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If it is a league…

Why Does Hardball Have Private Coaches

Parents ask all the time for recommendations on private coaches or where to get private lessons, especially for beginning players or those jumping up age divisions. The problem is that most of the “private coaches” out there are untrained former high school or college players with very limited or questionable player experience just trying to make a buck. Some sat the bench for an elite program (still an accomplishment, make no mistake), others come from well known families but have no real experience of their own. Parents also have to keep in mind that even good former players can make bad coaches. It is not just about how well the coach knows the game, it is about knowing your audience and being able to distill the information and translate it to kids. Baseball is a relatively technical sport that requires a lot of practice to develop the habits that increase the likelihood of confidence building success in the games. Far too often, these untrained coaches who don’t actually understand the game themselves and lack the fundamental knowledge to simplify the game for younger players, wind up doing more harm than good. So much practice time is spent correcting bad habits developed by bad “private coaches”. As a development-minded league, Hardball is always on the lookout for talented coaches that have the fundamental knowledge base, the right attitude and approach, and the youth baseball training experience necessary to properly develop players in and connected with the league.
How do you know if your player’s coach is a good one or not? One quick and easy sign is if he is trying to make too many changes at the same time. Young players, really all players, are going to forget much of what they learn in a lesson. An experienced coach will take his time getting to know his players, and come up with an approach to taking the canvas that he sees in front of him, make a few broad strokes to correct one piece at a time to set the foundation to build the players mechanics along with his confidence to improve his performance when it matters. Does your coach have a gameplan? Does he leave your player with an understanding of what he needs to work on between lessons? To he take an interest in your player’s improvement? Are the drills and reps designed with your player in mind, or are they a generic/cookie cutter approach to teaching the same fundamentals that he teaches all his players?
When it comes to hitting for instance, every player is completely different. Kids are smart, and they do things intuitively, especially when they are trying to compete. They struggle, they adapt. One example I like to give is a player that I worked with last summer who was struggling to hit the ball after working for a couple months with a certain former bench-warmer that played for Arkansas. The player wanted to improve his hitting so he met with this coach for a few weeks. In their very first lesson, this coach noticed that the player had a very open stance, so he immediately had him close it and then reinforced this coaching for several weeks. The player struggled more and more and by the time he came to me, this once relatively strong 11-year-old hitter had reached an all-time low in confidence and performance at the plate. This coach tried the same cookie-cutter, untrained approach he used on every other kid (likely because that’s all he knows) without bothering to get to know the player and why he had adapted such a hitting style. In a 5-minute discussion with the young man, I was able to find out that he had taken a wild pitch off the left eye in his first season of 9U kid pitch, it somewhat blurred his vision in that eye, and that he was severely right eye dominant. He opened his stance to allow his right eye to get a better view of the pitch leaving the pitcher’s hand. This wasn’t something that anyone had ever taught him to do, he said he just felt like he could see the ball better (because, well, he could). So, we eased back into his open stance with drills that focused on generating enough bat speed without losing his right eye’s lock on the ball. Within a handful of lessons he was back to raking the ball, and before long, he was driving the ball like never before. This was a great reminder that why a player does something should always be asked, and never ignored. To be a good hitter, seeing the ball is critical.
The answer to the above question is simple. A good coach listens to his players, teaches them what they need to learn, and recognizes that there is no one size fits all approach to baseball. 
 
Click here or read on about Hardball coaches:

Private Coaching – Dallas Hardball

 Tanner McElroy – Pitcher 

Tanner McElroy is a former professional pitcher in the Texas Rangers organization and former number 1 starting pitcher for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Named the 2005 Player of the Year. Coach Tanner has been coaching the boys in pitching clinics for weeks now. Known for his trademark high leg kick that helped him hit mid to high 90s. 

 Collin Ethridge – OF

Coach Collin is a current University of Texas at Dallas outfielder known for his speed, quickness, and solid hitting. Collin has been coaching Dallas Hardball players ages 5-12 for several seasons now in hitting, fielding and catching.  As a current player, his schedule is limited so if you can find an opening, grab it before its gone.

 Evan Sack – 3B 

Evan Sack is a former Emory HS Texas State Champ, All-Houston Area hitting champ, and starting 3B at the hard-hitting McClennan Community College. Known for power hitting and a cannon for an arm. Coach Evan coaches players of all ages and specializes in hitting and fielding. 

 Hayden Clark – LH Pitcher 

As a standout lefty pitcher in high school, Hayden Clark won 1st Team All-State, 1st Team All-District, District MVP and Team MVP honors. Coach Hayden went on to pitch for Hardin-Simmons in Abilene, Texas for 5 years where he won several All-American Southwest Conference and HSU team honors and records including Top-10 career innings pitched. Coach Hayden is available daily for pitching, hitting, and fielding lessons at the Village field. 

 Lawson Hill – Catcher 

Lawson Hill attended Wofford College where he was the starting catcher for all 5 years and captained the team from 2018-2022, won 2022 Southern Conference Player of the Year honors, and holds the career hits record (300). Coach Lawson has been coaching youth baseball and giving private lessons for 2 years and is available daily at the Village field for hitting, fielding, and catching.
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Dallas Hardball is DFW’s premier baseball league. Help your kids compete and prepare for the next level of the game!

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