Baseball Mom recently talked about the coaches who agree to coach the youngest players and how she can’t imagine why they would subject themselves to it:

You guys, one of the hits that came up on a search for my site was "how to coach tball for preschoolers". Why would someone want to volunteer to do that? I always look at the coaches for Alex’s teams as some sort of gods or something…either that or I just say in my head, "Suckerrrrrrrrrrs!". I can’t imagine, after teaching preschool for 14+ years, trying to teach them something that involves bats and not hitting each other. It’s like herding butterflies, coaching preschoolers/kindergartners.

That’s an apt description – herding butterflies (or cats). At least in soccer they don’t have objects/weapons they swing around – well except for those feet with studded shoes on them 🙂

Coaching the youngest kids takes incredible patience (been there, done that!). But I wouldn’t discourage people from doing it. Talking from a soccer point of view, it may seem like ‘swarm ball’ where the swarm chases the ball up and down the field. Yet the players are (hopefully) learning some important skills and having fun. As our local league has grown, it has become readily apparent how important it is for our youngest kids to learn a few ‘core skills’ before they move to the next level. I’m not saying we need to drill them silly and take the fun out of it. The most important part of U4-U6 is FUN but that doesn’t mean a coach should shy away from teaching them a few core things. Dribbling, passing, and teaching some simple concepts (stay away from teammates, etc) can be done by kids this age – to some degree. The trick is doing this without boring the kids to death and that takes a special kind of coach.

So if you’ve ever thought about coaching the youngest kids in your sport of choice – you should do it. Just be ready to tap a deep reserve of patience – for dealing with the kids and parents, as Baseball Mom highlights:

The other day, after a practice, a man who was obviously one of the kids’ grandpas approached my friend who is coaching the team. He said, "Have you ever coached before? Because you’re doing it wrong, and that’s not the way to go about it." She calmly explained (how? I would have just taken the nearest bat and started swinging right in grandpa’s general direction) that this was the format taught to them at the coaching class, and also the format that they used last year, and they would be using it again this year. She also told him that he was welcome to volunteer to coach a team, as there were not enough coaches to go around. I felt like falling on my knees and worshipping her right then and there. Who, in their right mind, would dare criticize the way that someone is coaching a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds?

No kidding. If you’ve taken coaching classes targeted by age, you’ll find a significant difference in what is taught to kids 10 and up vs kids much younger. Parents (and grandparents) should remember this before telling the coach they’re doing it wrong.

The trick is, we need parents willing to coach our youngest players. It can be one of the most rewarding experiences. However, if you do decide to do it, I strongly recommend taking the coaching classes offered by your local or state association that are targeted for kids this age. You’ll be amazed the difference it can make.

So don’t be afraid – Just Do It. Our kids will thank you!