New to coaching baseball or just need to up your game? Here is a comprehensive gear checklist to help get you started.
Do you want to take the stress out of the game? Small inconveniences can add unnecessary stress and take away from the game. To avoid this, come prepared with a properly packed coach’s bag. A player may inevitably forget a ball, a bat, or even water. You can stay ahead of the curve by being prepared to help your team.
Here is a gear checklist for baseball or softball coach bags:
It's crucial to choose a bag that can meet all of your needs and is tested to last. It just so happens you have found yourself on the website of the best baseball bag designers on the market. That’s right.
No Errors Ball Boy XL is built to last and easy to transport on and off the field. Right now you can get both the Ball Boy XL and the wheeled ball buddy as a bundle.
Another great option for coaches bags is the All in One Coaches Bag. It features a cooler, space for a 6-gallon bucket of balls, and plenty of space for your personal effects such as cell phone, documents, and the main compartment even doubles as a seat. All in one, indeed.
In addition to this bag, there are bat bags, multipurpose bags (such as this), backpacks with several internal pockets for items, briefcases, and rolling suitcase-style bags.
Rawlings baseballs are the industry standard for baseball & softball. Be sure you set aside some “practice balls” for your team to use in warm-ups and batting cages.
It is ideal to keep game balls in a separate bucket for clear separation. Stock up and always have plenty on hand for those homerun balls that’ll disappear!
While every baseball or softball player should have their own bat that’s fitted to their size and batting style, it’s important for coaches to have a few with them in case a player forgets their own. Here at No Errors, we’re big on True Diamond Science bats.
Help your baseball and softball players be the best hitters they can be by making sure they are correctly fitted for their bats. True Diamond Science offers an awesome online or in-person fitting system that measures a player’s body type, strength and hitting style to find the right bat for their needs.
Protection for your players is paramount. A well-fitted helmet will offer premier protection during the game. It will also assist in allowing for ample sight during the game. A misfitting helmet could impede sight and fall off during the game – neither of which promotes safety and protection.
You can easily replace any worn-down interior padding. Most helmets are made to fit flush against the head, when properly sized, with a mold of melted plastic to form as a means of security. Top-rated helmets include Evoshield, Easton Alpha Champro.
Gloves & Mitts
Catching is half of the game! Make sure to have a few gloves in your coaches bag for your own use and for any players that might’ve left their own glove back at home. Rawlings and Mizuno are great glove choices for your mitt needs, but one of the best options by far is the Webgem Glove Care System.
The Webgem Glove Care System has a variety of different gloves for every position on the diamond and comes with a complete system to keep your glove in tip top shape.
Protection for the catcher is essential. Few positions on the field pose more risk for the players. In the event that your catcher is unable to make the game and you have to elect a stand-in, you should be prepared with the right gear to ensure player safety.
Make sure to bring all of the essentials for the catcher position including a chest protector, chin strap, leg guards, and a helmet. Along with the catcher’s gear, it would be helpful to invest in an L-screen for anyone who might be stepping in for the original catcher as an added safety measure.
You can help tosave our planet by encouraging your players to bring their own reusable bottles. However, you should always come prepared with several disposal bottles of water for your team, in the case of forgetful children or parents.
Our All in One Coaches Bag, as mentioned earlier in this post does have a cooler compartment to keep drinks cool while on the field.
Sunflower Seeds and/or Chewing Gum
We all love snacks. Not considering the baseball traditions interwoven in these two things, everyone could use something to chew on for concentration's sake and to pass the time in the dugout rooting for our team.
It is known that chewing gum has many medical benefits leading to burning calories, aiding in concentration, and fresh breath!
Practice makes perfect with the following essential items: batting tees, swing trainers, cones, practice net, and L-screen. You can find a number of helpful baseball training aids right here at No Errors.
No two players are the same and it’s most helpful to invest in as many training aids as possible in order to ensure all player’s needs can be individually met and skills honed, where needed.
First Aid Kit
Accidents happen. Make sure your team has the basics when addressing any wound. There are plenty of pre-made kits available at your local stores or online.
If you choose to create your own, be sure to include medical tape, gauze, scissors, finger splints, sterile gloves, band-aids, antiseptic, or wound wash for those sandy slides into the home base. Choose to add any items based on your team’s needs.
This is your go-to manual for coaching. Your binder should include items such as a scorebook, notepad, pencils, and, most importantly, an emergency contact list for your players.
It’s crucial to keep track of any items noticed during the game, such as player improvements, to follow up on, post-game.
Make sure it’s on your person, charged, and ready to be used. In the event of an emergency, you’ll have almost immediate access to 911 and be able to contact your player’s emergency contacts.
The ability to communicate in a crisis situation will ensure your player is promptly cared for by alerting paramedics & their families quickly. A cell phone can also serve to video an amazing home run!
Side note: if you have a portable charger, it might be wise to bring it along too. Not many dugouts have electrical outlets, so plan for the unexpected by purchasing a portable charger. This could potentially save you in an emergent situation.
It gets hot on the field, and the sun can be unforgiving. The player’s baseball hats offer limited coverage of their faces. Their face, ears, necks, and arms are all exposed to the sun.
Playing sports with a sunburn takes the focus away from the game. Be sure to have them apply sunblock before every game. This teaches the players of the importance of sun protection.
This is an; additional, inexpensive option to aid in blocking the reflection of light from the player’s eyes. This option removes the need for sunglasses while out on the field. A simple swipe of a line below each eye will aid in averting reflections from the sun.
Another go-to item to have in your bag! Athletic tape can provide pressure and support to the muscles used in the game to ensure prime use! In the event a player is sore or tends to become sore after games, this cheap fix will help in minimizing the aftereffects of playing hard.
Another organizational tool to keep communication open between coach and players to ensure everyone stays on track. It can also be a place that details positions assigned to each player. This limits constant question and answer between coach and player.
An investment item you might consider if you have a consistent, permanent location. There are some more affordable and transportable options available online that could provide freedom and opportunity to bring it to away games. A great addition to your list that ensures the players have a place to practice.
These machines can range from $80-$2,000. They are portable for easy use and travel purposes. They serve a great purpose in a batting cage for those players who would like to practice their swing without placing any other players in danger within a closed space of a batting cage.
Cones or Markers
As mentioned earlier, cones are a great training aid. These simple tools provide clear guidelines for the players to work within while honing the skills necessary to play their best game.
There are many youtube videos online that can provide examples of drills that you can incorporate into your next practice. Consider your player’s need for growth and how a drill could provide practice for this example.
Rolling cart, dugout organizers, carabiners. A roll-out cart helps keep supplies in one place while having the accessibility of wheels to move from area to area. Dugout organizers are hanging fabric with pockets able to be clipped to the fencing near or in the dugout.
This is more for items that players would need access to during the game, such as sunflower seeds or first aid. Carabiners are able to assist with carrying or supporting items when hung from fencing. This avoids storing any supplies on wet ground, prolonging the life of any gear bags.
9 Tips for Getting Started as a Coach
Congratulations on beginning your journey as a coach! Starting anything new can feel overwhelming. It is our hope that the list above can help get you started in your field. There are many resources available online at your disposal to ensure you have a successful season. We have a few tips below that could aid in the seamless transition into your role:
Pro Tip 1:
Ensure your binder is together and organized before your season begins. You are the leader of your team, and you want to be sure to take time and effort to effectively manage your new role.
Having a binder of resources will serve your team well in the event of your absence, as it can be a resource for your assistant coach. If you’ve had a long day and are a bit foggy, it can help keep you on track. It’s a central location for you to keep any and all information needed while out on the field.
Pro Tip 2:
Ask for help and/or seek the guidance of a coach you admire. There are plenty of baseball coaches of history’s past that have written books, spoken at events and there are countless interviews to call upon.
Utilize these resources to your advantage. Remain teachable and be open to new things when beginning this journey. The sport will continue to evolve as time moves on, and you want to be sure to be right there along with the winners.
Be sure to utilize your assistant coach, whenever possible and keep in constant communication to ensure you are on the same page regarding all things about your team. Work together on plans, drills, organization to ensure the team operates at superior capacity. This effective management will set a positive example for your team.
Pro Tip 3:
Over prepare for the unexpected. Life curves are inevitable and are one constant we can count on. Preparing your team for the best (and the worst) can and will set your team up for success. Injuries happen, players forget their helmets and even water.
When you serve as a well-prepared resource, you, in turn, show them your support, encouragement, and commitment to the game.
Pro Tip 4:
Provide feedback. Individually and collectively, your team is your priority. The season will pass by quickly, and time is an invaluable commodity in our lives. Make sure you are checking in with your players.
Keeping in communication with them and making them a priority will allow space to be seen and feel safe. Baseball great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical”. How your players show up on the field is a direct reflection of their current state.
Honor their needs while encouraging them to do their best. Depending on what level of baseball or softball that you are coaching, your team could be composed of students who have lives outside of the field, including school, family, illness.
There can be so many demands on students, and allowing them a place where they can showcase their talent, be honored regardless of winning, and being taught how to correct errors all leads to a path of success.
Pro Tip 5:
Show good sportsmanship at every opportunity. You set the example for how your team will show up in less than favorable situations. Always choose to honor the team, the school or community that you represent, and yourself.
This evidence of sportsmanship will impress upon players of all ages and could truly set the tone for how they show up in all of their games moving forward. Certainly, learning good sportsmanship will serve to benefit other areas of their lives such as school, familial relationships, and friendships.
Pro Tip 6:
It is safe to assume nothing about any single player. Ensure you understand each individual player and their individual needs and strengths.
Set attainable goals and work with them to assist them in growing their potential and ability in the game. Schedule check-ins and provide feedback, consistently.
Keep your training basic initially, so that the principles of the game and the practice are understood by all. This simple practice will allow for a more inclusive environment.
Pro Tip 7:
Don’t be too critical of yourself or your team. Mistakes happen to even the most experienced and seasoned players. Remaining positive in a stressful situation will keep the group rapport high.
All mistakes can serve as lessons and opportunities for improvement. Allow space for growth, feedback, and encouragement. Come to understand and accept that we all get things wrong from time to time. Players with this type of support tend to bounce back from any pitfalls more quickly.
Pro Tip 8:
Boundaries serve to keep your (and the team’s) attention on the game. When parents of players want to provide feedback, establish a boundary around this by proposing a time to “meet with the parents” after the game.
As referenced before, remain humble and teachable. Always be open to feedback. This feedback from parents may provide disagreement but communication can help clarify any questions they might have and serve as a learning experience for both parties.
Pro Tip 9:
Celebrate your team often! Invite everyone out for pizza or ice cream, post-game to socialize. This is a team bonding experience and an opportunity for you to take your coach hat off and show up as a team member.
Creating exciting, fun, and positive activities outside of the game will provide your team with the psychological association of fun and work. No win is too small, no loss is too great-just celebrate the hard work they’ve done.
In conclusion, no two coaches are the same. Your experience, history, dedication, time, and effort all play a role in your coaching style. Humbly, remember where you began in your journey and ensure you offer an unforgettable experience to your players. We hope the list above will help ensure you have all the tools necessary for your most successful season to date!