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Coaches: What were some learning curves between youth ball and high school ball

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  • Coaches: What were some learning curves between youth ball and high school ball

    So, I have been asked to help out with one of our local high school programs. I will not be head coach so will not be making the game time decisions, but I have been asked to help with development and fundamentals.

    As a coach, what were some of your learning curves when going from youth coaching to high school?

  • #2
    I can tell you that the transition from MS to HS has been huge, and my son has had a series of very good coaches over the years. The HS coaches don't miss a thing. It's like they've got eyes in the back of their head. They will be working with a kid in one cage and five minutes later they are talking about something they saw a kid two cages over doing while they were working with number one! Also, the intricacies of the game within a game is unbelievable i.e.- watching whether or not a pitcher goes from their grip while taking the signs and moves to another grip while coming set. These guys hammer to our pitchers that they always hold the ball in a four seam grip while getting the signs, and that they rotate the ball while in glove regardless of whether they are throwing 2s/4s FB, CB, CU, etc. Catchers are hammered to absolutely stick every pitch. Their stance must be precise and concealment of signs is huge. OF must back up each other regardless of how routine the play.

    Some of these things seem so mundane. But then again, we have a top-notch program year after year. These coaches expect absolute perfection, but they also appreciate less than perfect if you are listening, trying hard, and showing signs of getting it!!!
    Put your junk in your pocket!

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    • #3
      Kind of depends on what HS level you're being asked to work with. JV and varsity are already past the culture shock of youth to HS freshman ball, so if that's the case, you're the one who's going to have to reprogram your mind from youth to HS ball, assess the level of play, and determine what fundamentals are needing work, and which ones they've already got down pretty well. IOWs, all depends in the previous coaches, and instruction they've already had at the HS before you.

      If it's at the freshman level, the biggest jump is in the discipline, and regimentation of HS ball vs that at the youth level...assuming most are coming from "daddy ball", and not a previous well run travel or academy program. Unfortunately as an AC, you're kind of at the mercy of how the HC adapts to this, but at least when running your drills and instruction, you should make sure that you have as much preprogrammed as possible, knowing exactly what you're going to work on beforehand (have several areas of instruction ready depending on what the HC has planned for the day), and move through your training, drills, and instruction in a well organized, systematic manner...no extended periods of standing around anymore for anyone in your group.

      Your systematic plan should be written down, and build upon itself as you/they progress through it, and be ready to alter it on the fly depending on how you see the players respond to it. Sometimes you'll find that what you thought was going to be a necessary area of work, turned out to be just a refresher for most, and you can/need to move on something more difficult or the more position specific intricacies of the game (2022 above covered some of those nicely).

      Good luck, I think you're going to have a lot of fun, and find it very rewarding....and really much easier than coaching at the "youth" level.
      In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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      • #4
        This word just popped in my mind: RIGOR.
        Put your junk in your pocket!

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        • #5
          This is not really for coaches exactly, but when you are 13/14, go to a HS game. You are immediately struck by how fast/violent the game is. The throws are much harder/longer. The bats are exploding. The catcher's mitt emits an enormous POP. The grunting while running the bases. The beards!
          efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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          • #6
            Learning curve for the players or coaches? I coached an elite level of travel through 16u when the kids were fifteen. I was asked to coach high school. My son asked for space given I coached him in travel. I never attended a practice. I saw the tail end of a few. I saw almost every game. All I know about practices came from conversations with my son.

            i was as meticulous coaching 16u as I was coaching 13u. The team was full of players serious about being the best player they could be. The biggest change was the players got bigger, faster, stronger every year. The game got faster.

            Regarding high school my son’s biggest observation was how much stronger upperclassmen where than freshman and most sophs. The high school coach was a D2 All American. He knew his stuff. My son said he had already been taught everything the high school coach taught on our travel team. But he was surprised how players who played on lesser travel teams and Jr Legion/Legion had not been taught things he thought to be general knowledge.

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            • #7
              While not an on-the-field issue, I think the biggest change going from youth ball to HS ball is that the player is now absolutely responsible for everything.

              Paperwork needs to be handed in on time (grade checks, physicals, etc) by the player, not the parent.
              Team meetings need to be attended by the player.
              The player is responsible for getting to practices, games, and other events on time.
              The player needs to be sure that their equipment is in working order and available.
              The player needs to take responsibility for the cleanliness of their uniform and having it ready come gametime.
              The player is responsible for keeping their grades up, staying out of trouble, and being a role model on campus and in the community.
              The player is responsible for their own discipline (getting adequate rest, eating right, staying in shape out of season, handling their own off-season skill development).

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              • #8
                So far we just started summer league. Its three weeks long and there is no practicing, just games 4 days a week. We occasionally get some of the football players when they aren't busy with football. It's pretty laid back right now since its summer ball, so its a little hard to tell how the other coaches are with regards to intensity and expectations of the players.
                After summer we start up with fall workouts sometime around September or October.

                I attended my fist game yesterday afternoon. The coaches are all nice and I've known the HC for a few years.

                Anyways, some of the things I noticed so far is, the juniors and seniors know exactly what to do for most things. Ball hit to center field, Batter rounds first and F8 misplays the ball and it shoots behind him, I was coaching first base and as he's round the bag I'm telling him to read the ball and before I can say Yes or Go, he's already gone. LOL

                The incoming freshmen are a bit raw, but I get it.

                I did see some fundamentals I'd like to work on, especially with footwork with the catchers and players backing up their positions (e.g. pitchers not backing up third or home on balls hit to outfield with runners on base).
                At this point, its really early and I don't want to step on veteran coaches' toes just yet.

                As for the program itself. It is a smaller D-V program. They only have JV and Varsity teams. While they are in a lower division, they do compete against other higher division teams and are competitive.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
                  Learning curve for the players or coaches? I coached an elite level of travel through 16u when the kids were fifteen. I was asked to coach high school. My son asked for space given I coached him in travel. I never attended a practice. I saw the tail end of a few. I saw almost every game. All I know about practices came from conversations with my son.

                  i was as meticulous coaching 16u as I was coaching 13u. The team was full of players serious about being the best player they could be. The biggest change was the players got bigger, faster, stronger every year. The game got faster.

                  Regarding high school my son’s biggest observation was how much stronger upperclassmen where than freshman and most sophs. The high school coach was a D2 All American. He knew his stuff. My son said he had already been taught everything the high school coach taught on our travel team. But he was surprised how players who played on lesser travel teams and Jr Legion/Legion had not been taught things he thought to be general knowledge.
                  Learning curve for coaches. I've coached for several years at every level from t-ball to 13-14 year olds. This will be my first time coaching at the high school level.

                  I definitely see a disparity between freshmen/sophomores and upperclassmen. It's really night and day.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                    This is not really for coaches exactly, but when you are 13/14, go to a HS game. You are immediately struck by how fast/violent the game is. The throws are much harder/longer. The bats are exploding. The catcher's mitt emits an enormous POP. The grunting while running the bases. The beards!
                    We took my wife to a HS game this past spring and those were pretty much her impressions.
                    Put your junk in your pocket!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by songtitle View Post
                      This is not really for coaches exactly, but when you are 13/14, go to a HS game. You are immediately struck by how fast/violent the game is. The throws are much harder/longer. The bats are exploding. The catcher's mitt emits an enormous POP. The grunting while running the bases. The beards!
                      Our town's HS has the varsity field next to the underclassmen field. You can stand between them and basically watch both games. It's comical the difference between Varsity and freshman games.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by flyingmachine3 View Post

                        Our town's HS has the varsity field next to the underclassmen field. You can stand between them and basically watch both games. It's comical the difference between Varsity and freshman games.
                        My son played JV freshman year. It was hard to watch. I can’t imagine what the freshman games were like. The freshman field was mostly where baseball dreams go to die.

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                        • #13
                          14u to freshman -I'd say discipline and player responsibility. Add in daily practices for 2-3 hours and you can cover a lot -but mostly IQ, footwork and arm strength. Not sure we have quite the rigor that others have mentioned (sounds a bit much to me), but then again, most of what I hear is 2nd hand from a teenager....

                          Freshman to Varsity -speed of the game

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JettSixty View Post

                            My son played JV freshman year. It was hard to watch. I can’t imagine what the freshman games were like. The freshman field was mostly where baseball dreams go to die.
                            depends on your school, classification, players ahead of you, etc. Our freshman team is 8/9th grades, sophomore is 9/10 grade, varsity is 11/12 grade with maybe a sophomore every few years. Better to play JV than to bench on Varsity IMO.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JettSixty View Post
                              My son played JV freshman year. It was hard to watch. I can’t imagine what the freshman games were like. The freshman field was mostly where baseball dreams go to die.
                              Surprised to hear that. Most schools with good/strong programs have a good freshman program, with very few freshman playing JV much less varsity. And while there is a significant difference between all three levels of play...the strength at the top, is only as good as the foundation it's built on, and in most cases with the freshman level pouring the base concrete for the future success of the program.
                              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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