Cranberry Township Athletic Association

Player & Coach Development

The very first use of the word "coach" in English occured in the 1500s to refer to a particular kind of carriage.... Hence the root meaning of the verb "to coach": to convey a valued person from where he or she was to where he or she wanted to be.
~ Roger D. Evered & James C. Selman in Coaching & the Art of Management

YouTube Videos

Throwing Mechanics

Infield Drill Series

Infield Footwork

Short Hop Drills

YouTube Videos

Slow feet, fast hands, quiet head

5 steps for a great swing

Internet Resources

YouTube Videos

Biggest Mistake Parents and Coaches Make

When is it time to get serious?

Are you the overbearing parent?

Internet Resources

YouTube Videos

Pitching Mechanics 101

When to start throwing a curveball?

Pitching Drills

Q & A with Coach Palano

How often should coaches practice and how long?
More isn’t better. Keep it around an hour and half. Practice is important. Too many coaches want to play game after game. Make your practices short, positive and energetic.

What are the keys to running a good practice?
Have a plan and be prepared. Kids need to be engaged, having fun and taught the proper fundamentals. I stress effort and attitude every practice and game. Results are not that important. Play games that teach fundamentals and break kids into groups. I hate to see kids sitting and waiting in line.

Do you use a system to rotate positions evenly for younger teams?
Absolutely. Kids need to learn different positions and have the opportunity to play different positions. The best player should play outfield positions. As kids get older, they will need to earn playing time. However, coaches need to teach kids how to be good teammates and understand that all positions are important to the team and it’s okay to sit the bench sometimes. It’s not about winning games or tournaments right now. It’s about providing a positive experience for kids. Rotate positions. Nobody cares about your coaching record.

Should coaches keep stats and share them with the team and parents?
Stats are for coach’s strategy, nothing more. As a high school coach, I use them to help our team win. As a coach for young kids, I do not. When coaches share stats with parents and kids, it promotes a culture of selfishness. Share lessons on how to be a good teammate and developing a great work ethic not individual stats.

How much should I pitch kids at a young age?
I am conservative and I think that all of our coaches should be very careful. We have strict pitch count rules at the high school levels. However, most of the time the damage is already done because of the kids youth coach. You may not see the affects today, but trust me, I see them later on. Our desire to win a tournament or championship can never outweigh a kid’s health and wellbeing. I encourage kids to throw every day during the spring and summer months to build arm strength. Throwing is not the same as pitching with max effort under stress. Build up a kid’s innings and pitch count throughout a season and allow them to rest. Just because a tournaments rules are loose, doesn’t give mean you can pitch your best 3 pitchers all weekend long.

Do you give different instruction to kids with different skill levels?
You should absolutely give different instruction to different skill levels. Baseball is a very individual sport and each kid should get instruction at his or her level. Challenge the more skilled kids and keep things basic for the less skilled kids.

Is it acceptable to raise my voice and yell at kids as a coach or parent?
Baseball is the biggest self-esteem destroying sport in the world. They don’t need a coach, parent or teammate bringing them down. The game will do that by itself. If you are yelling at 7, 8 ,9 year old kids, you need to back off and step away. Too many kids are quitting the game before they get their man bodies because of the stress anxiety and pressure that is put on them by adults. We love our kids, but the game is hard! Enjoy watching them and get some ice cream after the game.

How should coaches and parents handle a player that is struggling?
Teach them to forgive themselves. Baseball is difficult and it’s important to help kids develop the coping strategies necessary to be successful. We want our kids to be resilient and have grit. Stay positive and promote and reward effort. The results will follow. Be patient.

Player Development Coordinator

Q&A with Player Development Coordinator Mike Palano. Send Coach Palano any questions you have. You can also review messages that other's have submitted for helpful tips!

Coaches Clinic

Camps and Clinics

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