Category Archives: Coaching

The Magic of the 3×5 Card: “The little things matter!”

Coaching is an organic process that necessitates proper preparation and constant
adjustments. The coach must be able to teach the subject matter, evaluate the results, and then make the changes in order to reinforce the learning process. This takes time and must also consider the individual differences of each youngster. The key is to remember that the game is a team game consisting of individual skill sets, and must focus upon cooperation and teamwork. The coach is responsible for providing an educational environment that will teach both the game and team-building.

One of the best tools for a coach to utilize is the little 3×5 card. This inexpensive item pays great dividends in that it fits in any pocket and may carry a wealth of knowledge, reminders, and “hints”. A coach may have his daily plan on it with backup of Plan B, C, D, and more. Planning a practice is simple, executing one is difficult. Hence, write it down on the 3×5 card and follow it….at least until something goes amiss. On the back of it, write notes for further work, individual corrections, and things that must be covered later. Many times it is prudent to not over-coach, and save things for later work.

In prepping for a game, set the lineup on a separate 3×5 card to include substitutions, defensive changes, and pitching possibilities. Also, list things to discuss pre-game and “reminders” of things the team must accomplish on a given day. It is recommended to have 2-3 extra blank cards for notes during the game. List team and individual input, and note any plays that warrant discussion. Refer to the cards for post-game talks and then use these to prep evaluation/feedback, and future practices. The little 3×5 card is invaluable in remembering plays, tendencies, and if you are going to play a team again, is instrumental in setting a viable game plan.

In doing your post-game review, use the information on the card(s) to recap the game, noting positive and negative comments, as well as preparing for the next practice. Tendencies will frequently appear, and you may then determine how best to resolve problems and to reinforce positive team and individual growth.
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Keep a stack of 3×5 cards by your side and it will improve your organizational skills as well as improve communication and feedback. The little cards are a very valuable teaching/coaching aid!!! FAW!!

Twenty MUSTS for Youth Coaches/Teachers

The one-minute version:


post-game analysis

There are many “rules” to use as guidelines when coaching and teaching youth.  It is imperative that we acknowledge those listed below, and create an environment that is both interactive and educational. All of these precepts are valid teaching points and must be incorporated in our coaching and teaching style!!


  1. Each youngster/player is different and must be treated accordingly.
  2. Create a fun and positive experience for ALL players.
  3. ALWAYS have a pre-season/term meeting with parents and thoroughly explain your program/philosophy.
  4. Know the RULES of the sport!!!
  5. Determine your coaching style and be clear as to goals and guidelines.
  6. Be aware of specific medical needs.  Create a form for all to fill out.
  7. Have realistic expectations for individuals and the team.
  8. Do not assume that youngsters or parents know anything!
  9. Create quick-paced and organized practices.  Short and fun…keep to an hour or so!
  10. GET HELP!!!!  Find as many assistants as you can(parents, grandparents, siblings, high schoolers, etal)…provide one-on-one instruction!
  11. It is all about the players, it is their game; and PLAYING time!
  12. Have someone keep track of time played, when, where, etc. so you know it is as equitable as it can be.
  13. Use praise as a motivator!!
  14. Be clear in communication and encourage the youngsters to talk to YOU.
  15. Instill sportsmanship and proper behavior.  SAFETY FIRST then common sense and etiquette.
  16. Talk to each youth individually as much as possible: know their name(s) and encourage eye contact.  LISTEN to their concerns.
  17. Have CPR and other certifications.  Do not risk injury…err on the side of caution with arm use, and sprains, etc.
  18. Always provide a post-game analysis:  Be quick and positive.
  19. Allow parents to speak their piece.  Thank them for their input.  Avoid confrontational scenes at the games and ask for a meeting if there is a serious issue.
  20. Remember, YOU are a youth coach/teacher, not a professional manager.  The “life lessons” you teach are more important than a won-lost record. YOU affect every players’ life and perception of the game, and the biggest test will be if players return to the game the next year!!

GAGPTH and enjoy the game!