As fall baseball season is upon us, you should use this time to bone up on your coaching skills. Try things in the fall that you can refine and pull out in the spring. Most leagues view fall ball as instructional time and you, as a coach, should view it in the same light.
One of my favorite coaches is John Wooden, head coach of the UCLA basketball team from 1964 – 1975. During that time he fielded one strong team after another and won an unprecedented 10 NCAA titles in his 12 years. He conducted every practice the same whether he was preparing for the NCAA championship game or a warm-up game with a lesser opponent. He hammered his teams on basics. One of my favorite stories about him is what he put his players through on their very first practice each year. He would spend an entire practice on teaching his players (most were blue chip recruits) on the proper way to lace up their sneakers, put their shoes on, and tie them. This was so juvenile but it illustrates how he focused on the details of the game.
At all of your practices, and especially in the fall, teach and re-teach the fundamentals: bunting, sliding, base running, and, yes, even lacing your cleats properly. If it was good enough for a 10-time NCAA basketball champion, it’s good enough for us.