ParkTalk Podcast: Opening Day: Coaching the Fundamentals

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Episode Description:

Youth baseball and softball coaches, Brian Kelly and Doug Diederich, share their experiences coaching for the Naperville Park District and the importance of instilling good sportsmanship while teaching the fundamentals of baseball and softball.

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Quotes from the Episode:

Their driving motivation to volunteer their time to coach:

The driving motivation for me began with the unforgettable memories I have as a kid from the early years of playing T-Ball, coach pitch and little league back when my dad coached me and my siblings. Since then, I wanted to do the same thing and coach my children someday. - Brian

I knew when I was younger that someday I would be a father and I couldn't wait for that opportunity to coach my children and even beyond my kids. Especially in those formative years between 4 and 10 when they're learning the sport and the lessons, it's so much fun to see how much joy and pleasure they get out of it. - Doug


Brian Kelly with his daughter.

Importance of teaching good sportsmanship at a young age:

There are some kids who are very award of the rules and ask, "Are we going to win?" Teaching winning and losing is a good thing, but there's an appropriate time for that as well. Ultimately, we want to have fun, we want to play the game right, and we want to respect our teammates, the coaches and umpires. - Doug

Goods sportsmanship also means being a graceful winner and showing class when you win a game no matter how the other team was acting during the game. If you think about kids being put in these positions repeatedly on the field, it's conditioning them to learn such valuable lessons. - Brian

Advice for first-time volunteer coaches:

The most important thing is just make it fun. Especially with the young kids, 4, 5, 6 years old, it's just about making it fun. The other big piece of advice that took me a little while to learn is keep it simple. They're not going to remember where first base is, but as they continue to grow, you continue to progress. - Doug

As I always say, "You'll get more with sugar than with salt." You want to build them up more than anything and build their confidence. It begins with teaching them to love the sport first, have fun playing while learning and building on each little achievement one step at a time. - Brian

Doug Diederich with a softball team he coached.