Youth Baseball: Dealing with Disruptive Players

How do you deal with disruptive players during youth baseball games and practice? This is a common question I get from new coaches who are afraid to reprimand the players. You would think a youth baseball coach would not have to play the parent to some kids on the team, but unfortunately this is not the case.

What is disruptive behavior?

  • Running, chasing, horseplay
  • Screaming, shouting, yelling
  • IPod or video games in the dugout
  • Abnormal and erratic behavior that hinders the game or practice
  • Interrupting the coach by talking or laughing or not paying attention
  • Pushing, hitting or fighting with other players
  • Throwing objects
  • Temper tantrums or excessive crying
  • Bullying
  • Foul, threatening or abusive language

What can you do to prevent disruptive behavior in youth baseball?

The best advice youth baseball coaching tips I can give on the subject:

  1. Set expectations with the team at the first practice of the season.
  2. Create a youth baseball behavior rulebook.
  3. Discuss it with the players and provide it in writing via e-mail, U.S. mail or as a handout to the players to present to their parents
  4. Hold a meeting early in the year with the parents, players and coaches to review the expectations, guidelines and rules. This sounds like repetition but when an incident occurs there are no excuses because it has been discussed many times.

How do you address disruptive behavior?

  • The first time ask them to stop the bad behavior.
  • The second time demand that the behavior stop and threaten that the third time it happens they will be benched.
  • The third time it happens you must take action. You will need to bench the player and inform the parent of the disruptive behavior. It's important to let the parents know that if it continues the child will be suspended, or worse be prohibited from playing in the league.
  • Over the years I have noticed that disruptive players come in twos. What I mean by this is that 2 players, when together, act up in a disruptive manner. If this is the case keep them separated during the games and practices.

Handling the disruptive player can be very, very difficult but if you set the expectations early with the parents and players it makes it easier to handle.

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