penalty area,
    especially near the ball, we have one or two, then a few stragglers further behind.
  3. Not Taking on Defenders 1v1    Our attacker with the ball often turns away from chances to take on defenders 1v1 when the chance is there to penetrate into space behind the last defender to get a 1v1 with the keeper.  Our attackers look to be afraid of losing the ball.
  4. Play Ball Wide Instead of Through    Our team gets a lot of good counter attack chances, but, in going to goal, we often kill our chances by playing a ball to the wing, allowing the other team time to recover and build a shape as the ball followed a lengthy course out to the wing and back to the center.
  5. Not Using Enough Space in the Final Third    When we attack, our players in the opponent’s penalty area with pressure on their back make dinky little passes to our other players who then do not have enough space to strike a goal before being closed down by defenders chasing the pass.
  6. Strikers Not Working Together    Our strikers do little to help each other score. Many times one striker runs away from the ball and shows nothing but tail lights, yet demands the ball, as if there would be some way for the other striker to play a long chip over the top.  Strikers are not making runs at defenders or space behind defenders to help the first attacker.
  7. Avoiding Taking a Shot    In the box, our players do everything possible to avoid shooting.  We are getting as many as 10 passes in or nearly in the penalty area with no shot.
  8. Shooting at the Keeper    When our players find a good shooting chance, they often shoot right at the keeper, chest high.
  9. Not Shooting at the Far Post    Our players try to shoot near post when the far post was more open and a deflection might stay on the field in front of the goal for a nifty follow-up shot.
  10. Shooting High and Wide    We shoot a lot of balls over the bar or wide.  Many of our volleys and strikes on the ball are shanked off to the side.
  11. Taking Too Long to Shoot    Inside the area, we take a long slow wind-up that is often easily blocked.  We don’t seem to use a quick toe poke that would make the ball jump into the net, and we don’t use the outside of the foot.

Some Ideas To Try

If you can answer “yes” to one or a few of these, than there is hope that you can train away from the problems and start scoring more goals.  Here are a few ideas that you may find helpful.

  1. Steal Training for Each Problem     Seek out, steal, design, and assemble training to deal with each one of these problems.
  2. Shoot Against Pressure in Training    From day one, start work on shooting technique in all types of situations.  At the beginning, focus on very fundamental work, but practice shooting against pressure in every practice, every day.
  3. Work 1v1 to Goal     Each day, work 1v1 to goal with keeper.  Keep score and rating players on their ability to attack and
    defend 1v1.
  4. Focus on the Final Third     Change your seasonal plan.  Spend 75% of your training time on the topics above, with most of your time spent in the final third.  Make your players confident in finishing.
  5. Make Defenders Attack     In addition to the topics above, start getting defenders into attacking roles often.  Push them up and make them responsible for joining in all attacking in practice and encourage it in matches.
  6. Use Realistic Pressure    It is never possible to have defenders pressure “50%”. Kids play 100% until they are tired.  Instead, practice attacking situations against only a keeper, then a keeper with one defender, then more defenders.  Make sure that the attacking side has numbers up for much of the way to get success, but let defenders play at full pace and full pressure.
  7. Use a Keeper    Play a lot of soccer to Coerver walls on a short field, but also play a lot of soccer related games that require shooting to a full-size goals against keepers.  Use a keeper in goal for every dinky drill that goes to full-size goals, and even many exercises that go to half-size goals.
  8. All Types of Shooting   Practice pure shooting technique in situations of all types, including free kicks and penalties.  Keep track of all penalties practiced, and this can pay off big later.  Top practice shooters are often top PK shooters in the match.
  9. Shooting Partners    Have your kids buy or borrow extra balls and team up with  partners to come out to your training facility or to any space with goals on their own to shoot extra.  Have the kids shoot in many different situations, and give them a checklist of shooting exercises.
  10. Anticipate Success    Tell your players that you are sure the team will start to score more goals.  Then before this happens, and before there was much improvement, tell the team during a game that they are starting to look good and that it is obvious are on the edge of really scoring a lot of goals.  As you start to get some success, hard work will fulfill your prophesy and your team will gain confidence and score more goals.

Bruce Brownlee coached boys soccer from 1978 to 1988 in Marietta, Georgia.  Coached girls teams from 1988 to 2003 for Tophat Soccer Club in Atlanta and AFC Lightning Soccer Club in Fayetteville, Georgia.  Served as a staff ODP recruiter and coach in 2002-2003.  Returned in 2010-2011 to help coach his granddaughter’s U11 team.  Won 4 state cup championships at Tophat.  Proud of his four children who played top-level club soccer and amateur and college soccer later. His site Soccer Coaching Notes.com is a terrific resource for club and amateur soccer coaches.

Quote for Wednesday

“Helping others is just as important as helping yourself.” Courtesy, Jeter’s Leaders. We’d say maybe even more important. And how much does this apply to being a volunteer coach?

Don’t forget to have fun

You want to win, we get that. You want all the hard work you put in during practice to pay off. But remember, these are just kids you’re coaching and kids mostly want to have fun. So don’t take it too seriously today. Crack some jokes. Smile. Make up some nicknames for your players. Do whatever you can to help your players understand that it’s not life and death out there. And, ironically, when they relax they’ll probably play better.

To Baseball Dad and Mom (Part 2)

By Dave Holt

Baseball Practice
What is the common denominator that we see in major league baseball players and their offspring? Ever notice how many sons of major league players go on to become major league baseball players? Why is this happening so often? Obviously they get some athletic genes passed on to them. The biggest factor I see is the amount of time the kids are around the game just playing catch and taking swings and watching good players play baseball.

Discussion Topics:
Does it really matter if ball players play ball on their own time?
Does it help at all to practice outside of the team functions?
Ever get mad at the coach because your kid is sitting on the bench too much?
Want to know what you can do to help your kid get better at playing baseball?
Ever take your kids to a minor league or major league baseball game? College baseball game? Cooperstown to the Hall of Fame?
I would like to help you and your children get the most out of playing youth baseball and make it enjoyable for you all. Look for the options here available to you.

The Best Scenario for Baseball Dad
The best scenario for all of us is to have you plan on dropping your player off with me and the other coaches for a couple hours for the ball game or the baseball practice plan. I am going to help my ballplayers learn how to take responsibility for their own equipment.

My ball players will be able to sustain themselves with their own drinks and refreshments. There is no need to for any parents to be loitering or hovering around the dugout area checking to see if their players are hot or thirsty. If someone has a serious injury then certainly I would welcome your assistance. Other than an injury situation you can just sit back and enjoy the pleasure of
watching your child.  I will have a brief post-game meeting with the team only and then you can have your kids back.

Playing Time, Positions and Batting Order
Playing time and playing positions are often sore subjects by baseball dad and mom. Your child will get plenty of opportunity to play and I will work them into the positions they like as the season progresses.

Discussion topics:
Is it best to focus on one position or try and play multiple positions?
How important is it to try and be a pitcher?
If your child throws lefthanded these are the positions they will be playing.
I use several variations of batting orders so do not even try to figure out my line-up card system.

Let me say this. I know how important hitting is to all my players. If you are going to play for me then you will be swing the bat

Now, this may cost us some games, well so be it. I will make sure the hitters swing the bat. Hitters will go as far as their bat takes them so we will be encouraging a very aggressive hitting approach. We will not be looking for walks. We might even swing at a few bad pitches.

Kids who do not learn to hit will quickly drop out of the game or sit the bench too much. I would rather us go down swinging the bat than looking for walks. Plus, there are not many things better in sports than hitting a baseball squarely.

Ready to Go
The ballplayers should show up ready to go with shirts tucked in, pants pulled up and hats on straight. We will hustle on and off the field. Players will take up a fast jog when taking and leaving the field or returning to the dugout after an out. We will run out all the plays. Players who do not run hard or hustle will take a time on the bench. We will find a place to go to backup a teammate on every play. Never will we throw bats or helmets. Players on the bench will have duties so there will be no time for messing around in the dugout. Players will constantly be looking for opportunities to help and support their teammates.

After finishing his professional playing career Dave spent eleven seasons managing in the Red Sox minor league system helping to develop several major league ballplayers. After leaving the Red Sox Dave managed and recruited in the Independent Professional Baseball leagues. He has also coached collegiate wood bat and high school teams. His site, coachandplaybaseball.com is a wealth of information for baseball players and coaches of all levels.

Coach Communication (Part 3)

By Craig Sigl

You can read Parts One and Two here.

7) Be on the lookout for and take leadership in resolving player conflicts. Getting in the middle of and/or acting as the referee for 2 or more players’ personality conflicts is probably the last thing a youth sports coach wants to do. I get that and I sympathize with you for when you are faced with it.

Competition for playing time, jealousies, bullying, insecurities, back-stabbing, gossiping, bringing conflicts from home to sport, etc. You name it, if you coach long enough, you WILL see all of this and more…and it’s not fun for a coach to deal with, but you have to.

You need to understand this: You are only hurting yourself if you brush it off, ignore it, or otherwise minimize it without dealing with it head on. Before I go on about this point, make another conscious decision that it is in YOUR best interests (as well as the kids, of course) to make this an important piece of your coaching protocol.

Decide that you are going to do whatever it takes to eliminate team internal strife because it makes your life worse and, of course, hurts the team’s performance and their ability to take in your brilliance!

For starters, the best medicine for this is prevention. A strong statement about what you will NOT tolerate on your team and the consequences to those that violate that will go a long way toward preventing it. You also need to periodically remind them and confront any inkling of an issue head on and swiftly when you FIRST hear rumblings of any conflicts.

Bottom line? Nip everything in the bud BEFORE it can fester and grow bigger.

Make sure that everyone knows that not everybody on a team needs to like each other personally in order to play well as a team. Adults know this, kids do not. Sports is the perfect place for them to learn this valuable life lesson. How many times in these kids’ future are they going to have to work with someone that they don’t personally like, on a project in the real world, right?

Let them know that they can put aside their differences when they show up to practice or game and just get to work when it’s time regardless of what they feel about the others, or even you! Believe me, this is a novel concept to kids and well worth you communicating it regularly.

8) Manage and keep the “superstar” mentality in check These days, with our technology and the opportunity for just about anyone to become famous through the internet, achieving self-importance seems to be a growing goal among this selfie generation.

While some of this has always been a part of sports, showboating, trash talking and unsportsmanlike behavior will hurt a team’s performance when taken too far, which many coaches have told me is worse than it’s ever been, making it another priority for coach communication.

When too many players are all trying to grab the spotlight and hog the glory at every chance, then other players shrink away from giving their best thinking something like: “whats the use, they never return the favor.”

In addition, these supporting players certainly aren’t interested in fueling the bravado and, at worst, sometimes it can turn into active conflicts (see #7 above).

Again, don’t put your head in the sand about this issue either. The danger is that this is sometimes very subtle, hard to detect, and the players themselves may not even admit to the problem. But do not fool yourself that it is not affecting your overall team’s performance, it is and you need to keep your radar on high sensitivity to identify it.

On the other side of the coin, sometimes, this subtle jealousy shows up directed at players who are simply very good and continually make great plays from their talent and skill even if they don’t flaunt it or seek the spotlight. This is very common in girls sports and can turn into “fear of success” for the talented player. This unconsciously causes the girl to throttle down performance for fear of being shunned or gossiped about.

You can manage this by balancing out your praise and giving plenty of it to the lessor players when they exhibit successful team behaviors such as great passes, assists, cheerleading from the bench, etc.

You minimize the issue by constantly emphasizing skill development and effort and not going overboard in celebrating and praising performance.

Coach, you get more of what you promote. If you promote (by praising) the big scores and the flashy moves, you will get more of that. If you promote skill execution, you will get more of that…simple logic.

For the out of control glory hogs, you just need to make a calculated decision that pulling them out of the game because of these team-destroying behaviors is worth it in the long run. Don’t be afraid to use that weapon even if the wrath of some parents may come down on you later.

Coach, one play, one game does not a season make. Think long term and keep your own ego in check and you will be more effective towards getting maximum performance out of your players which makes everyone happy….win or lose.

Craig Sigl’s work with youth athletes has been featured on NBC TV and ESPN. Get his free ebook: “The 10 Commandments For a Great Sports Parent” and also a free training and .mp3 guided visualization to help young athletes perform under pressure by visiting: http://MentalToughnessTrainer.com