Be the coach who motivates. If you do, a kid with no confidence will soon find a love for the sport that used to beat him up every game due to lack of training, and negative coaching.
Take time to explain what a “take” is. Explain what throwing to “4” means.
Have a kid that positions his glove wrong on a hard liner? Explain that “heal up” is not only incorrect, but probably dangerous. Take the little things that are not explained, and teach them. That can be the breakthrough your player needs to fall in love with the game.
If a kid is on the bench, keep him active. Teach him how to score the game. Have him do your pitch count. Tell him, “Pal, go warm up the left fielder for me… get warm, I may need you this inning!”
Ask him… “There’s a man on first and 1 out. If you’re at second base and the ball comes to you, what do you do?”
Listen to his answer and if it’s wrong, tell him the right one.
Keep your team engaged. Most importantly, don’t stop talking to them. Find out what they like best about the game. Find out where they envision themselves playing and what they want to accomplish that season.
Move kids around. Let them experience everything. There are 12 kids on your team. They deserve a shot at positions they’ve never played. No, not so you can lose; but so they can challenge themselves and break through the fear. Who knows! A few times at first base may bring you a future first baseman, but you’d never know if you don’t try collectively. Experiments can bring a huge boost to a kid’s confidence as well as your team’s performance.
Most importantly, build their character. Teach the importance of rooting for each other. Explain that mistakes happen, but they are building blocks. Be patient. Be fair, but also be competitive. All that wrapped into one is the motivation that will make each player on your team craving for more. With that greatness, comes confidence.
At the end of the season…win or lose…if they love the game under your leadership, then you did your job, Coach.