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Thread: Coaching signals cheat sheet

  1. #1
    WonderMonkey Guest

    Coaching signals cheat sheet

    I'm making up a cheat sheet for the signs and signals we will use this year to make sure that all the coaches are on the same page and teaching the kids consistently. It will also get good if a player wants to do a quick review of that they are. Mostly for the catcher as we run most defensive stuff through him.

    Anybody want to collaborate? Or have a good one they recommend starting from?

    This is 13 yr old level if it matters.

  2. #2
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    Actual signs, or a touch system?

    Using an indicator?

    Personally, that young, I would favor either a touch system, or incredibly simple signs, but a frequent change of the indicator.

    Sometimes w/ the girls, we mix it up w/ an occasional verbal sign. Maybe the use of the word "green" means to swing. That lets you get pretty clever from the coaches box, yelling something like (on a 3-0 pitch): "I know you think you have the green light, here, BUT YOU DON'T. We're TAKING." I know that shouldn't work, but we see some pretty good pitchers let up and groove one when they hear something like that.

    I'd also add that if the catcher even remotely needs a cheat sheet, I'd wait a year or two and run defensive signals out of the dugout for now. And I'm a big proponent - way more than the norm in youth ball - for letting catchers mostly call their own game (pitches AND defense). But not until it is automatic and can be done w/out any thought at all. Part of it is because I think that is how kids learn the game. But part of it is because I'm resentful of coaches that think heat inside followed by breaking stuff away is rocket science, and that only THEY can handle it. The formula has only been working for 140 years.

    Anyway, keep it simple.

    Regards,

    Scott
    Last edited by ssarge; 02-18-2006 at 07:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderMonkey
    I'm making up a cheat sheet for the signs and signals we will use this year to make sure that all the coaches are on the same page and teaching the kids consistently. It will also get good if a player wants to do a quick review of that they are. Mostly for the catcher as we run most defensive stuff through him.

    Anybody want to collaborate? Or have a good one they recommend starting from?

    This is 13 yr old level if it matters.
    We use a pretty simple system for our team. The third base coach runs through whatever series he wants, and the wrist is the indicator. As soon as he touches his left wrist, you start to count touches until he comes back to the wrist. Sometimes he'll come back to the wrist, sometimes he won't. Anyway, the number of touches in between wrist touches determines what is on:

    1. Bunt
    2. Steal
    3. Hit and Run
    4. Delay Steal
    5. Slap

    Any touch to the ear at any time is a squeeze play.
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  4. #4
    WonderMonkey Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by ssarge
    Actual signs, or a touch system?

    Using an indicator?

    Personally, that young, I would favor either a touch system, or incredibly simple signs, but a frequent change of the indicator.

    Sometimes w/ the girls, we mix it up w/ an occasional verbal sign. Maybe the use of the word "green" means to swing. That lets you get pretty clever from the coaches box, yelling something like (on a 3-0 pitch): "I know you think you have the green light, here, BUT YOU DON'T. We're TAKING." I know that shouldn't work, but we see some pretty good pitchers let up and groove one when they hear something like that.

    I'd also add that if the catcher even remotely needs a cheat sheet, I'd wait a year or two and run defensive signals out of the dugout for now. And I'm a big proponent - way more than the norm in youth ball - for letting catchers mostly call their own game (pitches AND defense). But not until it is automatic and can be done w/out any thought at all. Part of it is because I think that is how kids learn the game. But part of it is because I'm resentful of coaches that think heat inside followed by breaking stuff away is rocket science, and that only THEY can handle it. The formula has only been working for 140 years.

    Anyway, keep it simple.

    Regards,

    Scott

    The cheat sheet is more for us coaches to ensure we are consistent in the on-base signals. And we have two primary catchers. One is a real catcher and is what you would expect, and the other is back there catching the ball but is learning and by the end of this season will resemble what you want in a catcher.

    I figure if we are going to make the cheat sheet it would enable "whomever" to take a glance if they feel they need to.

    And for the basebaths we will use the standard indicator approach.

    For other things it depends on what catcher is out there. With the main catcher we can call what we want a variety of ways "depending".

  5. #5
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    The signals we use are:
    With 13 y/o I would also keep the signals simple. I keep the signals the same and sometimes prepare two different indicators. I use my pre-season time indoors to reveiw the following.

    Steals:
    1. Straight out steal
    2. Delayed Steal
    3. "Go on me"

    Bunts:
    1. Sac Bunt (Right side - Left side)
    2. Drag bunt
    3. Squeeze
    4. Slash

    Hit and run

    3&1's:
    1. Second base cut off
    2. Get the runner
    3. Pump fake and three

    Pick offs

    Field positions

    Pitches
    1. Fast ball
    2. Curves
    3. Change up
    4. Etc

  6. #6
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    If your going to tell them what pitches to throw, when they come back into the dugout explain why you wanted to throw those pitches in that type of situation. Don't just do it, explain why so they won't have to rely on the coach calling their pitches until their 50

  7. #7
    Like everyone says, signals need to be simple for young kids. Their focus should be on fundamentals not on fancy plays. Kids need to know more about how to read a pitcher than how to read a coaches signs. I like the indicator and count approach because I used it for years. It's the simplest one that you can use and change up the indicator as much as you want.
    Think about this one - Dave McKay who coaches first base for St. Louis once told me that for most of one season their signals were given by a junior coach standing in the dugout. They would go through a bunch of contortions that looked like signals but the bunt was the junior coach standing with his right foot on the top step of the dugout. If his hand was on the dugout roof, it was a hit and run, etc. Simple still works in the Bigs.

  8. #8
    WonderMonkey Guest
    I must really suck at explaining things. I'm just wanting a sheet of paper I can laminate that has our basic stuff on it so our coaches are consistent with what they are using with our kids. It's great for the start of the season.

    I can make my own, no problems, I was just thinking it may be fun to collaborate.

    I'll just go make one and be done with it.

  9. #9
    WonderMonkey said: I must really suck at explaining things. I'm just wanting a sheet of paper I can laminate that has our basic stuff on it so our coaches are consistent with what they are using with our kids. It's great for the start of the season.
    No, you were pretty clear that you primarily wanted defensive signals, but you did say, "The cheat sheet is more for us coaches to ensure we are consistent in the on-base signals."

    Okay, for calling pitches for 13 y/o, the old 1=fastball, 2=curve, 3=changeup should work. I think runners on second are too nervous about being picked off to try to steal and convey signs. It's not clear if you're going to try to call pitches from the dugout, but I think at this level it's not good to get the catcher's attention taken away from the pitcher before every pitch. You might want to have a verbal signal if you think the pitcher is not throwing enough or two many off-speed pitches, but otherwise try to give your instruction to the new catcher before the inning starts. (When you have binary choices -- fastball or offspeed -- sometimes you can just use the player's first or last name as your verbal cues.)

    Pitchouts signs are more likely to come from the bench, but again, you don't like to distract the catcher when you've got a runner on the base. Here, maybe a verbal cue starting with a certain letter -- if it's "B", your sign could be, "Be careful out there", or "Bear down", making sure you don't have a pet phrase that uses that word. Or, that cue could be just to look over at the bench, for the real signal.

    A favorite old sign from the catcher for a pitchout is a thumb pointed sideways. The risk with pitchout signs is that the pitcher may not get them and the catcher will pounce out to get the ball, only to discover the ball coming down the middle. So, you should have the pitcher acknowledge the pitchout sign beyond just nodding his head.

    This doesn't even get into the (1st and 3rd) double steal situations. Jake mentioned three possible responses: throwing through to get the runner, throwing short to a middle infielder to lure the runner to the plate, and faking the throw and throwing to third (and hoping that the third baseman is awake). Assuming that the ultimate recipient of the throw will differ in each situation, you can have the catcher do something to make sure he has the infielder's attention, and then use a touch indicator and then look at the infielder who's going to get the ball (and then do something else and stare at the other infielders).

    I'm not sure how susceptible any of this is to creating a cheat sheet. And, god forbid that someone leaves it behind after practice for another team using the field to pick up!

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