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First Little League Baseball Player To Be President Of Us

Over my 18 years coaching youth baseball, I’ve toyed with different batting order ideas, both to be competitive and to be fair to the players. Let’s explore the competitive side first. Most coaches will bat their best player on the team either 3rd or 4th, which is the correct theory by the book. I also did this for a number of years. However, if and when you have one player who stands out in ability, which each team usually has one, it seems that in the middle of a rally you are always counting how many more at bats until “Rocky” comes to bat. With me, it seemed like the rally fizzled more times than not before it was “Rocky’s” turn to bat. I began to experiment with my best player and started to bat him either 1st or 2nd. A funny thing happened. He got more at bats and was involved in more rallies. I followed this technique for a while, and we won more games and were more competitive. I also did this in All Star games, and it worked even better there because this player with superior talent got more at bats.

Another technique I instituted really became popular with my players. Usually, many coaches bat their weakest players down in the line-up, either 8th or 9th. Once they bat, they are taken out of the game. So, when coaches read the batting order, and the 8th or 9th batter hears their names called, they express great disappointment. Now, here is the change I made one year, and have carried it through each and every year since. On the team that I am head coach or manager, the player who bats 8th or 9th plays the whole game. Now, when the batting order is read, those who are batting 8th or 9th cheer loudly! It is turning a negative into a positive.

Coaches can have a balance between being competitive and being fair when creating their batting order. Leagues need to impose suggestions so batting orders are rotated throughout the season. It makes no sense if one player in a 20 game season gets 65 at bats while another player gets only 25 at bats. Remember, success of a team should be based on improvement for individuals and as a team. And yes, coaches can still make their team competitive!

Marty Schupak has coached youth baseball for 18 years and is the video creator of "The 59 Minute Baseball Practice", "Backyard Baseball Drills", "Winning Baseball Strategies", "Hitting Drills & Techniques" and author of the popular book, "Youth Baseball Drills". He is a principle for Videos For Coaches and is also President of the Youth Sports Club, a group dedicated to making sports practices and games more enjoyable for kids.