HEYYYYY!!!! I scream….QUIT doing that, focus on what you’re doing….why do you never pay attention??

Yet again John is not paying attention, not focusing on the task at hand…..

This pattern continued over a period of a few months… John isn’t on task, and I as a youth baseball coach am quick to let him know about it.

We’re warming up, John is late on everything.

We’re throwing, John is lobbing the ball, and generally puts off the vibe that he would rather be anywhere else.

We’re hitting, and John is consistently hitting flyballs while we’re working on groundballs and line drives.

Midway through the season, things have gotten worse, and his actions are negatively affecting the rest of my youth baseball team.

I’m actually stopping practice often to rip John and his laziness, and kids have a lot more down time. Soon the other kids are following John’s lead and are not focused on task.

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I’m getting more frustrated by the day, and after consulting a teaching buddy of mine (who is not even a coach) I was reminded of the famous saying….”Necessity is the mother of invention”.

You cannot expect to act the same way and get different results. What I was doing was not working.

I asked a youth baseball coach assistant of mine who was notoriously rough on the kids what I should do. I probably asked him because he was notoriously rough and I knew he would back me up.

What the assistant said shocked me. He said, “Miles, he acts bad because our drills last too long”..

I was shocked, I had never considered my drills to be the root of the behavior. I was defensive at first, wondering why the other kids weren’t acting that bad. Yeah, this kid has ADD, but it’s my job to get him to work hard.

The next practice, as an experiment, I cut all my drill times in half and started counting to 10 as a time limit for each kid to be in position to start the next drill.

I’ve actually used the counting method with my college players and it has worked amazingly. No one ever asks what will happen if they are late.

I also vowed not to criticize John the whole practice.

What resulted was shocking.

Drills went very well, almost amazingly well. We got a lot more done in practice, and John didn’t act up the whole practice.

The kids weren’t used to moving that fast and not having any down time, but they responded great.

They didn’t have time to mess around.

I actually coached and helped many kids improve, whereas in the past I spent 90% of my time correcting poor behavior.

A wise man once said, “Leaders are at the front leading, wannabe’s are at the back, chasing strays”. This same saying applies to youth baseball coaches.

It was amazingly how eliminating the down time in my practice caused dramatic improvement in behavior. The kids were acting bad because my drills were too long and dragged on, and the transitions between each drill took too long.

Instituting a structured practice, with short drills, and short transition times cured bad behavior.

It took an assistant to help me out and realize constantly yelling and correcting wasn’t working, and I needed to change what I was doing.

No matter what age you work with, institute short, crisp drills, and demand quick transition times. Being organized and demanding promptness from your players promotes a great work ethic and minimal distractions.

You will eliminate your time-wasting on getting on guys and will focus on teaching and improvement…which is what we all want anyway.

Trust me, my guy John is now actually improving and not bothering everyone else….and as a busy youth baseball coach, that makes me sleep great.

Coach it up,


Leave a comment below, do you struggle with this? Are you improving?